Official: Milan XI to face ES Sahel – Pioli continues with favourite selection

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan will take part in another friendly match at Milanello this afternoon as they face off against Tunisian champions ES Sahel.

With the opening game of the season against Bologna just nine days away, it will be another useful run-out for Milan and in particular for the new signings as they look to develop chemistry and reach top condition.

Mike Maignan has been given the start in goal with a back four of Pierre Kalulu, Malick Thiaw, Fikayo Tomori and Theo Hernandez chosen by Pioli, who would love a clean sheet given they have been hard to come by.

Rade Krunic will be at the base of the three-man midfield again, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek ahead of him as the right-sided mezz’ala and Tijjani Reijnders across from the Englishman.

Christian Pulisic gets the nod on the right wing again, as does Rafael Leao on the opposite flank and Olivier Giroud down the middle.

Official Milan XI (4-3-3): Maignan; Kalulu, Thiaw, Tomori, Theo Hernandez; Loftus-Cheek, Krunic, Reijnders; Pulisic, Giroud, Leao.

Subs: Sportiello, Mirante, Calabria, Adli, Okafor, Romero, Chukwueze, Kjaer, Florenzi, Colombo, Pobega, Musah, Bartesaghi.

Tags AC Milan Milan Étoile du Sahel


  1. When is he going to integrate chukwueze? Pulisic has been there for three weeks longer… Isn’t it games like these to get him into it? I hope this isn’t a case like thiaw that he gets his chance 6 months too late..

    1. Pulisic has played right wing many times before, at BVB and Chelsea. It is not a position that is unfamiliar to him.
      With the USMNT, early on, he played in a right midfield role, in a flat 4-4-3, and then as a CAM in a diamond 4-4-2. Most recently in this last World Cup cycle, he primarily played in the left wing spot with the USMNT.

      Pulisic generally drifts everywhere. The main difference when he is at the left wing spot vs. right wing spot is that he is right footed, so that when he is on the right wing, he tends to stay wide and cross or he will cut in to draw in defenders before passing. He doesn’t shoot very often from the right wing spot.

      When he is on the left wings, he tends to cut inside the majority of the time and he shoots more often than he crosses or passes.

    2. the formation isnt really a 433, its more obvious when looking at avg player position maps but RLC is playing a 10 in half spaces, Reijnders a progressive box to box, Krunic a DM. Thats how similar the formations are…its not about positions, its about roles. I think that Pulisic is there because of RLC low work rate, he wanted him for coverage. which he has done.

      I do think its weird not to include chukwueze and musah but everyone is talking formations, but really i think he sees roles and who fits with who in a given situation. Against this low block. RLC was the perfect person to find space in the box. I’d say he deserves a run at striker…

  2. You seem not to understand this man does not want to loose his job! The owners are Americans, his boss is an Italian by birth but American by nature, he does not want to loose his job therefore Pulisic and Musha I can assure you will always get a nod above others! That tells you he does not have any ball, he is a coward, he can’t stand up to his values but get pushed around ! Only an average coach does that, you can’t try that with Mourinho, he leaves your club, you dont try that with pep or klopp, you dont even try that with Ancelloti, even Gattusso will give you the middle finger if you cross your line- but tjis chicken Head! Oh gosh what a dumb coach

    1. You sound ridiculous. Is that why Pioli is starting Krunic and RLC while Musah is on the bench? Pulisic is starting because he is a good player. He scored their only goal last game. How did Chuku do against the Serie C side when Milan got shutout?

  3. He is Inter Agent worker
    How Come Musah and Chekueza be on the Bench and How Come Loftus and Krunic be Starting Line Upps.
    Look having the best Right winger in the world and not use it .
    Both Loftus and Krunic cam not Generate market income same with even Only Musah does.

  4. I hope they sack him this season i believe this team has untapped potential and that potential won’t come out with someone like pioli he’s always afraid to try new things unless his back is against the wall if not for juve we won’t be in champions league this season that was his saving grace sack him and employ someone like de zerbi or nagelsmann

  5. That’s why inter is better than us they have a better coach with more advanced strategies.Not that their players are better than our own

  6. Why is Pioli insiting with 4-3-3? Because of Krunic? Why not trying 4-2-3-1 with Ryan and Loftus on mildfield and Pulisic no 10 behind the striker, Leao and Chucw wings and Giroud or Okafor no 9?

