Official: Empoli vs. AC Milan starting XIs – Pioli goes bold with Kessie as playmaker

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli has named an interesting starting XI for tonight’s game against Napoli which will close out 2021.

The Rossoneri will start with Mike Maignan in goal protected by a back four of Alessandro Florenzi, Fikayo Tomori, Alessio Romagnoli and Theo Hernandez from right to left. Sandro Tonali is in the double pivot with Ismael Bennacer, while the choices in attack are interesting.

Junior Messias will be on the right wing, Alexis Saelemaekers is on the left wing and Franck Kessie completes the trident as the playmaker behind Olivier Giroud, who will be the centre-forward given the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic due to a knee overload.

Official Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Florenzi, Tomori, Romagnoli, Theo Hernandez; Bennacer, Tonali; Messias, Kessie, Saelemaekers; Giroud.

Bench: Mirante, Tătărușanu; Ballo-Touré, Gabbia, Kalulu; Bakayoko, Castillejo, Díaz, Krunić; Maldini.

Official Empoli XI (4-3-1-2): Vicar; Stojanović, Romagnoli, Luperto, Parisi; Henderson, Ricci, Żurkowski; Bajrami; Cutrone, Pinamonti.

Bench: Furlan, Ujkani; Marchizza, Tonelli, Viti; Asllani, Bandinelli, Štulać; Di Francesco, La Mantia, Mancuso.

Tags AC Milan Empoli Milan


  1. A sign of some desperation especially if we retain the usual formation. Hope it works.
    Yet, doesn’t look right also in the grand scheme of things.

  2. I see always in pioli looking for solutions. We blame him alot. He is trying give him time. No coach can succeed with injured players. Have patience.

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