AC Milan squandered a 2-0 lead at Napoli on Saturday night as they suffered a 3-2 defeat, and it doesn’t get any easier for them with Roma next up.
The Rossoneri were clinical, composed and patient for the opening 55 minutes at the San Paolo, albeit they did run plenty of risks with their strategy to play out from the back.
Nevertheless, they took a commanding lead and looked on course for a huge win in their opening Serie A game of the season before they visibly fell off the pace and couldn’t stand up to the Napoli onslaught in the closing stages.
In turn, they will be bitterly disappointed to have thrown away three points, and so now coach Gennaro Gattuso must prepare them to go again when Roma visit the San Siro on Friday night.
Whether or not he’ll be tempted into a formation change as well as personnel changes remains to be seen but there is an argument that with Hakan Calhanoglu returning from suspension, it gives the Italian tactician an opportunity to go with a 4-2-3-1 system which will ensure that Gonzalo Higuain has the creativity around him to avoid being isolated as he was this past weekend.
Looking at personnel first, Diego Laxalt could potentially make an argument to come in at left-back after Ricardo Rodriguez looked far from impressive in the build-up to Napoli’s goals while looking nervous when in possession.
Mateo Musacchio reflected Milan’s overall performance in that he looked comfortable for 55 minutes, but things gradually began to fall apart as Milan conceded three goals and so summer signing Mattia Caldara could make his first appearance.
Giacomo Bonaventura and Suso were pivotal in the final third against Napoli and so it would come as no surprise if they both keep their places, but whether it’s in a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 system remains to be seen.
As per Goal.com, Gattuso was critical of loanee Tiemoue Bakayoko after his substitute appearance in Naples, and time will tell if he gets another immediate opportunity as Lucas Biglia looked sloppy as the game went on too.
Either way, a double pivot with Kessie, Biglia or Bakayoko will have to show more defensive solidity and coverage if Gattuso changes it, but the line-up below arguably will give Milan better balance if the attacking trio behind Higuain also do their fair share of tracking back and defensive work.
It remains to be seen if Gattuso makes changes, but to accommodate Calhanoglu, who was the main creative spark in the second half of last season, along with Suso and Bonaventura while looking to Biglia and Kessie to provide a solid base in midfield, it could be the solution to bounce back from defeat.