Piątek could start over Leão against SPAL, Bennacer-Biglia, Duarte-Calabria and Jack-Paquetá are other doubts

Ismaël Bennacer, Krzysztof Piątek and Mattia Caldara during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

Stefano Pioli could make some changes against SPAL this coming Thursday, with Léo Duarte possibly starting as a RB.

Milan are still winless under Pioli as after the 2-2 draw with Lecce on his debut, the Rossoneri lost 2-1 to Roma on Sunday.

The Diavolo are getting ready for the match on Thursday at San Siro against SPAL (21:00 CET kickoff) and as reported by Milannews.it, Pioli has asked the players in training for more intensity and attention to detail during the game.

Antonio Vitiello of MN claims that the possibilities of Krzysztof Piątek starting on Thursday are increasing, with Rafael Leão probably benched. Meanwhile Jack Bonaventura could also start and he’s competing for a starting spot with Lucas Paquetá who continues to disappoint also under Pioli.

Another novelty could be in the right back role: Andrea Conti and Davide Calabria have both been incredibly poor this season so far, playing a direct role in many of the goals conceded by the Diavolo in this campaign. As a result, Léo Duarte, who joined in the summer from Flamengo, could start in that role. Duarte is mainly a center-back but can play on the right-hand side of the defense as well.

Léo Duarte, Rade Krunić and Ante Rebić during training at Milanello. (@acmilan.com)

It also remains to be seen who will be chosen between Lucas Biglia and Ismaël Bennacer for the role of the regista. Biglia has been the main choice of both Marco Giampaolo and Pioli, but his struggles are apparent and so the summer-signing from Empoli may be given the keys in midfield.

Ricardo Rodríguez meanwhile trained separately also today and is unlikely to be fit for the SPAL game. The last training session before the game will take place tomorrow at 16:30 CEST.

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Baresis Dream

It’s clear Pioli is struggling to find the optimal lineup with all our confused transfer strategy in the last couple of years. And Suso’s weak form is helping no one. From what I’ve seen, I think we should – keep playing with 3 behind Piatek (Leao), and try Paquetta or even Bennacer instead of Suso (moving Hakan to the middle and Jack/Rebic to ALM) until the latter finds his form. – keep Biglia and Kessie in the back, and maybe try Krunic there as a sub. – try Borini as RB. Say what you want, he’s very disciplined and can… Read more »


So many wrongs thing in this comment but the most obvious is the fact that he should struggle with his selection. He has been here two weeks and half of it was international games.

+ BORINI? REALLY? One of the few sane commenters here is going insane I guess!

Baresis Dream

Well, if he has been here for such a short time shouldn’t he struggle? Can’t really understand your logic there mate. Anyways, what I meant is that he should struggle because the team was built without a plan (or with a plan that includes Suso as number 10). There is no obvious formation that fits us best. And Borini? My friend you are the crazy one (and blind) if you see any advantage of Conti over Borini. Perhaps Conti can run slightly faster, perhaps. Borini can defend better, has better positioning, can cross and support the attack better, and so… Read more »


I agree that the right back should be either Borini or Duarte. Borini wasn’t that good, but he wasn’t bad at all at that position. Duarte as a more defensive-minded RB can actually be a good idea, given lack of midfield protection on that side since Kessie is moved to the left. Remember long ago we had Gattuso-Cafu on the right and Seedorf-Kaladze on the left. With Duarte as RB and an attack-minded midfielder like Paqueta or Jack in front of him, it would be like a mirrored version of that old glorious setup. Maybe (let’s hope so) they can… Read more »


This is what happens when you have a mediocre coach. Pioli Is having the same problem as Giampaolo with find the right formation for the players we have. What a laughing stock Milan has become. As a fan it is simply to see that Milan need to switch to a back 3. Play 343 formation. Use Bonaventura and Rebic to flank Piatek. With this formation Milan will have more balance on the flank and 3 capable defenders at the back. Rebic over Suso and Bonaventura ahead of Leao and Çalhanoğlu. Paquetá can compete with Kessie for a spot. ————————-Donnarumma———————— —————-Duarte—-Musacchio———Romagnoli—-… Read more »


