Official: Roma vs. AC Milan starting XIs – seven changes from Sassuolo draw

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli has named his starting line-up for tonight’s game against Roma, and it is no surprise to see there are several changes from the draw against Sassuolo.

A comeback is needed in the capital, but we start with the absentees. Milan will not have Simon Kjaer and Pierre Kalulu due to injury, while Tommaso Pobega is back training with the rest of the team but is not yet fit enough for the matchday squad.

Mike Maignan is back between the posts after missing the draw against Sassuolo due to fatigue. The back four in front of him is former by Davide Calabria and Theo Hernandez as the right and left-backs respectively, then Matteo Gabbia and Fikayo Tomori as the central defensive pairing.

The big change comes in midfield as Yunus Musah gets the nod over Tijjani Reijnders to partner Ismael Bennacer. Ruben Loftus-Cheek keeps his position as the attacking midfielder.

Christian Pulisic will start on the right, with Rafael Leao on the opposite flank and Olivier Giroud leading the line. The likes of Bennacer, Yacine Adli, Noah Okafor, Samuel Chukwueze and Luka Jovic can all come off the bench.

Four Rossoneri players are within a booking of a booking and could be disqualified either for the possible first leg semi-final or for the first European match next season: Maignan, Calabria, Musah and Leao. All four start.

Official Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Calabria, Gabbia, Tomori, Theo; Musah, Bennacer; Pulisic, Loftus-Cheek, Leao; Giroud.

Bench: Sportiello, Nava, Adli, Reijnders, Jovic, Okafor, Chukwueze, Thiaw, Terracciano, Florenzi, Zeroli, Bartesaghi.

Official Roma XI (4-3-3): Svilar; Celik, Mancini, Smalling, Spinazzola; Bove, Paredes, Pellegrini; El Shaarawy, Lukaku, Dybala.

Bench: Rui Patricio, Boer, Karsdorp, Abraham, Llorente, Azmoun, Renato Sanches, Aouar, Baldanzi, Zalewski, Joao Costa, Angelino.

Tags AC Milan Roma Milan


  1. Lol. Of all the double pivot combos discussed, nobody thought Reijnders would be sitting. At least he’s playing Gabbia over Thiaw.

    1. Because Reijnders has underperformed the entire season.

      Did poorly at AM initially. RLC took over AM and Reijnders was moved back to the double pivot. Guess what, he was poor there too.

      Our entire midfield is playing poorly right now.

      I’ll say it again for the kids in the back:

      Few years ago: Tonali, Kessie, Bennacer, Krunic

      Today: Bennacer, Reijnders, Adli, Musah

      Reijnders wouldn’t even be a starter and would likely be the 5th midfield choice back when we won Serie A.

      He can’t slot pass. He can’t shoot. He can’t defend. He doesn’t provide assists. He’s not a ball winner. He doesn’t unlock anything moving between the lines. All he provides is energy.

      He’s a pass merchant. He shuttles the ball back and forth and is taking up a valuable starting slot.

      Remember back when we played 433, he was on the left and was supposed to be the link between Theo and Leao, to allow them to have more space with Reijnders dropping back? Reijnders was QUICKLY moved out of that position. I wonder why.

      I don’t think he is Milan material, but if they insist on keeping him, at least use him off the bench as a 12th player kind of guy. He does run a lot even if he doesn’t do anything but at least that could stop tired opposition.

  2. The last couple of matches has me a bit worried and we certainly will have to show some actual grit tonight and hopefully not having a lot of calls going against us either.
    In the end this isnt an insurmountable task so hopefully we can grab a win.

  3. If this doesn’t work, Pioli deserves whats coming (I’m not someone who has been calling for his head).

    Baffling selections, Bennacer (who I love) has been way off his best.
    Musah, who I also have hopes for, has not been consistent.

    RLC has be down right anonnymus
    Giroud is doing nothing and missing chances Okafor or Jovic would gobble up.

    Surely play the players in form!!!

    They are Chucky, Okafor, Reijnders as well as the usuals of Leao, Theo, Pulisic etc.

    This is insane!

    1. Neither Okafor nor Jovic play well as a sole striker.

      But Chuk would have gotten a start if it were my call. With Puli at the 10 and RLC deeper in the mid.

