Sky: How Milan should line up for the second leg against Roma

By Oliver Fisher -

Some more indications have arrived from Milanello today regarding the team that AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli will field against Roma on Thursday night.

Milan know that they must win the second leg at the Stadio Olimpico after they were beaten 1-0 at San Siro by Gianluca Mancini’s header last week, and Peppe Di Stefano spoke on Sky (via MilanNews) to give the latest team news.

He confirms that Fikayo Tomori will certainly be back in the team from the first minute alongside Matteo Gabbia, with Mike Maignan returning between the posts after missing Saturday’s draw against Sassuolo due to fatigue.

Everyone in the squad is fine and healthy apart from Simon Kjaer who will miss the next couple of games, but Tommaso Pobega is back training with the rest of the group together with Malick Thiaw.

It is expected that Pioli will go with Ismael Bennacer and Tijjani Reijnders as the midfield double pivot, and then in attack Rafael Leao should be on the left and Christian Pulisic on the right.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is tipped to be the attacking midfielder and Olivier Giroud should lead the line. Despite the speed, quality and positive form of Samuel Chukwueze he will start on the bench, but is almost certain to come on during the game.

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

Tags AC Milan Roma Milan


  1. PIOLI!!🤬Chuku is on fire you must start him.Wont be suprised if he warms the bench.RLC have been awful the last weeks so he should move puli to the Middle.Would even say start chuku even if rlc start to.You bought chukwueze as a starter and he didnt live up to that.But now he is back he is thar villareal chuku again.And on thursday roma will probably be more defensive and then we need good dribblers to open them up.And chuku,leao are better dribblers than rlc and puli

    1. Settle down. There is nothing wrong with having Chuku come off the bench to provide offense later in the game. RLC has come up huge especially in Europe and provides the only real size and physicality we have in the midfield. This has been our best line-up this season. But i have no problem bringing on Chuku early if the offense is struggling, or bringing in Jovic or Okafor for Giroud if he doesn’t show anything in this game.

      1. What is with this nonsense of “size and physicality”. Where is the “physicality” in Liverpool, Man City, Barcelona etc. Either are you good or not. Physicality is an broad aspect and doesn’t affect the quality directly. The mere presence of so called physicality doesn’t mean a jack except in some potential way. And RCL is not playing even playing a DM. Football is not MMA.

  2. Pioli always fields the same line up. Why cant you give a chance to Okafor or Chukuwueze. Oli mostly fails in big Matches miss big opurtunities.

    1. Why risk it in such an important match? Our problem this season is that every second game this Milan has been playing with a different line up. How does a team build chemistry when we keep changing? If the score in the second half is still the same than Chuku and Okafor can come in otherwise too much of a risk. Also Leao and Theo had a bad game in the first leg if that doesn’t happen again we should be able to win in the return leg.

  3. You know benny is my favourite player but he needs to be benched atm.. until after inter game. Adli should start

  4. Useless and wrong formation and selection
    Make Puslic no 10, Chekueza, RW, Leo LW,nad Okafur No 9.
    Drop Bennacer, RLC and Giriud into into the.Bench
    Otherwise Roma will beat milan with more gioals.

  5. He is going with Bennacer again!?
    When was the last time Bennacer had a good game? Last season.
    Adli should play next to Reijnders

  6. I like the idea of Leao – Pulisic – Chucky behind the striker.
    However if Pioli is concerned about doing that there is an alternative.

    The 2 players who are contributing almost nothing are RLC and Giroud, so why not drop them both and put Okafor as striker and add another midfielder.

    For example Adli flanked by Bennacer/Musah and Reijnders

    That way instead of having 2 big men not doing anything, we add a dynamic striker and an extra midfielder.
    Let DDR put that in his pipe and smoke it

        1. You are talking player ratings??? That’s not stats dude. That’s one guy’s opinion.
          Actually, goals is probably the most important stat, because that’s how you win games.
          Or you could look up Milan’s record when RLC starts vs when he doesn’t. That might clear things up for you.

