Official: AC Milan vs. Atalanta starting XIs – four changes from Rennes loss

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has chosen his starting line-up for the game against Atalanta, and there are a few changes from the defeat to Rennes in midweek.

Milan will be without Tommaso Pobega and Fikayo Tomori for the game as they continue their recoveries, while Luka Jovic is suspended and Mattia Caldara will also not be present.

Pioli has named a back four of Alessandro Florenzi, Malick Thiaw, Matteo Gabbia and Theo Hernandez in front of Mike Maignan, meaning Simon Kjaer drops to the bench.

In midfield, Yacine Adli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have come back into the team with the latter in a more advanced role and the former partnering Ismael Bennacer in the double pivot. Yunus Musah and Tijjani Reijnders start on the bench.

Christian Pulisic will take up a spot on the right wing once again, with Rafael Leao on the left side and Olivier Giroud up front given Jovic is suspended.

In case you missed it, we picked out some of the key battles that will play a big role in the result.

Official Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Florenzi, Thiaw, Gabbia, Hernandez; Bennacer, Adli; Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek, Leao; Giroud.

Bench: Sportiello, Mirante, Kjaer, Kalulu, Calabria, Jimenez, Terracciano, Musah, Reijnders, Okafor, Chukwueze.

Official Atalanta XI (3-4-1-2): Carnesecchi; Scalvini, Djimsiti, Kolasinac; Holm, De Roon, Ederson, Ruggeri; Koopmeiners; Miranchuk, De Ketelaere.

Bench: Musso, Rossi, Bakker, Toloi, Hien, Palomino, Hateboer, Zappacosta, Adopo, Pasalic, Lookman, Scamacca, Tourè.


Tags AC Milan Milan Atalanta


  1. Not really sure about Adli but I think we’ll win this game. We’re with Pioli long enough to know that he’ll somehow deliver in the midst of critical situations, poor streaks, heavily criticized moments, and alikes.

  2. Rotations makes sense.

    Hopefully Adli and Thiaw are up for it this time and will put in a better performance. Their performance will be critical in transition to provide enough coverage.

    Musah and Reijnders probably come in the second half. And hopefully Giroud is rested and up for it, otherwise we don’t have a CF to bring in to help.

    Questions over Leao’s form. Is his calf OK? Is he up for it today?

    I feel like this will be a high scoring game. 3-2 hopefully in our favor…

  3. Not sure about Adli and Bennacer together, both technically good but Adli has had some off games recently and Bennacer looks far from sharp.
    Also RLC rarely gives help to the midfield.

    Should be an entertaining game

    1. Yeah Atalanta on form and they have our number recently. Let’s hope for a turnaround, I wouldn’t be putting money on them that’s for sure

  4. Funny watching Inter score 4 against Leece. They keep pushing forward even when they’re up by 3. But Milan starts slowing down and passing backwards once we’re up by 1. Our problem is not that we don’t have good players, it’s that we don’t have a good coach with good tactics and that can push the players to be better. There’s a reason most of our players get better once they leave Pioli’s team. And Leao and our top players are stagnant in their development. Pioli doesn’t know how to improve players simple.

    1. Our problem is not that we don’t have good players, it’s that we don’t have a good coach with good tactics and that can push the players to be better.


    2. How much better we could’ve been if we kept the 2022 team together and fired Pioli and gotten a world class coach like Ancelotti in, 😩

    3. Yep. The scoreline by the time Atalanta score their lucky penalty should read 3-1. But Milan always dominate possession in such a way that it’s easy for opponents

  5. Good to see our injury list is getting thinner and thinner. Hope we’ll win this game. A win here surely helps in our top 4 run. Should be an entertaining match. Hopefully, our best milan side shows up.

    1. Great goal. But also his 1st serie A goal in 5 ( five) months. So the criticism and bashing is more than justified. One goal after 5 months doesn’t erase the shithousing during that time.

      1. Yes let’s chase out all our best world class players, sell Leao, Maginan, Theo, we’ll replace them with money ball players and win the treble.

        1. That has nothing to do with the fact rafa has not been scoring consistently. And he should…
          First league goal since September.

          1. We don’t just play Serie A. Rafa has 9 season goals in all competitions, and 7 assists.

            But you guys won’t ever be content. You will still be contemptuous of him even when he scores his 10th goal and more.

            I wonder what’s the motivation behind bashing one of our best players. Could it be… ? I won’t say it.

          2. So yeah..if you want me to count other competitions come back when he has 15-18 goals.

            And I’m not bashing anyone. I’m just saying what i see. And i see a dude who lacks something very important

        2. Chase out? They’ll be sold because RedBird wouldn’t give them proper wage. If Inter can offer Barella 7 mio per year with their accounts in shambles, sure as hell we can give our prized players more than 5.

          1. Rafa has played with calf injury, and yes, has had a dip in number of league goals this season but he has also improved the number of assists. He disorganizes opponents’ offenses and often attracts double or even triple marking, opening space for companions. He is tactically very important.

