Ismael Bennacer will return to the starting line-up tonight as AC Milan take on Napoli, but he will not play the more advanced role he did against the same opponents towards the end of last season.
As Tuttosport (via MilanNews) reports this morning , Bennacer will return to the starting line-up this evening and will be deployed together with Yacine Adli in a midfield double pivot. Two Franco-Algerians, therefore, tasked with protecting the defence.
The former Empoli player will most likely act on the centre-right and will have a very important task: to stop Kvicha Kvaratshkelia getting hold of the ball and creating danger, given he will be playing a more central role.
Stefano Pioli has always ‘built a cage’ to try stop the Georgian, even dating back to the meetings in the last couple of seasons. Tonight will be no difference, with Davide Calabria and a midfielder helping to double mark him.
The choice fell on Bennacer and not on Adli because the Algeria international has a different pace compared to the former Bordeaux man and is much more intense.
Pioli explained the decision in his pre-match press conference: “In many matches the most important area is the midfield, even if, above all, tomorrow both teams have quality players in one-on-one situations. We must try to be compact in in the middle of the field.”
So that is Isma’s task this evening, while he will also have to provide quality and intensity in the attacking phase. In short, a super Bennacer will be needed in the middle of the pitch.