The eleventh matchday in Serie A had a very interesting duel for tactical analysis. AC Milan and Lazio met in a match that had very attractive elements from the tactics and strategies of both coaches. Milan did not improve and continued to have many tactical and strategic problems. Lazio, for their part, worked to get a good result and achieved it.

This is why the following tactical analysis will show us how and why Milan weren’t able to beat Lazio. Milan’s tactics couldn’t surpass Lazio’s which proved to be superior and more intelligent, and the analysis left interesting things to delve into in the tie. For now, both teams live a very different present.

Lineups

Serie A 2019/20: AC Milan vs Lazio – tactical analysis tactics
Taken from Wyscout

Milan continued to make changes in the starting lineup since the arrival of Stefano Pioli as their head coach. Although the scheme remained the same, Pioli introduced some new names. Milan switched to a 4-1-4-1 system as a base, which became 4-2-3-1 at times or 4-3-3 under Pioli’s idea, depending on the context of the game. In addition, his team played around a central striker and two wingers. The roles of some players have changed since Pioli took charge of the team, which is why Milan have looked different in some tactics but still lack solidity.

Davide Calabria entered as a right-back in place of Leo Duarte who replaced Mateo Mussachio. Rade Krunić played as a midfielder with Lucas Paquetá. It is surprising that Franck Kessié has been left out of the starting line-up after being an undisputed starter with Pioli, but in this match, he was a substitute.

On the other hand, Simone Inzaghi also made several changes and brought in several players instead of others. Inzaghi still uses the 3-5-2 system, although in theory, it looks more like a 3-5-1-1. The distribution of the Lazio players is very clear under the command of Inzaghi.

Inzaghi made four changes to the squad from last game. Bastos came in as one of the three centre-backs in place of Patric. But the most curious thing about Inzaghi’s tactics were the changes in midfield. Manuel Lazzari replaced Adam Marusic as an exterior midfielder on the right. Lucas Leiva took Danilo Cataldi’s place as a defensive midfielder. Joaquín Correa also came in for Felipe Caicedo as a striker.

Milan’s tactical changes

Milan’s first idea in the match was to generate mistakes in Lazio’s game. For that, the two wingers, the forward, and some of the midfielders tried to form a kind of square. The purpose of this square or rhombus was to surround Lucas Leiva. That is to say, it was to not let the player think or make any plays, as he was the player of Lazio in charge of being the axis of the team directed by Inzaghi.

Serie A 2019/20: AC Milan vs Lazio – tactical analysis tactics
Milan’s idea was to surround Lucas Leiva, who was in charge of receiving the first pass from the centre-backs. This was done well at times. The wingers, the striker and a midfielder who was a few meters ahead to help in that sense were in charge

One of the new tactics that Milan showed in this match was the change of formation without possession of the ball. When Milan did not have the ball they changed their shape to a 5-3-2. Pioli’s idea with this was to occupy more space to the width of the pitch, as it was one of the strengths of Lazio. The player in charge of making the backline of five players was Rade Krunić, who was positioned in the middle of the centre-backs.

Serie A 2019/20: AC Milan vs Lazio – tactical analysis tactics
When Milan didn’t have possession of the ball, the idea was to change the scheme. This was seen for the first time since Pioli arrived in Milan. Krunić was in charge of positioning himself in the middle of the two centre-backs. In this way, the interior midfielders approached each other. This formed a 5-2-3 formation according to what we could see in the tactical analysis

During several moments of the game, there was an exchange of positions and roles between Theo Hernández and Hakan Çalhanoğlu. While the Spaniard was several meters ahead to play as a winger, the Turk was several meters behind and occupied that position. In this way, Pioli wanted to take advantage of the speed of Hernández and also the pause of Çalhanoğlu in that sector of the pitch.

Serie A 2019/20: AC Milan vs Lazio – tactical analysis tactics
Theo Hernandez continues to play a very important role in Milan. The Spanish player must always be willing to play more freely to advance several meters. In this way, he becomes a winger who constantly comes to the box. In addition, that made Çalhanoğlu occupy the position of the full-back to generate an exchange of roles

One of Pioli’s clear ideas in Milan has been to play with a very marked axis. In some matches, it has been Lucas Biglia while in others it has been Franck Kessié, and in this match it was Ismaël Bennacer. Regardless of the player, the function is the same: to be the link between the backline and the midfielders. For that, the player must have a lot of mobility to always generate lines of passes.

Serie A 2019/20: AC Milan vs Lazio – tactical analysis tactics
Ismaël Bennacer was in charge of Milan’s axis role. The tactical analysis showed that Bennacer had to be constantly on the move to generate a pass line from the backline. In addition, Theo Hernandez’s overtaking by several metres generated a three-player backline. Bennacer was the link between the backline and the attacking midfielders

In addition to the above, Milan continued to exert the pressure like they have been doing for several matches. The idea is to mark one of the possible receivers of a pass, which forces the opposition to switch from playing with short passes to long passes instead, in order to jump the lines.

