SM: Pioli leaning towards making three changes vs. Bologna – De Ketelaere poised

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli currently appears likely to make three changes to his starting line-up for Saturday’s game against Bologna.

According to our colleagues at, this morning’s training session at Milanello gave some clues about Pioli’s thoughts for the XI that will face the Rossoblu as he tried Charles De Ketelaere in the attacking midfielder role.

He should therefore be the starting playmaker against Bologna and thus the Belgian should take the place of Brahim Diaz, who started against Udinese and Atalanta. On the right flank, CDK’s compatriot Alexis Saelemaekers is back ahead of Junior Messias in the hierarchy.

There should be another chance in attack as Olivier Giroud currently seems destined to be the starting striker for the visit of Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side. The Frenchman lined up among the other ‘starters’ at Milanello and should be favoured over the two other options Divock Origi and Ante Rebic.

Tags AC Milan Milan Bologna


  1. Saelemaekers??!! Are we serious here? The team needs more offense and they are putting in the guy that basically averages 1 goal per season over the last 3 years. Say what you want about Messias but he’s a much better offensive player than Saelemaekers.

    1. I don’t fully agree. It’s true that Saelemaekers doesn’t have good attacking numbers so far. However he delivered a perfect cross against Atalanta that should have resulted in a goal wbile Messias missed a clear opportunity alone in front of goal. Of course these are only two examples, but my point is that Alexis can offer a lot in attack as well and Messias is not that more productive as his numbers might suggest. I think Messias is better coming of the bench, while Saelemaekers puts a lot of pressure on opponents high on the pitch so it’s better to start him and let him give all his energy to fatigue the opponents. Saelemaekers is often done after 60 minutes but when he’s playing he doens’t start as lacklustre as Messias does. Messias doesn’t put a lot of pressure on opponents and is often late. He’s also terrible at defending, which cost us the opening goal against Udinese. I prefer Saelemaekers to start. Once his numbers for goals and assists go up, people will accept him. He has that potential.

      1. So far? It’s been multiple years, and he’s played more minutes than almost anyone during that time. He just doesn’t have an offensive skill set in his game. Messias scored 3 times as many goals as Saelemaekers in probably 1/3 of the minutes. It’s the opposite of what you say, Saelemaekers is much more suited to come off the bench when Milan is trying to protect a lead. His workrate and defensive ability can be of more use then, but he offers nothing offensively and it will just allow other teams to focus even more on stopping Milan’s left side. Not a good decision.

        1. His heatmaps show he covers a lot of offensive ground. He just isn’t accurate enough. I think he lacks confidence in finishing. To me he’s a lot more present when playing than Messias, who we barely see. I don’t think opponents can just ignore Saelemaekers on offense. Saelemaekers is a typical controversial player, but having played that many minutes for the team that won the championship, it can’t be that bad. Otherwise opponents would have exploited that a lot more

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