The new, attacking 4-3-3 formation that AC Milan is currently deploying is here to stay, despite rumors that Filippo Inzaghi might eventually switch it to a more compact 4-2-3-1. As the Milan coach mentioned earlier today, he chose to adopt the 4-3-3 specifically for Stephan El Shaarawy, as the 21-year-old Italy striker is more comfortable playing on the left-side with two more attacking players to receive balls from him.
Although there is talk of switching to the 4-2-3-1, after Milan’s poor defensive performances in recent times, there is no guarantee that deploying two full-time defensive midfielders will improve it. The 4-2-3-1 looks like a good option on paper, with four layers of players in front of the goalkeeper, and each with progressively defensive and offensive roles. But in reality, this formation has failed to bring good results for teams- neither clubs not international teams (take England for example). The teams that have tested this formation have found it difficult to maintain the 4-2-3-1 during games, especially against attacking opponents in highly competitive matches. And right now, Milan is not in a position to undergo any more experiment.
Milan currently have sufficient options up front, in the shape of Torres, Menez, El Shaarawy, Honda, Bonaventura, Pazzini and Niang, with the youngster Hachim Mastour also waiting in the wings. Some of these players possess specialized skills. These include Menez, who can play wide and also in the middle, and can create chances with his darting runs. El Shaarawy and Bonaventura are both comfortable in the left wing, with Honda having the ability to cut in from the right.
A good set of matured midfielders, including De Jong and Poli, and the recovering Montolivo, with Muntari, Essien and Saponara also available, it is wise to field the 3-man midfield. What Inzaghi needs to do is improve the coordination and positioning in the midfield, not change the formation.