Serie A 2019/20: AC Milan vs Lazio – tactical analysis tactics
Another of the ideas left to us by the tactical analyses of Pioli’s tactical ideas is a strong pressure. Milan’s idea is to put pressure on the man so that the opponent cannot receive a pass. This showed that Lazio often had to kick long balls to avoid making a mistake near the box

Lazio’s aggressive tactics

Lazio’s first element during this match was the pressure they handled. In this case, Lazio simply tried to cover Milan’s passing lines between the backline and the midfielders. This way Milan found a short circuit and it prevented them from having fluidity in the game.

Serie A 2019/20: AC Milan vs Lazio – tactical analysis tactics
The tactical analysis showed that Lazio’s pressure went into space. In this way, Inzaghi was looking to cover the possible passing lines. That is to say, to intercept some pass of connection between the backline and the midfielders of Milan

What surprised Lazio the most was the aggressiveness they handled throughout the game. For example, Lazio’s wide midfielders acted as full-backs and wingers. It all depended on the timing and context of the game. During attacking phases, both were free to attack and formed a line of five players, which made it very difficult for Milan to defend.

Serie A 2019/20: AC Milan vs Lazio – tactical analysis tactics
Lazio’s 3-5-2 or 3-5-1-1 formation proved too aggressive to always look for attack options. One of the things that caught the attention of tactical analysis was the number of Lazio players attacking. The midfielders were several meters ahead to make a line of five players and be in numerical superiority against the backline of Milan

In addition, Lazio’s numerical superiority was evident during many moments of the match. There were usually more Lazio players than Milan ones in every sector of the pitch. For example, the Milan midfielders always found themselves outnumbered, and that made the team look very erratic. This is another way of how Inzaghi had won the tactical battle against Pioli.

Serie A 2019/20: AC Milan vs Lazio – tactical analysis tactics
One of Inzaghi’s main tactical orders was to generate numerical superiority in all sectors of the court. Lazio looked very balanced in that sense and was constantly with more players than Milan when it came to playing the ball. For example, Paquetá, Krunić, and Bennacer were almost always seen with several Lazio players pressing them

When Lazio didn’t have possession of the ball, the formation changed to a 5-3-2. The wide midfielders went back several meters to form a backline of five players. This made Lazio occupy the wide spaces of the pitch in a better way both in attack and defence. Lucas Leiva was also the only defensive midfielder, while at his sides were Sergej Milinković-Savić and Luis Alberto.

Serie A 2019/20: AC Milan vs Lazio – tactical analysis tactics
When Lazio did not have possession of the ball, the change of scheme was clear. The tactical analysis showed that Lazio makes the transition from attack to defence very quickly. The disposition was for the external midfielders to step back a few meters and position themselves as full-backs quickly. In this way, a 5-3-2 formation was made

As mentioned earlier, Lazio’s wide midfielders played as full-backs and wingers. In this case, it was evident when both were deployed to attack. Inzaghi’s idea was that when Lazio had possession of the ball, both would go several meters forward. This also caused Lazio to attack with many players. For Milan, it was very difficult to mark them in the box.

Serie A 2019/20: AC Milan vs Lazio – tactical analysis tactics
Inzaghi’s strategy was demonstrated in the tactical analysis as a fully-fledged attack strategy. Manuel Lazarri and Senad Lulić were external midfielders who were constantly arriving in the Milan box. Thus Lazio took advantage of the length and width of the pitch and generated many attacking options using the wings

Conclusion

This tactical analysis showed that Milan continues with the same problems in their tactics. Despite playing well at times, the team still looks very weak in some aspects. Pioli will have to work hard to make Milan look more solid in several of their tactical facets – both defensive and offensive. Milan will play away to Juventus on the next Serie A fixture, which will be a really tough game. However, a good result against Juventus can be a decisive turning point for Milan’s season.

On the other hand, Lazio are having a very solid Serie A season. Inzaghi’s tactical ideas continue to surprise and have found solidity. Lazio are in the fifth position fighting to qualify to the Champions League next season. The best thing about Lazio and Inzaghi is the process that has been respected which will take several seasons to pay off. This has been the key so far in this Serie A. On the next matchday, Lazio will face Lecce at home.


If you love tactical analysis, then you’ll love the digital magazines from totalfootballanalysis.com – a guaranteed 100+ pages of pure tactical analysis covering topics from the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga and many, many more. Buy your copy of the October issue for just ₤4.99 here

Loading...

Juan Ricardo Arenas Amaya

Writer at Ronnie Dog Media
From Bucaramanga, Colombia. Fan of Atlético Bucaramanga. 26 years old. Football as a lifestyle.
Juan Ricardo Arenas Amaya