Just like last year’s away game against Empoli, Stefano Pioli will not be able to call upon left-back Theo Hernandez for the trip to Tuscany.
Calciomercato.com writes about the certain absence of Theo Hernandez against Empoli, as the left-back picked up a strain in his adductor that means he will not be risked and will instead aim for the games against Chelsea and Juventus.
Playing without Theo is a rare even but it has already happened in this exact fixture, as the game at the Stadio Carlo Castellani back on March 12 was the last match missed by the former Real Madrid man.
This gives Pioli a selection headache and while the most obvious move would be to field Fodé Ballo-Touré from the first minute, there are concerns about the idea given he has so far collected less than 600 minutes overall and was close to leaving in the summer as OGC Nice, Nottingham Forest and above all Galatasaray came forward. He played his last game as a starter in December 2021 against Napoli, almost a year ago.
Sergiño Dest also played on the left side in Barcelona and could be shifted over to play the role but he did not exactly shine in the match against Napoli, conceding a penalty shortly after coming off the bench.
A three-man defence is a hypothesis that has been mentioned, while there is also the idea of Davide Calabria or Pierre Kalulu playing over on that side, with the insertion of one of Kjaer, Gabbia or Thiaw in the centre of the defence. Pioli has time over the break to think.