      But we’ll see. I just hope they actually play like we know they can.

      1. I disagree, Okafor has been very good at striker (with ample room to improve).
        I believe he has the most goals off the bench of players in the top 5 leagues

  4. Giroud has been scoring 1 out 100 chances.
    I hope today he will score that 1 goal

    Guys should have prepared for penalty shoot out. We don’t have one single decent penalty taker.

  5. RLC offer the least in midfield and Musah likes to travel so he’s often caught out of position. Roma don’t have a lot to do, just repeat from first leg – overload the midfield and our SOS system will collapse on its own.

    *still hoping to shut me up and prove me wrong🤞*

  6. benching milan’s best midfielder?
    is pioli trying to lose on the first half so he can do his usual panic subs on 2nd half?

    1. I think Musah and Benny are more “defensive” than Reijnders. But you lose Dutchman’s verticality.

      Curious how this plays out.

      1. As much as I want to believe that Musah has a more defensive trait, but he’s simply not. A pure box to box midfield. A dynamic ball carrier. And surely not an anchor. Isma will be the one to do more cover in the defensive area.

        1. but it’s not like we’re trying to hold a lead come to olimpico though.
          we are trailing, so it’s only make sense if milan go for the attack because roma will sit down deep

    1. If true this will fall apart quickly. We often fail at games where Pioli is trying some slick new formation or in-game transition in and out of formations. It will lead to confusion and dysfunctionality and will end up in 5-0-5 in the end.

  7. Now who would have thought that Isma – Musah duo. Hopefully it’ll a be nice kind of surprise. And again I’d say we’ll only have a decent chance if somehow Roma plays more open. The match will all come down to which ever team gets the 1st goal in this kind of match.

  8. I wonder if all these geniuses that are here killing Pioli’s selections will come back on here after Milan win and admit they were wrong and give Pioli any credit?

    1. Freaking Boulden. Write from your own username. You look like a cancer… Can’t be cured

      Or are you getting ‘You are posting too frequently’ message?

  9. There we go mister tactical genius. Thank you and good night Rossoneri and to all the big admirers of Pioli I wish you sleep tight 🙂

  10. Seems like it’s already over. We need 3 goals without conceding again (because not even 2 would be enough since we don’t have good PK takers and Maignan hasn’t saved a PK in ages).

    OK, fire Pioli.

  11. Yeap just like i said in my previous comment.
    Prepare for pioli’s special panic subs on 2nd half.
    If or should i say when milan lose this game, i hope he’s fired immediately

    1. I second this.
      Matter fact based on Pioli’s track record vs. Inter having another coach might actually help us get a draw or even a win. With Pioli it’s a guaranteed loss

  12. Roma beating us 3-0 on aggregate. Come on. This isn’t city. Roma for fucks sake. What manner of fool is Pioli. Doesn’t listen. Rigid as a poll. I can see a couple of out of form players. Why are they on the pitch for God’s sake?

  13. Roma’s game is so easy. Punt it up to big strong Lukaku, who runs it down and muscles defenders off, then lay it off to one of the AMs. Brute force. Wash, rinse, repeat. And in general Roma’s squad is so much more physical than ours. Anyway, prepare for a hammering against Inter given the morale collapse this game is going to cause. If Pioli isn’t fired after this game, he will be after that one. No point in keeping a lame duck manager. If his replacement is already available, bring him in and let the players get used to him for the last few games. If not, let Bonera finish the season, or find a caretaker.

  14. so much for his players know what to do huh
    pioli really thinks he is some kind of special genius tactician when all this time he only relies on his players like leao and theo to do miracle

  15. 7 days to prepare for this game and the best you come with is play Calabria and the middle instead of a real midfielder and play a midfielder as a RB. Mad respect

    1. What do you mean harsh Red???

      That would literally torn his ACL.

      When we played against this rats last time in league game, this Turkish pros**itue (Chelik) was tackling literally everyone and didn’t even get a card. He thought it would be the same

      1. The ACL is in the knee bro, not the ankle. Celik’s studs touched the back of Leao’s shoe. But anyway, you’re frustrated by the result. Your misplaced aggression is understandable.

