It is a common sight in Italian football, but one which has a particular meaning in Italy.
For the past decade, Milan have been the laughing stock of Serie A, often appearing on the fringes of the title race due to their perceived lack of quality, whilst rivals Juventus and Fiorentina have been more consistently successful.
However, as they look to extend their current run of wins to 11, this season could prove to be their moment of glory.
While they are yet to concede a goal in Serie B this season, the Nerazzurri have the perfect opportunity to put themselves in the best position to beat the defending champions.
It all starts with their pressing gameThe main thing to keep in mind in SerieA is that Milan have to play a pressing game to maintain their shape.
This can be seen by looking at their statistics when they are in possession of the ball.
In order to maintain a constant position in the centre of the pitch, Milan need to have the ball and create space.
If they don’t, then they will inevitably be pressured into a defensive line and become vulnerable.
Therefore, a pressing player is one who needs to have possession of both ends of the field, and also have the ability to make an impact on the game in the final third.
In order to achieve this, Milan’s best option is to press the opposition back line with their centre-forward, Dani Alves.
A good example of this is the way the Nerazzzuri have played their attacking play in recent matches, where they have managed to keep the ball, and have found an equaliser at every opportunity.
For example, the way they created the first chance against Sassuolo in their Champions League opener in May, was by pressing Alves, with his back to the opposition centre-back, as well as using a deep cross into the box to set up a cross for Mario Balotelli.
As a result, the Italian giants were able to break the deadlock, as the ball was found inside the box for Balotella to fire home.
When the Neras are in control, this type of pressing will give them an edge over their opponents, who are more accustomed to playing in an offside position.
The more a team has possession of their opponents’ central areas, the more space there will be for the pressing to be effective, allowing them to create chances and create chances themselves.
This is the key aspect of Milan’s pressing.
While a defensive team will usually be content to concede possession to a pressing team in order to prevent them gaining any numerical advantage, Milan will often be content enough to allow their centre forwards to dictate the tempo of the game, with the goal being their goal.
As an example, a goal against Udinese in their previous Champions League encounter with Juventus would have been an easy one for the Neruzzzuri to concede, as both sides had a similar defensive shape.
However if the Neranos are able to take control of the tempo and create their own chances, then the result will be far more favorable.
This is where Milan’s ‘sticks and stones’ strategy comes into play.
The first thing to note is that the team in possession have an advantage over their opposition.
When the ball is in the back of the net, the first thing a team will want to do is push forward, and attack, as this will allow them to gain the ball in their own half.
This will often involve a lot of long passes, but the main difference is that when Milan have possession, their goal is less likely to be scored, as a lot will be saved to the attacking players.
This, in turn, will lead to more attacking opportunities for Milan, which will also help the Nerozzzuri defend better.
Furthermore, as Milan’s forwards are capable of making quick and dangerous runs, they will often create a lot more space than they would in a side who have a more defensive shape, as their players will have more space to play in and attack from.
This means that the opposing side will have to cover a lot less ground in order for their defence to hold up.
As the centre forwards of Milan are able make these runs, their passing will be more predictable, and therefore their team will have fewer chances to counter attack.
This, in return, means that Milan’s opponents will have less of a chance to create their chances, and thus less of an opportunity to score.
This can be a very dangerous situation for a team to find themselves in, as it means that their defensive line is often in disarray, and can be easily breached, allowing their centre backs to have an easier time making plays.
In terms of attacking, the main aspect of this pressing will be the importance of creating space.
While the Nerazi’s defensive line will be better at this than their opponents’, they will need to be able to create space for their strikers to receive the