GdS: Absence of Reijnders forces Pioli to use unprecedented midfield pairing

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has been forced into a midfield change for tonight’s game against Napoli, and it will see a pairing used together for the first time.

As this morning’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport (seen below) writes, after four games in a row with the same starting line-up Pioli will finally be forced to make an alteration.

Tijjani Reijnders will in fact not be available as he has been banned for one match by the Sporting Judge for racking up too many yellow cards. It is his first absence of the season, having played in every other game.

Without the Dutchman, the Milan double pivot will be made up of Ismael Bennacer and Yacine Adli, two players who now occupy similar roles but they play their position very differently.

The paper adds that it will be the first time that the Franco-Algerian duo have ever played together from the first minute. The two have obviously already played together for a few minutes in recent years at Milan, but never from the start of the match.

Between them, they must keep tabs on Napoli’s transition plan and aim to stop Kvicha Kvaratshkelia getting hold of the ball and creating danger, given he will be playing a more central role.


Tags AC Milan Ismaël Bennacer Yacine Adli


  1. So Pioli wanted to play Reijnders(who can’t defend)out of position as a double pivot even though a more defensively adept Bennacer is available? How dumb can Pioli be with his midfield choices

    1. I think you already know Pioli starts the same players until oblivion (injuries or absence).
      Honeslty I would have wanted to see a Bennacer-Loftus pairing with Adli more in front as an AM (but a bit deeper).

    1. Milan should go full throttle after Ederson of atalanta this summer. Looks like kessie 2.0 and exactly what our midfield needs for proper balance, either in 4231 or 433.

      1. He will be sold to the PL for FAR MORE than we could offer. Atalanta are kings of flipping players for profit.

        Great player though.

        1. Could be. They dont need to sell, still have Rasmus money left, maybe they’ll finally show some sporting ambition and try to keep their best players.I’d like to see that if im honest

  2. We haven’t beaten Napoli at home in a LONG WHILE in the league, so whatever Pioli is cooking up, he better beef up the midfield. We always get caught in transition. Also because we are having to field sub-par Kjaer, it would be better to maybe approach the game more defensively.

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