  16. now the referee has helped us with a red card
    maybe… just maybe milan can turn this around
    since apparently we can only win against 10 men

  17. I wonder if that stubborn goat on the sideline will make changes now we are 0-3 and they have 10 men.
    The Leao Pulisic Chucky would be perfect, with reijnders on too and eventually Okafor

    But watch how he waits until 60 or 70 mins

    He is digging his own grave

  18. We have height, we win aerials and then nobody is there to pick up the ball. Ridiculous. Why do you even bother with high balls. It doesn’t work

  19. To be honest, Loftus-Cheek was VERY unlucky not to have scored twice. First, the crossbar hit. Second, this header that Spinazzola saved almost on the goal line with his back. With a bit of luck and the OBVIOUS PK on Tomori having been called, this could have been a very different story.

  20. Is Pioli gonna make some changes???
    Never until 70th minute.

    This legendary coach doesn’t give up on his nonsense tactics and strategy no matter what

  21. I’m tired of talking about Pioli. I said it from when Atlanta destroyed us in 2019 that this man’s tactics is ridiculous. When we lose under him, we lose real bad. Smh

    We’re very ugly to watch. Always waiting for Leao’s heroics or a red card to save us. Smh.

  22. at least dybala is out now, less threat from roma.
    as much as i want pioli to be fired i still hope milan can turn this around into 2-4, i hope leao can do his magic on 2nd half

    1. The most dangerous is Lukaku I think. The way he holds the ball is very compatible with Roma’s approach to the game. Just like he always did at Inter. And he’s also gone. We’re 1 man up. There’s no other opportunity to turn this around.

      1. It’s so confusing even the player are confused…..

        What’s the game plan…. Stefano making DDR look like a good tactician, knowing he is just playing 2.0 version of Mourinho

  23. Instead of taking out that donkey Calabria that doesn’t know what he’s doing on the midfield he takes out the only midfielder who’s actually playing his position and actually can unlock a defence .. I just can’t understand this guy I try but I can’t

    1. Unbelievable. And why bring on Jovic, unbelievable . There are other better options, like Okafor or do that Leao-Puli-Chuk trident … Smh Pioli

    1. You aren’t a Milan fan. No proper Milan fan would confess to rooting for the team to lose. Shame on you.

      Pioli is likely to be fired anyway at the end of the season. Don’t root against Milan!

    1. Maybe there’s a minimal chance but at this point i would be highly surprised if we actually can manage to overcome this herculean task. Maybe we can hope for the roma players getting tired in the second half due to their red card and then capitalize on it but its difficult to stay positive after the first half.

    2. Yeah I said it in the last game that Sassuolo being up had nothing to do with the people playing but with the tactics being employed by the clueless genius we have as coach. You can put all Man City players in this team but with this tactics, they’re doomed.

  24. Why is musah playing so wide? These guys can’t even make a pass! Totally getting out smarter by de rossi, that’s laughable. This horrible roma team is killing us, what does that say about us?

  25. We really have to stop that cross-spam strategy as Roma has decent defenders to anticipate it. Moreover on the aerial duels. And I thought it was a penalty and another 7 lives of miracle by Pioli.

  26. Wasted sub I would say bringing on Jovic at that point , when there are, again, more obviously genius options. Waiting to see what the gaffer does at halftime.
    Pioli call for clarity all the time, yet he always lacks that more than anyone else

  27. Can’t even score against a 10 man effing roma side!!!. Don’t know what to say, we might as well play without a coach, and BTW don’t have hopes against inter either, we all know how that one will end.

    Pioli was exposed against atalanta, sassuolo and inter last season, he’s a mediocre coach at best but it’s not his fault, It’s the clowns who are in charge of the club. Conte should’ve been brought in last season but these hacks want to do it on the cheap..

  28. Interesting how nobody is talking about how Gabbia was literally bullied in that first goal. If it was Thiaw everyone will be going crazy rn. Thiaw actually does a good job at 1:1 with Lukaku and managed to neutralize him in that first game.

    1. Gabbia’s growth and room for improvement is bare for all to see. But strength is one aspect I’ve always said he needed to work on. In the off season, he’s going to need to do serious muscle and strength work

  29. I will say it again.. this guy tries to study Guardiola but first we don’t have the squad to play football as Man City or Prime Barcelona and second he’s too stupid to actually understand his tactics and his players capabilities.. I’m pretty sure clubs mind is already made long before this game that he’s a goner.

