GdS: Pioli to rely on ‘Pu-Gi-Le’ again – trust is there but the goal problem lurks

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan fans have got used to checking the starting line-up and seeing three names at the top, and that will continues tomorrow night against Rennes too.

As this morning’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) writes, Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud and Rafael Leao will be on the pitch from minute one against Rennes in the Europa League play-off round first leg.

The ‘Pu-Gi-Le’ line is the most used trident in Italy. In Serie A, Pioli chose them from the start – all together – for 17 out of 24 league matches and for four out of six matches in the Champions League. The total is 21 starts together, so let’s say he trusts them.

The comparison with the rest of Italy speaks volumes as well with Berardi, Pinamonti and Laurienté having played 15 matches together to get the silver medal, then Vlasic-Sanabria-Zapata started together 11 times for Torino and the others are under 10.

If proof were needed of the importance of those three forwards for Pioli, that is it. Pulisic, Giroud and Leao have combined for 20 assists in Serie A and no other trio – forwards or not – reaches that far in Italy.

Dimarco-Thuram-Mkhitaryan are at 18, Dybala-Pellegrini-Paredes at 13. Creativity is not lacking but there is a goal problem lurking, because the American, Frenchman and Portuguese know what to do with the ball but their numbers are worrying.

Pulisic hasn’t scored since December 30, Giroud has missed a couple of penalties, Leao has shot on target 10 times in six months.

The attackers from the bench (above all Luka Jovic and Noah Okafor) gave Milan a great hand, a real innovation compared to last season, but to make headway in the Europa League you need the heavyweights to perform, i.e. the Pu-Gi-Le trio.


Tags AC Milan Christian Pulisic Olivier Giroud Rafael Leao


      1. Giroud has is third in Serie A in goals and leads the league in Assists. Leao is second in Serie A in assists. And Pulisic has 5 assists to go along with his seven goals. If you look at overall goal contributions you would have a hard time coming up with a trio that has better numbers.
        I will say that since Pioli moved back to the double pivot and put RLC at AM it has hurt Pulisic’s production because he is someone that likes to cut inside a lot and RLC has been occupying that space .

        1. Leao hasn’t scored since September(?). Giroud has a couple of goals this year and Pulisic? Has he scored in 2024? I didn’t say anything about assists – only goals.

          And also… I’m not saying that it was my opinion. I was just suggesting this MIGHT have been the agenda of this post.

      2. Giroud doesn’t have the endurance to play this often. For our sake I hope we score early and take the lead so at least at the half we can get Ok4 and /or Jovic in.

  1. I have said this the problem of Pioli is that he doesn’t give players chance to prove their worth players like Traore, Romero,and Jimenez supposed to be of help to Milan but Pioli pattern is difficult now I said this again pulisic is not a winger but an attacking midfield the true winger Acmilan have is chukwueze and leao and now Loftus cheek needs to play the double pivot while benercer or rejnder can play as attacking midfield because they are good in that area and now we need Okafor and jovic to start Acmilan team in our match because Geroud is missing chances and getting tired

    1. Pulisic is a winger. Every single coach he had played him as a winger. Why? Because he is a winger and not an AM… furthermore, when pioli uses the am its meant as an anchor not as some super creative force that drives the attacking department

  2. The action has shifted to Leao’s side away from Pulisic, and probably rightly so. The game doesn’t always come to you. People get overly concerned if there are no goals from a player. But if the game doesn’t come to you you support the team elsewhere in other ways. The team is on a good streak of wins and Giroud, Pulisic and Leao are all playing their part. I would be VERY hesitant to mess with a winning chemistry.

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