MN: Milan’s probable XI to face Rennes – Reijnders tipped for advanced role

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan will take on Stade Rennais at Roazhon Park tomorrow night at 18:45 CET hoping to book their progress into the final 16 of the Champions League.

According to what is being reported by MilanNews, after the bad performance in Monza Stefano Pioli knows that he can no longer take risks and will therefore return to relying on those he trusts the most, or at least in large part.

The back four in front of Mike Maignan will consist of Simon Kjaer (taking back his spot from Malick Thiaw) and Matteo Gabbia as the centre-back pairing then Alessandro Florenzi and Theo Hernandez as the full-backs.

Perhaps the biggest news is regarding the midfield, because Ismael Bennacer is now tipped to play from the first minute after having done the full training session with the team today. Yunus Musah will be his partner in the double pivot.

On the right there is a battle between Samuel Chukwueze and Christian Pulisic with the American ahead of the Nigerian at the moment, then Rafael Leao should be on the left flank.

A rest is possible for Ruben Loftus-Cheek in favour of Tijjani Reijnders who will play more advanced as the playmaker, then for the striker role it remains to be seen whether it will be Olivier Giroud or Luka Jovic given the latter is banned for two league games.

Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Florenzi, Kjaer, Gabbia, Theo Hernandez; Bennacer, Musah; Pulisic, Reijnders, Leao; Jovic.

Bench: Sportiello, Mirante, Nsiala, Thiaw, Bartesaghi, Terracciano, Adli, Loftus-Cheek, Eletu, Chukwueze, Okafor, Giroud.


Tags AC Milan Rennes Milan


  1. Now this is how you rotate players, not disturbing the balance to much.

    I would bench Magnian as well for this game, time for a rest and a wake up call.

    Bravo 👏 👏 👏

  2. Finally testing Reijnders as an AM. Why not ?
    I think it’s indeed less risky to start with Leao and Pulisic (or at least one of them) and perhaps sub them around halftime if we’re confortable.
    We should be more careful in the midfield since we’re gonna lose Loftus-Cheek’s physical presence and Musah is unreliable.
    Tactically I should we should avoid playing with a very highline and perhaps favour a more counterattack based game, since we’re up 3-0

    1. Musah is the most reliable defender in the midfield…when he starts there they have never given up more than a goal…and that’s vs Dortmund, Juve and psg among others…
      Potentially the best 11 right here
      They will probably play pulisic way deep again as they like to attack on that side…counters should open up as they get more desperate, but otherwise I hate bunkering just because there is a lead. Possession is good defense too.

    2. as stated below hes the most reliable defender in the midfield this season…plus he is press resistant and always an outlet for the defense…because of his positioning and scanning.

      1. You’re talking about Musah ? I don’t see it that way.
        I don’t necessarly blame the kid, but because of the fact that Pioli always make him play in a different position each game his gameplay has suffered and let’s be honest, some of his games were awful. He is resistant and strong, but he loses the ball quite often.
        Perhaps under a different coach or when he will finally find his true position, he will improve.

  3. I’ve yet to see Musah do something impressive that warrants a start. Hopefully he comes in good next year because rating him as average this year I think would be kind. Please correct me.

    1. He doesn’t get consistent game time to be fair… Pioli likes his starting eleven and doesn’t integrate other player in too often. Opting for wholesale changes instead once in a blue moon.

      And then when he does start, there’s pressure not to f*ck up. It’s tough coming off the bench.

      1. Agree! Kessie had a hard time during his first season as well.

        He reminds me alot of him, he can be the Kessie replacement if given enough time to adapt and evolve. That is if he is used as a midfielder rather than a RB…

    2. He started the last game vs Rennes where they won 3-0 and it was probably the teams best performance of the season other than maybe the PSG match. The kid has endless motor and gives everything, he just needs some consistency in terms of the role he is being asked to play.

    3. He is a very strong defender in the middle of the field and he can advance the ball while receiving it with his back to the defense. Something the team has struggled with. Him and Isma are both high iq and able to switch between who is covering and who is advancing. I like that combo a lot. The team needs defense…have you seen another midfielder besides Reindjers and a very inconsistent but sometimes great rlc…perform in the midfield?

    4. He has a great attitude and tireless energy. That is huge in a team like Milan. He can carry the ball well and drive the team forward. He is only 20 and has been asked to play all over.
      He is very raw but he has potential

  4. All the works, time, and players, to fulfil his 433 all box-to-box more-european kind of football, we ended up in our ‘traditional’ 4231.

    1. We were never purely 4-2-3-1. We were playing a 4-3-3 hybrid at best. It has always been. The role of the ‘AM’ changes depending on the plan of attack/defense, the opponent and the personnel. Watch the way RLC drifts towards the right, and Bennacer or Reijnders towards the left, leaving Adli or whoever in the middle. Even last year with Benny in supposed AM against Napoli. And even Brahim drifts towards the right mostly (his assist for Rafa against Napoli), sometimes left.

      The obsession with a particular formation is naive at best. Watch the average positions to get an idea of what we’re actually playing

      And P.S: All Pioli did was ask for a dynamic midfield capable of morphing, and carrying the ball, and reading the available spaces and seamlessly adjusting to exploit that with loss of quality. To an extent we see that this season; judging for the adjustment period of/to the new signings ofcourse.

      1. Check the heat-maps of RLC when he officially put in the AM position. You can clearly see that his position is mostly centered and mostly spend his position on 2/3 of the field. Except when we played against Rennes (where his position more towards the right).

        That’s the sign of our old n’ traditional formation / gameplay (to put less significance on the on paper formation word).

        “All Pioli did was ask for a dynamic midfield capable of morphing, and carrying the ball…”

        That’s exactly when his bet gone totally wrong. We need more a mid that can do filtering job. That can fill defensive line when the wingback and other mids advancing forward. Pioli has built his team around this identity. And that’s the way we won Scudetto.

        And suddenly last season, when he got more authority, he wanted to change the ‘DNA’. And we all can see how it turns out. As I said over and over again, he got ahead of himself. And that’s never a good sign.

        On a side note, I was a true defender of Pioli last season, even thru the post-Roma match fiasco. But no, this season I see many sides of him that can’t be simply defended anymore. In the end we all thank him for that Scudetto season. But 4.5 years with only 1 major trophy for a club like Milan is not something we’re looking for.

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