  30. What is the point of getting corners if you never score from them?

    Roma actually playing better than us with 10 men, depressing stuff to watch, milan players running around like headless chickens..

  31. Well, it seems like we can’t score even if they play with only goalkeeper.

    Please don’t post post match interview.
    I don’t want to hear philosophical speech from Pioli’s dirty mouth

    1. The first part is the most accurate thing I ‘ve heard or read all night. Or they could take the keeper off and nothing is going to change.

  32. If his head doesn’t roll tonight, it surely will on Monday night…. This is a team devoid of know-how and motivation – painful to watch

    1. OMFC!!!

      You switched the sides now? 😂 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂💀😂💀💀

      First you changed your username from Boulden to K and now sides????

      You are the definition of a man without balls lol

  33. OMFC!!!

    You switched the sides now? 😂 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂💀😂💀💀

    First you changed your username from Boulden to K and now sides????

    You are the definition of a man without balls lol

  34. Everything that is limited about Pioli is on display tonight unfortunately.

    75mns in and we still made 0 tactical adjustments other than throw more forwards on and pepper spray long balls into the box that Roma have no problem dealing with.

    Praise to Roma. Man down, defending like ballers. While our D allows defenders to shoot and get to rebounds… DDR deserves praise. Just got his coaching license a week ago and already pulling a big upset over Pioli.


    1. So what you’re saying is that he should have been fired last summer? Probably right. The fact that we technically finished 5th should have been a big sign. Oh well. Let’s hope the mistake isn’t repeated.

        1. Well, I think that’s going a bit too far in re-writing history. Who could we have hired in October 2019 that would have been better? We hadn’t qualified for the CL in 8 years at that point. Then he won a scudetto. I think last summer is a realistic point, and what I wanted too.

  35. Leao should have been replaced at half time – he is useless – lazy and completely not involved. Pioli is also at fault for not getting the team ready to play today – anyone thinks he should stay at Milan should not watch futbol anymore – guy is as clueless as it gets.

    1. Well then we might lose a match but i guess we overall can consider the outcome a win win situation if he stays away from the website

  36. I hope that the players and coach has so much decency that they at least are embarressed about their individual and collective performances.
    Seens like the curva is telling them a thing or two.

    1. Where’s your decency? If I was on your place tonight I would go to bed and wake up as Napoli fan next year when Pioli takes them over

        1. Well from what I’ve seen from you, you are more fan of Pioli then of Milan. That’s sad when people forget what Milan is and get used to mediocre. Because the guy you have been defending for months maybe longer is not greater than that

          1. So because im not part of the womens wailing choir constantly b1tching and m0aning im not an ac milan fan sure keep teling yourself that. Ive never said that Pioli is without any fault and i was actually pretty critical of them tonight so whats your point ? I’ve always been pretty clear that i wouldnt consider us back before we actually wins the cl and the club world cup. Maybe its time for you to change your name to mongo instead,

  37. Hats off to Roma. Well done. Showed the entire league and Europe how easy it is in actuality to neutralize this Milan.

    All this offensive prowess, yet over 2 games we only score one goal by a defender… Stefano picked a terrible time to display all his shortcomings at once.

    1. Inter has shown it over and over again. Just have to look those matches and they’ll know how to deal with this Milan.

      1. The worrying party is that while everyone else is learning gore to play against us, Pioli still can’t learn how to have a plan B or any sort of in game tactical changes. I’m not even talking about not being able to figure out how to beat. Inter in five games, soon to be six.

    1. There was just no plan. You could tell. Absolutely no ideas what to do upfront. Run down the lines pass into the box. Roma knew and cleared it every time.

      That doesn’t work? Sure, just throw more balls into the box.

      That doesn’t work either? Just throw more forwards into the mix and do the same thing.

      1. Yeh it was pure garbage. The tactics, the team selection, the subs… Being denied two penalties over both legs and Roma scoring an offside goal didn’t help but we were still awful and overall deserved to lose. Interesting to see who we choose as our next coach.

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