MN: Probable Milan XI vs. Rennes – Double change at defensive midfield

By Ben Dixon -

On the eve of AC Milan’s Europa League clash against Stade Rennais, Stefano Pioli’s starting eleven seems to be set in stone, as a report has revealed.

As MilanNews write, Milan’s entrance into the Europa League begins with a difficult challenge in the form of an in-form Rennes side, who have recently turned their fortunes around massively. The French side had a poor opening to the season, but they now sit 7th in Ligue 1.

As such, Pioli will name a full-strength eleven in the hope of earning the best possible result at the San Siro.

There will be no shocks that Mike Maignan will start in goal, and there will be few shocks about the defensive line in-front of him: Alessandro Florenzi (in place of the injured Davide Calabria), Simon Kjaer, Matteo Gabbia and Theo Hernandez make up the back four.

The midfield will have an attacking mindset, with Pioli opting to continue with the 4-2-3-1 that has brought him and the squad joy in recent weeks. Ismael Bennacer will be rested, alongside Yacine Adli, so Tijjani Reijnders will be welcomed back to the starting lineup, as will Yunus Musah.

The attacking line-up will not differentiate, Ruben Loftus-Cheek will sit as the Trequartista, either side of him will be Christian Pulisic and Rafael Leao. Olivier Giroud will, as usual, lead the line.

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

Our full preview for the game can be found by following the link here.

Tags AC Milan Milan Rennes


  1. I don’t understand Pioli. During the summer transfer he signed players for a 433 formation. That’s what he requested but now he is playing 4231.

    Why didn’t he just sign a proper AM instead of wasting money to sign players like Ruben Loftus-Cheek or play Pulisic as a AM instead?

    I’ve really had it with Pioli. I hope he doesn’t stay pass this summer. Smh

    1. Agree! Milan decision to sign RLC than Kamada was weird tho. It would be Pulisic/Adli play as AM and Chukwueze/Romero as RW

  2. Exactly. Even if Pioli was supposed to play 4-3-3 he couldn’t have done it without a real CDM. In the summer he requested the management to sign box-to-box players or ball carriers, and no one who can actually defend well. He thought Krunic was this top class CDM and vetoed against his sale even though we would have recieved 10-15 mil for him. Now he immediately realises that Krunic is an average player and he excludes him from the squad altogether, and asks the management to sell him. Now we were forced to accept an offer worth 1/3 of what was offered in the summer.
    Inter has built a world class midfield with Calhanoglu, Barella and Mkhitaryan Who are all box to box players or attack minded midfielders. But that midfield still works exceptionally well because Inter have a clear system, and their midfield has an organised tactical setup, where each midfielder covers the other without leaving too much space between them.
    But in our case, Pioli has never been a coach who has been stringent with his tactics, and has always been one who lets his players play to their strengths. The only way a midfield of Reijnders, Musah and Bennacer would work only when the manager provides each midfielder a clear set of instructions, which Inzaghi can do and Pioli cannot. That is why under Pioli our current midfield will always be lacking defensively. What are the strengths of our midifielders? Dribbling and passing, not defending, that’s why we end up conceding many goals as we have no defensive midfielder.
    At the start of the season Pioli claimed that he wanted to play a possession oriented style and control games more often. However most of the success we achieved under Pioli came when we played counter attacking football, with ball winning midflielders who pressed the opposition midflielders in possession, won the ball, and started quick counter attacks where we would exploit Leão’s pace (that was how we achieved most of our success in the scudetto season and in the UCL against Napoli). This season he has tried to play ‘possession’ football many times, and has failed almost each time (mostly because of the reasons I mentioned above). We concede too many goals. Pioli is a counter attacking manager, and he tries to be someone who he is not, by trying to play ‘possession’ football. My advice to Pioli is just play counter attacking football and don’t try the possession oriented style when you don’t know how to do it. And for that we need a CDM, but he refuses to ask the management to sign one. So you want to play defensive football? Okay, do it properly. You want to play attacking/possession based football? Do it properly. I would be fine with Pioli, but only if he imparts a clear tactical system to this team, be it attacking or defensive. But from his tenure at Milan, I am convinced that he can play only a counter attacking style, so he should sign a CDM and do that, and I would be satisfied with that. Instead he keeps trying to play possession football, and fails almost always.

  3. I think this is a fantastic line up …yes let’s score a few goals …We are doing really well of late …
    I know us fans don’t always agree ,,,but that’s what’s make us who we are …love to see both Rafeol leao and Giroud both score tonight …
    This perhaps might be Oliviers final season with us ..
    I hope not ,,,even if we sign a new striker..Giroud can still play a part for us next season …I think we will challenge again for the scuddeto ..
    We can finish second this season ..

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