GdS: Three potential solutions for Pioli as Leao will miss Napoli game

By Oliver Fisher -

Stefano Pioli will have to come up with a solution ahead of the game against Napoli in one week given that Rafael Leao will not be available.

Ante Rebic probably will not make the game as Pioli himself admitted, so Olivier Giroud is left hoping that Divock Origi will recover to allow him to get a break. Marko Lazetic too is also out injured at the moment and Zlatan Ibrahimovic is unavailable until 2023.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, one solution at the moment involves playing Charles De Ketelaere out wide, but when he has played on the wing it has been more on the right side and Pioli also made it clear that he is at ease when he starts from a central position. Brahim Diaz could therefore adapt and play on the left, as he did when Hakan Calhanoglu also started towards the end of the 2020-21 season.

Another option is for Pioli to turn to his trusted utility man Rade Krunic, with the Bosnian having already played there. He is currently working along after a muscle problem but should be available on Wednesday in the Champions League and therefore – with a full week of work – the hypothesis is feasible.

Finally, there is a third option to think about, and that is to move Alexis Saelemaekers to the right. Like Krunic, the Belgian has already held that role, with mixed results.

Tags AC Milan Alexis Saelemaekers Brahim Diaz Rade Krunic Rafael Leao


  1. Erm, move Salamaekers to the right? Another well researched article from GdS, who are becoming about as trustworthy as CalcioMercato!

    How about switch to a 3-6-1 / 5-4-1 formation, or a 3-5-2? In both Inter and Sampdoria games the team have proven they can do it and with the team so heavily based upon Leao it’ll need something a bit more than swapping him for a 90% fit Krunic I think….

  2. 3-5-2 with start with Adli and CDK as forwards slightly pulled back. Conceptually as two false 9s.
    Theo-Bennacer-Bakayoko-Tonali-Calabria to hold the center, cut Napoli’s attacks and build up ours. Bakayoko is not bad when there are three mids. Theo and Calabria will work mostly to do their attacking job.
    And a trio of our defenders to back them all.
    I think with attacking teams like Napoli it is better to keep the field center busy.

    1. Didn’t think of that. Bakayako is pretty much all defence, which is not a bad idea against Napoli. Would probably start Pobega/Vrankx over bennacer so we have some quality of the bench, but good idea.

  3. If Krunic is back healthy by Sunday, Pioli will most likely start him at LW. He is his utility man, his Swiss knife.
    Whenever Brahim and Hakan played together in the line up, Hakan was deployed on the wing and Brahim was the 10. I doubt Pioli will play Brahim on the wing now

  4. Instead of breaking what have always worked, let’s simply put salamaekers to the right, the dude had is best game on the right, CDK and messias will complete the trident behind Origi(if he is available)

    Pioli should not do too much, this is Napoli and not a small team.

    For the people saying 3412, 361, 3332 and so on, let me remind you that this is not playstation but real life and if pioli even play with 3 defenders and it doesn’t work, the same fans will come here and start calling him mediocre for changing formation……pioli should simply deploy salamaekers over the LW, if we have good fortune and we are winning, then maybe we can change to 3 defenders at 70th minutes…..well that’s what he will do though, pioli is not a risk taker

  5. Another option is to deploy Adli to the LW, he got the flare To beat his man and also will run more and he can make that killer pass too.

    No krunic or Diazbto the LW please

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