GdS: Milan’s starting XI last season vs. how it could look in 2023-24

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan could field a much-changed starting XI for the first game of next season compared to the team that became Stefano Pioli’s first choice in the last campaign.

Today’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport asks the question of which team is stronger between the one that Pioli relied upon for big games last season versus what could be fielded last season.

Starting with the 2022-23 edition, there was a back four of Davide Calabria, Pierre Kalulu, Fikayo Tomori and Theo Hernandez in front of Mike Maignan.

For big games such as the ones against Napoli and Inter, Rade Krunic and Sandro Tonali were the double pivot and Ismael Bennacer (before his injury) more advanced.

Brahim Diaz was shifted to the right with Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud then completing the attacking department.

How could Milan look next season? Well, the paper believes the back five players will be the same barring Kalulu, with Malick Thiaw now expected to be a starting centre-back.

Then, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tijjani Reijnders should form two-thirds of a three-man midfield, with the heavily-linked Yunus Musah being the other player after Tonali’s sale.

Another new signing in Christian Pulisic is down as the right winger, with Giroud and Leao again completing the forward line.

Tags AC Milan


  1. If Pioli plays 433 we are definitely starting the season with Krunic playing the regista role. Unless they sign someone like Gravenberch, Amrabat or Ricci, Krunic is starting until Bennacer comes back.
    No way Pioli goes into the season with a whole new midfield. Plus Krunic is the only one suited to play in the middle, dictate the tempo and provide defensive cover. Reijnders. RLC and Musah are more box to box

    1. Nope , reijnders are regista role , he will start due to bennacer injury till january, krunic are versatile back up can cover both regista or mezzala , krunic are pioli super sub.

    2. Krunic dictate the tempo lol. Ok maybe dictate the tempo in the slowest way ever with very little forward passes

  2. It really bothers me that a lot of places, when showing formation, puts the pivot players wrong.. krunić played left and Tonali played right..

  3. I don’t think there’s much in it. Last seasons team not good enough to win the league and neither is this seasons prospective team.

  4. Guys, its a sad afair that you even consider Krunic in any combination. I still dont know how he ended up wearing Milan shirt without paying for the shirt and customization like I do

    1. Reijnders are regista . Yunus & RLC are the box to box midfield . Reijnders compete with bennacer for starting spot but because benna long injury till january that will make reijnders compete with krunic

  5. first of all, I’m happy Krunic is not there.. I’m tired to see fans talking about how good he was couple of times, he closed the gaps, he got the ball back, bla bla bla.. he’s not a player for AC Milan, he never been..
    second, we got rid of Diaz, again, few wonderful games we all know, but he does not have the quality to play for us, we all agree
    thirs, Pulisic is a great addition to our team, he’s excellent in the final third and all the pussycats that were denying him will soon eat their words..
    forth.. musah is still far away, we’ve read so many rumours, I want him signed before judge him properly
    fifth.. reijnders.. I personally don’t trust him, I can’t wait to swallow my words and see him performing..
    sixth.. olivier? really? another season with hin? great team player, exceptional team work, great goal scorer from impossibile positions, but we need something else..

  6. That last season midfield was a mess. Lot of fighting spirit and covering but that was it, no ball control ,no passing… Maybe long balls which were painful to watch. Couldn’t wait for a complete new midfield. I’m confident that Musah-Reijnders-RLC midfield after given the necessary time wouldn’t be as chaotic in possession and they should be fine defending even with less tactically awared guys (which in fact is not much). And with Pulisic taking spot of Messias/Diaz, the attack is also better. Those two departments are the only really changes so far.

    1. I agree. We lost control of the midfield far too often last season – those two CL ties with Inter are still painful. I’m still a bit confused about Pulisic though. If we’re still going for Chukweze or similar it means Pulisic will be in the middle but I thought we’ll be switching to a 433. Or maybe it’s just his versatility why he’s been bought.

      1. Pulisic has offensive capabilities. They didn’t play through him as much as he needed to get a sense and feeling for the ball. Players like him beed to be involved. Always scored against Mexico in international duty and they were arguably the strongest team on the continent. He scored with left and right foot.

        He had goals against Real Madrid, City, Liverpool, Lille, Valencia and Arsenal. With an average output of a contribution to a goal every three games at Chelsea, That would equate to 12 to 13 contributions over a 38 game season in Serie A.

        That alone last year, 13 more goals, would have given us a Scudetto or at least made us the highest scoring team in the league. Consider 7 contributions from Messias as one of our best scorers last year. 13 contributions from Brahim, most were against lower tier sides, the exception of once against Juve and Napoli.

        So we will be more dangerous on both wings. That will be crucial. I think if he is healthy, we will be much better and unpredictable in attack. Harder to close down in attack with Pulisic.

      2. There are good signs of formation changes. Diaz departing with his supposed replacement Kamada deal abandoned and CDK , Adli – only other players who could play CAM all seems to be transfer listed.

        Looking to add another winger – I think the idea is to have three good wingers who could rotate offering about the same quality and given that from the starting lineup wingers are the most common in getting substituted, you’d expect all three to be able to contribute in every match and having enough impact through the season, unless Pioli goes being Pioli and stick to the same players all season! I think will occasionally play 4231 with Pulisic in CAM.

  7. There were a few games Krunic was best in red and black, i like him. Rcl signing i do not understand, could be another high paid bench keeper. I would focus more on tecjnical skills then physis, a luka sucic for 20mio would be secure investment. Also pulisic will need time and luck in serie a, but could become a love story next year. Finaly it will be key how to integrate origi, cdk and rebic we have to focus on mistakes

  8. This would be undeniably a better starting 11 than last season. Stronger midfield and better attack. Well done Cardinale. Just have to get Musah deal done.

  9. We have signed some very good players in particular pulisic ,,who has immense speed and talent ,,.and for me our best signing could be Loftus cheek in midfield and of course this will help if we changed formation to a 433 if needed ..As long as Loftus cheek can remain injury free ,then he is world class ..He has physical attributes,such as physical strength height speed and very skilled …please do not panic about centre foward as we have one who will have a mega season with all the pace around him of pulisic ,Loftus cheek ,rafeol leao and our attacking defender Thea Hernandez .
    This is going to be a great season for us ,we will score bags of goals including at least 20 from leao ,20 from Giroud and also goals from pulisic and perhaps Loftus .even if we do get a centre forward to help Olivier out .
    We don’t need a replacement for him.
    Listen please listen to what I have just said we will challenge for honours again this season..We will
    Olivier Giroud will still be our main striker.
    We have spent wisely this season ..We have a great manager in pioli and a great talented team .
    Hope all of Milan fans read what I have said .
    Stay optimistic…it’s AC Milan for me

Comments are closed

Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.