GdS: Gabbia and Adli expected to get chances from the start vs. Empoli

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan will play their first Serie A game of the new year on Sunday as they take on Empoli at the Stadio Carlo Castellani, and there could be a couple of interesting changes to the line-up.

The team will obviously be very different from the one that beat Cagliari 4-1 in the Coppa Italia on Tuesday night given that the likes of Antonio Mirante, Alex Jimenez, Chaka Traore and Luka Romero all start.

La Gazzetta dello Sport (via Radio Rossonera) predicts seven changes compared to the last outing in the cup, with Samuel Chukwueze and Ismael Bennacer having departed for the African Cup of Nations and with various injuries still to deal with.

Mike Maignan will be back in goal, then Matteo Gabbia is expected to come straight into the team after his return from Villarreal was confirmed earlier in the week. Simon Kjaer should partner him, with Davide Calabria and Theo Hernandez the full-backs.

The alternative is that Alessandro Florenzi could play in place of Gabbia, and he would then swap with Theo who would move to centre-back so the Italian can play left-back, as has happened in recent games.

Yacine Adli should be in the middle of the midfield three again, with Bennacer and Tommaso Pobega out and with Yunus Musah returning but potentially only fit enough for the bench. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tijjani Reijnders seem certain of a place.

The paper has the front three as Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud and Rafael Leao, with Luka Jovic sent to the bench despite being in red hot form.

Probable Milan XI (4-3-3): Maignan; Calabria, Kjaer, Gabbia, Theo Hernandez; Loftus-Cheek, Adli, Reijnders; Pulisic, Giroud, Leao.


Tags AC Milan Empoli Milan


  1. Gabbia was loaned out, but now, with Villarreal returning him, he’s set to replace Simic. It’s absurd considering neither Milan nor Villarreal initially required his services.

    1. Herein lie the problems of Pioli, he just cant get his head around team selections and in my opinion will nearly always get it wrong!.

      Jimenez had a great game against Calgary, he has earned a starting berth (if Theo is central), Simic is growing in every game, with Gabbia and Kjaar there is a distinct lack of pace and recovery, Simic provides both pace and recovery.

      Jovic is on form, that confidence he has is what every striker thrives on, benching him is basically killing that very confidence.

      Adli deserves his start and for me he has great qualities on the pitch and the dressing room.

  2. Play Adli as an AM or Mezzala not DM. How many times do you need to make the same mistake before you finally figure it out.

    1. Pioli doesn’t learn. He’d do the very same mistake 1000x in a row without ever realizing it. He has proven that soooo many times before.

  3. Giroud must start as we are playing a different team to that of caligari…He is still our main man and so he should be …What will you all say if he scores a brace in the next match ..You will all then say I told you so !
    Pioli is a wise man ,and an excellent manager.
    Giroud is not doing to badly at the moment.
    I told you all long ago that Giroud will score around 20 gaols in all competitions this season ..He is on target to do just that ..So yes jovic is ,or seems to be in good form ,,and that can only be a good thing ..
    He will get more playing time for sure .
    In my opinion we do not need another forward this season …in fact we are doing much better than some of you are indicating…in the next game it must be rafeol leao / pulisic / and Olivier Giroud as the front three …..I love Loftus cheek in midfield….I will tell you another player that has impressed me and that is Aldi .He looks very confident and assertive on the ball ⚽️
    We have a very good squad indeed with some youngsters that look good prospects..
    Watch us go on a good winning run now ..

    1. So you prefer Giroud current form to Jovi if the likes of Giroud and Leao do not see that they can be bench they won’t give us what we want and so far this young ⭐ are giving us all that if we lose this match they should sack our coach and if Giroud should score it’s not enough for 3 months without a single goal.

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