Official: AC Milan vs. Rennes starting XIs – three changes from Napoli win

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has named the starting line-up to take on Stade Rennais, and there are multiple changes compared to the team that beat Napoli.

Starting with the absences, Milan will be without Pierre Kalulu and Tommaso Pobega as they continue their recovery from surgery, while Fikayo Tomori is out with a muscle problem.

Davide Calabria picked up an adductor issue at the weekend, and Samuel Chukwueze is back from the African Cup of Nations but didn’t arrive in time to train with the team on the eve of the game so he misses out.

Simon Kjaer has passed a late fitness test meaning he will partner Matteo Gabbia in the centre of the defence, with Alessandro Florenzi playing as the right-back given Calabria is out, and Sunday’s match-winner Theo Hernandez at left-back.

There are two changes in midfield compared to the team that beat Napoli with Tijjani Reijnders coming back from suspension to partner Yunus Musah, meaning Ismael Bennacer and Yacine Adli start on the bench.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek will act ahead of them as the attacking midfielder, flanked by Christian Pulisic to the right and Rafael Leao on the left. Olivier Giroud will be the centre-forward, with Luka Jovic and Noah Okafor on the bench.

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

Bench: Sportiello, Mirante, Bennacer, Adli, Jovic, Okafor, Thiaw, Terracciano, Eletu, Nsiala, Bartesaghi.

Official Rennes XI (4-4-2): Mandanda; G. Doue, Omari, Theate, Truffert; Bourigeaud, Matusiwa, Santamaria, D.Doué; Terrier, Kalimuendo.

Bench: Gallon, Lembet, Gouiri, Blas, Wooh, Belocian, Salah, Seidu, Cisse, Lambourde, Nagida, Bertuğ Yıldırım.


Tags AC Milan Milan Rennes


  1. Good to see Theo in his natural position. Once Thiaw has returned to full match fitness the CB crisis will largely have abated, unless there is a new injury of course. I wish Okafor could get a start sometime, maybe not in this game since it seems we’re going for the EL cup, so we’re putting out our best possible attacking lineup, but perhaps this weekend against Monza.

  2. Solid lineup.
    This game should suit Musah. Hopefully Reijnders will be a bit fresher tonight after his rest.

    I am still surprised Okafor can’t get a game, despite doing well with the limited chances he’s had.
    He could play anywhere across the attacking line

  3. I’d rather see Bennacer start and Musah coming on at around minute 70 to give tired Rennes hard time with his energy. But let’s see. Hoping for a good display and positive outcome🤞

    1. I’d say Pioli is minding Bennacer, he came off tired at the weekend. Also these French teams are usually very physical

      Let’s hope it’s the right call and we play well

  4. 1-0 at half time, Milan in control but missed a lot of good chances.
    It would be good to put the tie to bed tonight.

    With all the chances in the box it looks made for a Jovic special

  5. I’d like to see Musah drop a little more, or atleast come deep to retrieve the ball. Reijnders is getting isolated in midfield, to the point where we are hoofing it past our midfield completely.

    Gabbia again is having a good game

    1. It looks like we are not playing with a midfield, Reijnders in front of defense and Musah up with the attack.
      Rennes look very over awed by San Siro (like Newcastle) let’s take advatage

      1. Yep, haha you could see them looking around at the first goal celebration, we have got our self a good advantage for the second game, feels good not to be under pressure for once

  6. Good tactical choice today from Pioli to have Musah make up for Leao’s lack of defensive work rate. Leao almost defends as a left back today.

  7. Can someone care to explain what is Piolis obsession with Giroud that he lets him play every game for at least 80 minutes so he can show of how beautiful our kit is… Man is it just me or i just can’t ensure 80 minutes of his 1 touches and almost no real danger as a number 9 infeont of goal.. Otherwise respect to the team massive performance and I’m gonna say it again Gabbia is a player reborn, simply amazing.

    1. In this game specifically I think Jovic would have done well, there was space in behind, Almost like Giroud was in the way today, especially on the chance where he booted Ruben In the face rather than using his body to cover the incoming defender to make space for Ruben. He really wanted to get on the scoresheet

  8. I’d say Giroud’s best contribution is off the ball.
    Usually Pioli has him drop deeper for linkup, but today he was largely static around the Rennes box which opens more space at the wings.

  9. Today I gotta be blunt with what I saw and it is not gonna be palatable for some because of their biased sentiments for the player. This match should have culminated into over five goals in favour of AC Milan if not for the delusional selfishness acts of this particular player in the opposition final third and don’t get twisted I appreciate what he has been doing since the beginning of the season as without his contributions so far AC Milan might have struggled a bit then, but now his selfishness is becoming alarming, even when he’s not best positioned to score he would take shots anyways and such mindless and arrogant decisions are hurting AC Milan chances.

    Today is not the first time Pulisic will want to score at all cost in a match not minding his mates are better positioned to give AC Milan the lead or extend it. Sincerely speaking at this point I think Pulisic his doing too much and I don’t think there will be a day he would be rated ahead of R Leao as the best player of AC Milan as everyone knows that if Leao is on fire then AC Milan is on fire and becomes unstoppable.

    So Pulisic should take a chill pill and concentrate on how to become a better team player than trying to figure how to become the most influential and feared player on the pitch, I just wish Chukwueze will comeback motivated and give him a run for his money as I believe Pulisic is getting too comfortable and such would make him sit-up tight and help the team as required as against his egomaniac style of plays.


      1. I don’t have problems with having balls in making an attempt to score but football is a game of chances taken well,so if you have a well placed mates on goal to take the lead or extend it, I believe it’s more suitable to set them up rather than taking them solo because if you must go solo be sure to make the goalkeeper attempt to save it from goal or else it’s a wasted chance.

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