  7. At some point, just for kicks, I’d like to see an attack of Okafor supported by Leao-Pulisic-Chukwueze, but I’m not sure if we want too much variation in this match. Generally speaking though, it’s strange that Pioli hasn’t given Okafor more of a chance at striker, or maybe it’s not so strange, since it’s Pioli. Any excuse about using Okafor at striker and losing depth at LW is belied by the fact that Puli is a natural LW. Hopefully we’ll see some experimentation in the last few league games as the season winds down and we lock up CL/2nd place. It would be the perfect time to try new combinations up front and also give younger players like Simic, Bartesaghi and Terracciano a run out. And if we’re still in the EL there will be even more reason to do so.

    1. Milan is 6 points ahead of Juventus with the next 2 games being vs Inter and vs Juventus.
      2nd place might not be secured until the last game. UCL spot has already been secured.

      1. Hmm. You may have a point. Although some people don’t seem to care about the derby, so why care about 2nd. “CL is CL”. While I’m not in that camp, they might not be wrong. So I guess it’s wait and see.

        1. There is the CL seeding to think about. This year we were in pot 3 which was always going to give us 2 good teams, I presume if we finish 2nd we will be in pot 2. I’m not exactly sure how it works

          1. UEFA club coefficient. We literally have to keep qualifying and going as deep as we can and over time this will get better. If we win the EL, we will jump to CL pot 1 as EL winners. But that’s a huge IF right now.

          2. @ Vero
            Yeah that would be 1 nice way to do it!
            Though I think league position also helps.

            I’d love to beat Inter and Juve for bragging rights!
            After that the guys can coast, use the youth players

  8. Maignan, Calabria, Theo, Tomori, Gabbia, Adli and Reinder as pivot midfielder, pulisic as attacking midfielder, Chukwueze on the right, Leao on the left and Okafor in the centre. We need players that are inform, players that are ready to run with good vision. If we get 2goals which am sure of then we can balance it by bringing in Bennacer and loftus to seal up the game. We need early goal to stay and play our game

  9. Chuk in for RLC, he’s in form right now.

    RLC, Okafor & Jovic can come in off the bench.

    PS. Gabbia & Tomori for CB. Thiaw is way out of form and isn’t playing well.

    Replace Kjaer in the squad with Simic for the rest of the season. I would like to see him getting more Serie A minutes.

  10. It pains me to see chuku not getting started as a RW or CAM for the Roma match as he is doing so good for his previous matches and if we give him a chance against Roma,I think he could do so well and maybe even score.

  11. I am a Chuk fan and really wished he’d start. I don’t see Pioli dropping RLC regardless of how he’s played the last few since he has scored like (9?) goals in the last 3 months and offers a much needed physical presence there. He was also quite good against Roma at the Olimpico.

  12. Let’s go with an all out attacking formation since we don’t defend anyway. A 2-5-3 formation would be perfect… Mike: Tomori-Gabbia; Puli, Adli, RLC, Deers, Okafor; Chuk, Giroud, Leao
    🤭😂😂😆Let’s do it!!!

    1. This formation reminds me of Man City Vs Manchester United last match. Guadiola used 2-3-4-1 formation in that match. The entire players of Man U were are defending throughout the match.

      1. Guardiola was inspired by the old 3-2-2-3 and kind of used it as a 3-2-4-1. The intersting thing is that one of the double pivot is actually a defender (Stones) and the 3 defenders behind were all centerbacks, so it’s actually kind of a 4-1-4-1.
        Guardiola said he used this because Man City has actually no problems scoring, but used to conceide too many goals, hence the need of more solidity behind.

  13. Unpopular opinion: why not play RLC deeper? Provide muscle and physicality in midfield?

    Reijnders RLC as mids and Leao/Puli/Chuk in front of them.

    1. He doesn’t move very well. it’s a fitness issue…he also doesn’t like playing in a pivot. Bennacer was likely forced back in because of all the mistakes Adli made over the weekend. Roma aren’t going to mess up a 4 on 2…I would rather see Musah though, he and Reijnders bring a lot of juice…

      1. Musah is still unreliable. He has a lot of pace, strength and stamina, but he is positionally lacking and tends to hold the ball much more than he needs to. Defensively he is simply not that good.
        He can be used later on to overload a perhaps tired Roma, but I don’t see him starting right away.

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