            It doesn’t matter where his goals are scored. 9 goals and 7 assists are still good numbers. Actually in some of the other competitions we play teams that are better than the average Serie A team.

            Some of the stereotypical criticism, “lazy”, is very suspect, in my opinion.

            It’s not a question of always having space for improvement. Do we see similar criticism against several other players whose stats and tactical importance are inferior to Rafa’s? Everybody could improve, but why is Rafa singled out so much for criticism, when he is OBVIOUSLY one of our best players?

  6. Finally some good vertical football!
    Breaking the lines with passes instead of just going side to side ad nauseum.
    Also forget Buongiorno, give me scalvini

  7. As an experienced player You just don’t go in with your leg. Come on! Y’all will be killing Adli if he made that kind of mistake. Smh

    Also, Adli seems to be the only one willing to keep pushing/passing forward to score. Why is Pulisic and everybody else passing backwards and not crossing into the center ??

  8. I was just waiting to write how i think that is the best 45mins we have played this season.
    How the hell is that a penalty?
    It should be a yellow card for faking a head injury.

    We have been by far the better team. Hopefully we can keep it up and punish their cheating

  9. Good im not at the stadium pretty sure i would throw something after the ref. From what i could see he didnt even strike his head and the player makes it look like it.

    1. Overall we have been in control of the game but i agree and also get a bit frustrated with that and that mishap of a corner kick where we ended up pressed back right away, they should just kick it in, at least theres a good opportunity that a chance will then occur. Also while kolasinac was out to the head injury keep bleeding we should have put more pressure on them while being 1 man more on the field.

  10. This ref shrugged his shoulders like he had no option but to give it – honestly, VAR needs to be about backing up a ref’s decision, not influencing it – poor decision by Giroud all the same

  11. Atalanta strategy is to protect the right side on the kick out leaving space on the right where Florenzi is. This makes sense and they get the 1v1 with CDK there as well they know Florenzi isnt going to bomb down the right with any sort of pace. But this is the most sluggish I’ve ever seen Atalanta play in a long time. Second half might be different but our pre-emptive tactics have been quite good so far

  12. Dominating play comfortably. Comfortably for Atalanta that is.

    The penalty can be debated, I think it was cheap, but how’s that a yellow for Leao

      1. We’re not dominating any game. Dominating would be if we were up 3 by now. We can dominate possession by passing backwards to Maignan and maignan wasting 3 minutes before passing forward but that doesn’t equate to winning.

    1. Loftus-Cheek is an irregular player who can go from MOTM in certain games to worst player on the field in some other games and everything in-between but when he is sharp he is a great contributor. I’d sell other people ahead of Loftus-Cheek. For example, I think he is much better than Adli. Thiaw is someone I’d look into selling, also very irregular, has cost us a large number of points against Inter, Juve, Bologna.

  13. Instead of playing Terracciano, here goes Pioli rushing Calabria back from injury in such an important game. Wtf is up with this guy? Terraciano played in Italian league, was a starter for his team, so what’s different when he was signed by Milan ? That’s exactly how Pioli kills careers

    1. There is bascially no reason to assume that he is being rushed and im sure they are perfectly aware of his physical condition on whether he is ready to play a half or not. In the end its also more important to have him up in gear than Terracciano.

    2. Terracciano was given an opportunity and completely screwed up, costing us two points. I guess it will take a while for him to recover the coach’s confidence. But yes, I’m concerned regarding getting Florenzi out who was having a good game and showing no signs of being tired, in favor of rusty Calabria who I think is worse than Florenzi even when in form. But there is a big love for Calabria who is Italian and the captain… I think he is one of our weakest players and is at his ceiling, at his age, with no sign that he will improve. I’d try to sell Calabria but I know it won’t ever happen.

  14. “Ok guys I’m not confident we’re able to win this, so just go back and play same ol’ static garbage of football we know best.”

    – Pioli at half time

      1. We are owned by billionaires, if they weren’t such cheap bastards. But more to the point, Ederson is much better than Walace and four years younger.

    1. And Pulisic’s. Rafa has repeatedly put companions in scoring positions and they wasted it. Rafa would have much better assist numbers if his companions responded better. Rafa is having a great game.

  15. I have to agree with the colleague up there who said that we play with no clear idea. If somebody checks the statistics we have at least 20-30 crosses with 0 headers on goal. Idk I don’t wanna say I know football as well as coaches but thats pathetic in my opinion. Everybody keeps praising Pioli as great tactitian but please man like every other team just lets us have the ball and counter us and if not for heroics from gabbia or Maignan or whoever in defence we suffer and lose. This season trust me is over we should just focus on top 4 and pray they get us someone with clear ideas to lead next year.

  16. Good performance and deserved to win.
    Final ball/pass/cross/shot was just not accurate enough.

    Adli and Leao were great!
    RLC back in donkey mode

    1. Seems we can’t have them on form in the same match. Adli on today, RLC off. RLC on another day, Leao off. Leao on, someone else off.

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