CM: Chukwueze’s red-hot form could result in bold selection choices vs. Roma

By Oliver Fisher -

After a difficult start to his first season at AC Milan, Samuel Chukwueze is back to his best form. With huge games on the horizon, a report has suggested that Stefano Pioli cannot afford to drop him. writes that there are now seven days in which everything is at stake for Milan: the future, trophy hopes, judgments on the head coach and others, the credibility of the project and more.

On Thursday there is the mountain at the Olimpico to climb and overcome against Roma for a place in the Europa League semi-final, then on Monday the derby against Inter to avoid the great nightmare of the city rivals celebrating a second star after that game.

Pioli knows that every detail, every training session and every selection choice can make the difference between a turning point or a profound disappointment. The signals are also coming from the players, too.

There are those who are shining after difficulties like Chukwueze , those who are providing continued positive signs like Christian Pulisic and those who are struggling more than others to find certain levels after injuries like Malick Thiaw.

The great enthusiasm that had accompanied Chukwueze’s arrival last summer was not the result of a collective hallucination, because he was one of the best attacking wingers in LaLiga and a key man in Villarreal’s Champions League run.

After a decidedly mediocre first part of the season, the Nigerian has seemingly realised what it means to play for Milan and now he is a completely different player with his unpredictability, quickness in closed spaces and intoxicating dribbling.

It is no coincidence that the only real danger created for Roma in the first leg came thanks to some magic by Chukwueze who – after leaving three opponents behind – provided the easiest of assists for Giroud. The Frenchman, as he will no doubt have nightmares about, hit the bar.

Chukwueze had the ball in the net twice at the Mapei Stadium and both times VAR intervened to call them offside, though the stills from the technology suggested there was very little in both calls.

Regardless of what the fans’ feelings may be and the rivalry with Inter, the big game is on Thursday against Roma. Pioli must pick the right team and at present it seems almost sacrilege to exclude Chukwueze from the starting XI.

Milan at the Olimpico must be courageous and at the same time balanced, so they must consider the system too. One idea could be to move Ruben Loftus-Cheek back to midfield with Pulisic as an attacking midfielder and Chukwueze on the right.

Tags AC Milan Samuel Chukwueze


  1. Actually, moving RLC deep next to Rejinders, moving Puli to the middle and putting Chuk on the right is a brilliant idea. When the idea of Pulisic in the middle and Chuk on the right has been floated against Roma, I had been hesitant to sit RLC, as Roma have a lot of height and physicality. Losing RLC would be a big hit from that standpoint. It hadn’t occurred to me to drop him deep. Bennacer just isn’t the player he was last season (I guess this will be a lost season for him), Adli brings little defensively and Musah is still too raw. So dropping RLC down also alleviates the doubts with the above.

    1. I agree with you till the part you’ve said about Benaccer! Have you seen his personal numbers, and way more importantly, the difference in overall results Milan has with him on the pitch, and off?!
      No doubt, Reijnders is a player who can crete more dangerous situatios against the opponent, and put himself in a position to score, but when it comes to ball control, bringing calmness, change of tempo, Bennacer is still irreplacable!

  2. Playing all 3 of Leao, Chuk, Pulisic with Giroud from
    the start would be a very risky plan. That will leave the team defensively even more vulnerable than they are right now, especially on the counter. You can’t take out a midfielder for a forward.
    Milan doesn’t need to go gangbusters all in from the 1st minute. It’s only 1-0, not 3-0.
    Roma isn’t Lecce.

      1. ^^ This.

        I do agree with Z sentiment tho. Start with RLC and move Puli in att he 60 and baffle Roma with a completely different look.

        If it’s not necessary because we played like Milan instead of Milan, well we can check the box under good problem to have.

        Personally I think Puli is a defensive upgrade in the middle if he works for the CBs like he does for Calabria.

        More and more I think RLC is an SS we should be trying as a target man.

        1. Exactly.
          Milan starts the game needing to make up 1 goal deficit. If you risk and go all in from the start, before you know it you might need to make up 2, 3 goals.
          Start the game with the usual forward lineup, or maybe start Chukwueze over Pulisic and then in the 2nd half try to go all in if you haven’t made up the difference by then.
          RLC plays too far forward because of Pioli. If you check his Chelsea heat maps you will see that he was more defensive and more central there.
          We also saw what he did to Milan’s midfield in UCL last season playing in the middle of the park.

        2. I think Pulisic is one of the hardest working players on the team, so I don’t feel that would hinder us.
          Defending, especially high up the pitch is not all about size, it’s being smart, diligent, committed.

          A certain Mr. Kante is one of the best DM’s in modern history and he was an Ant

        3. I generally agree with you and Z ,however with Smalling (he had Giroud in his pocket) and Mancini they have strong defensive positioning.
          I would consider Puli as a false 9(he plays well in the middle)with Leao & Chuk and a midfield three of Reijnders, Adli & Loftus(if he can remain disciplined to cover up) to beef up the midfield. That front 3 would make things difficult to read for DDR’s defence and we would have our form players on the pitch at least from the start.

    1. all that is needed is to score 2 goals or even 3 at half time , then a midfielder can come be sub for a forward. its very simple as a coach prepare your team to score two goals in the first 30minutes with all they have and all the could…..

      1. this is what sassuolo did against milan and we’ve witness inter, liverpool, man city, even atalanta did same thing many times

  3. Pioli has to be bold in this game. If we go for it and play well and lose, that’s fair enough, but a repeat of last week is unacceptable.

    Leao – Pulisic – Chucky is the right call to pick open a low block.
    Drop RLC who is doing nothing anyway.

    I’d also consider dropping Giroud in favour of Okafor.

    It’s all or nothing folks and these guys are the form players, playing their best positions.
    Score a few goals in the 1st half and we can always bring on some more midfielders to shore things up.
    Also bear in mind Roma has not been long under De Rossi. When teams are put under pressure, they revert to type, and their default is still Mourinho mode

  4. .RLC must be put on the bench
    Rejdenders and Musah.
    Chekuezah,Puslic,Leao and Okafur in the Place of Giroud or Jovatic.
    At the Defence
    RB Terraciano,Gabbia,Tomori ans Theo.
    GK M Maignan.
    If Poili Lines the Players from the first minute Rima will be beaten well by milan
    Belief me take this tactix and lines upp

    1. Agree with this line up

      RLC will be better off the bench. Giroud shouldn’t be in the starting 11 – either Okafor or Jovic would be a major improvement.

      Yes please for Terrraciano – leave Florenzi at home..

  5. Can RLC even play a DM role? Because that would be solid.

    I mean he has the physique for it. And by playing a DM he can avoid being terrible at the final pass in the final third by passing it to puli or wingers even before he gets there…



    With this,God willing Milan into the semi final. Thanks

  7. Chuck is playing well, but 1 goal in league play does not make one red hot. He’s finally showing potential, but that is differently than being able to rely on his offense. Just saying.

  8. Formation – 4-2-3-1

    ST – Giroud
    LM – Leao
    CAM – Pulisic
    RM – Chukwueze
    CDM (Get forward) – Reijnders
    CDM (Stay back) – Bennacer
    LB – Theo
    LCB – Gabbia
    RCB – Tomori
    RB- Florenzi
    GK – Maignan

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