  7. Why can’t he just try the 4231 for a game and also get the new guys integrated. It’s preseason for a reason. He is so stubborn

  8. If I have to watch another season of Milan’s midfield getting bossed with Krunic starting while Musah sits on the bench I’m going to lose it. There literally nothing Krunic can do on the pitch better than Musah.

  9. It’s funny here,
    if you stand up to Pioli: you are a demented worshipper; if you are against Pioli: you are a ungrateful brat.

    Truth is: It’s the beginning of the season guys, just cheer and be positive to our coach and our players, that’s how supporters can help create good atmosphere that players thrive in; Wait for the end of the season to do judgments. These are friendlies, don’t make judgments before the season begins, it makes no sense.

    All the best

    Il Nuovo Vecchio Milanisti

  10. This is what you get when you sign too many stars. Pioli is confuse, a confuse man with no vision. Doing the stupid things he fells is right. I piti him, he doesn’t know the world is seeing his bad work and his career is at stake. He should continue. Guys no need to talk much because no matter how much we talk, he will continue to do what fells like. I just pray he doesn’t destroy us by bringing us down.

  11. I have a feeling this man was trying to copy Napoli and spalletti dominance and the public praise they receive actually got to him and maybe the management! But if you are trying to imitate and emulate a certain coach , the question is would spalletti had played pulisic at right wing? Do lozan and kvaratskelia not have different character and skill set to pulisic?, If you are trying to play a European kind of game, would any of the gig teams in Europe had played pulisic at right wing, would they have played giroud as the classic center forward, would krunic had bench Musah? Many many question this man has to answer to convince me he is indeed sane!

  12. Loftus-Cheek has defied expectations. He scored today. Of course I can’t really see the match as it’s not televised lol but from what I’ve read playing well.

      1. Ya I’ve been watching. Camera angle is horrible. Tonali scored on his debut and almost scored a second a minute later as well… I need serie a to start already because I need to see what this team is actually capable of lol

          1. I’m watching both lmao… Newcastles first game of the season and tonali scored 6 minutes in and created the second goal.

            As for milan, the game is live on the milan app but the camera angle is horrible and against teams like this it ain’t a real test

          2. Nobody gives a flying F about Newcastle on here. No offense. I will rather watch Genoa at the same time because of Messias going there.

          3. If you say so, just watching the prem league openening round.. I mean it’s more interesting than milan playing against some Tunisian club

          4. I was talking about the Milan game. Not about what some player who wanted to leave to a new team because Maldini left. We are way pass him.

            Also Aston Villa has sucked for years.

          5. Every friendly game, even against smaller opponents in a friendly match, matters for fitness. We start the season later. Maybe that’s a mistake on the part of the FIGC, but nothing I can do about it.

  13. We desperately need a coach like De Zerbi… We finally have a decent squad but I think Pioli is way in over his head with this level…

  14. Almost 80 minutes and no subs… I thought these types of games is to get minutes in the teams legs. I bet you I can guess who’s starting next weeks game…

  15. No Chuky again. Huge mistake. And I defend Pioli constantly. Certainly a fan pleasing move. His only chance to start is a Pulisic injury, which isn’t unlikely.

  16. So we bought Chukwueze, a phenomenal RW to have him warm the bench. Then we bought Pulisic, a mediocre RW, a good ACM and a good LW to make him start as our RW. Then we bought Okafor, a good LW to have him warm the bench with Chukwueze. They are both nigerian so i guess Pioli wanted them to have someone to talk to on the bench.

  17. Being American didn’t help him with Chelsea’s American ownership. He’s a very good player and plays well with either foot. Too, he’s much stronger than he was last year. His game is all about confidence. When he’s feeling good, like playing for the US team, he can be great, for instance, giving up his body to score against Iran and then go directly to the hospital.

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