Sky: A dilemma in defence – the numbers of Kjaer-Gabbia and Thiaw-Gabbia compared

By Oliver Fisher -

One of the selection dilemmas that Stefano Pioli must resolve in view of tonight’s game against Roma is which centre-back pairing he will go with.

According to various reports, it is currently Malick Thiaw who is ahead of Simon Kjaer in the battle to start alongside Matteo Gabbia, with Fikayo Tomori suspended and Pierre Kalulu out injured.

Thiaw missed the last game against Lecce due to a foot problem but returned to group training on Tuesday, while Kjaer has recovered from a problem he sustained over the international break with Denmark.

Who should start alongside Gabbia? Well, the numbers from Sky (seen below) show that Gabbia-Thiaw have only played together eight times as a pairing and have started together only twice. Five victories, one draw and two defeats have come in that time, at an average of two points per game.

On the other hand, Gabbia-Kjaer is a pairing that has been seen 28 times and 23 times from the start, with a remarkable 21 victories in that period, plus four draws and three defeats to leave 2.39 points per game average.

Of course, it can be argued that the Italian and the Dane having had a much bigger sample size has allowed them to build chemistry, yet Pioli seems inclined towards giving the German a chance.


Tags AC Milan Malick Thiaw Matteo Gabbia Simon Kjaer


  1. Kjaer has the experience. Thiaw has the speed in transition. Thiaw and Gabbia haven’t played much together though… Tough call. Maybe start with Zee DJerman and bring Kjaer in the second half if you have to.

    1. i was about to ask you what you meant by Zee DJerman but after a few extra looks i got it 😀
      I would start kjær instead but maybe its the best to start thiaw due to his physique and speed but he kinda makes me nervous after some of his mishaps.

  2. Same here, the flukes of Thiaw remind me of the flukes of Donnaruma, one moment you’d think he’s awesome, the next that he’s crap…. imo Thiaw is Zapata 2.0

    If it was just Lukaku I’d feel better, but Dybala is a very tricky player that tests your mental concentration for the entire game

    1. Gabbia would stay on dybala and thiaw can stay on lukaku, lukaku breaks away easily & kjaer may not be able to catch him, but on another hand, dybala is very good at defender-splitting passes, which only kjaer is intelligent enough to abort. Clearly dicey but our problem should be pellegrini, his form his something else off late plus he shoots from outside the box, Maignian should pay serious attention to staying on his guard and on his lines, to avoid being lobbed

    2. I do think that thiaw has a far higher ceiling in talent
      than zapata but for now he still has a long way in front of him and simply makes some inexcusable errors from time to time.

Comments are closed

Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.