Agree, but Bonaventura will add nothing on the right as since his Atalanta’s days he has been a left mid, he can’t cross pal. Rebjc has disappointed me a lot, not suited for that role, I think Leao is the best option we have since El92 left, just look how he plays he likes to receive the ball on the wing and carry it forwards. Calabria or conti adds speed, but they are on such a poor form that I would rather see Borini or Leao there. Duarte was OK when In saw him but Gabbia deserves a chance over… Read more »


Jack as LW is too slow, slower than Suso also, maybe Rebic there or Leao, but also Rebic didn’t prove anything when he played, but he need a chance, but as RW is a gamble ! Calabria right now is pathetic, he must clean the bench ! Also Biglia and Suso. Pioli is not so mediocre, he had a lot of bad luck and some pathetic losers on the pitch !

A.C. Milan 1899

Yeah, at this point it’s clear that our squad lacks quality. The strategy to bring young and cheap players with low waves (who will possibly be sold for profit) doesn’t help the coach. I think that nowadays only Dona, Roma and Theo can play together in a really competitive team. Maybe Bona, if he can regain his old form. The rest are bench players, no more than that.


Romagnoli is not all that good ooooo


Leao who shined few matches ago has now been relegated to bench again. No players seem to be good now. Players who are good with there previous clubs. we are gradually destroying the values and esteem of these players. Good Players are getting fed up because we are not improving. We keep on spending so much and yet no result and I think everything still boils down to wrong transfer strategy all these years. Milan is a big club who has no patience to wait for years before they come back to winnings ways especially when their arch rivals are… Read more »


Milan management is NOT spending wisely. Instead of buying PROVEN young players who are playing at the highest level for club and country they are buying unproven talent like Leao who can’t even make Portugal national team. That makes absolutely no sense and you cannot rebuild the club with that ludicrous transfer strategy. If we are not signing players like De Ligt, Frankie de Jong, Chiesa, Zaniolo, Under, Vinicius Jr, Everton Soares, Moise Kean,Barella, Dele Alli, Sensi and Keita Balde then we are bound to fail. Leao is nowhere near the calibre of these players. We need a mixture of… Read more »


Jerome Boateng ? Lol ! Be serious !


I am. He’s a WC winner and UCL winner who played a key leadership role for Germany and Bayern Munich.


Leao is better than suso for the few matches he has played


i believe this season we have good transfer but the problem our coach never believe them… they still use clown squad who never gave good contribution for milan… krunic, bennacer are good players… what a joke for milan…
second, all of people get exciting with suso performance… hey its preseason… management should sell him when there is offer… and now we stuck with him….
and the last, we cant be arsenal model because now the market has totally different… in the past you can buy prospect players with cheap price but now even mediocer young players have expensive price…

A.C. Milan 1899

Yeah, well said.


Leao is not that good, he is still playing school boy football always looking at the camera. He is not a serious player that deserves milan shirt but we can manage him now, Pls stop praising him.


and the pressure begin from Elliot… what i read elliot comp will intervene january because some bad result… they already invest young players but the result very bad… and i know how can young players will shine meanwhile the coach still believe with clown squad…. and maybe maldini and boban will get fired if we still in this condition…


In this situations we should be using 5 defenders, as we don’t have a solid RB and a regista. Biglia should not play anymore and we need fast wingers. 3421: Suso and Calhanoglu don’t go wide but hold the ball so Theo and Leao can overlap, this adds unpredictability as they can also cut inside and take a long shot something they’re great at. Theo and Leao are fast enough to join the back three and we could defend in a 541. Solid AF. ——–Calhanoglu——Piatek——Suso———– Hernandez—–Paqueta——-Bennacer—–Leao —–Romagnoli——Mussacio——Duarte?– 352: I really don’t like this idea but it surely would be interesting… Read more »


I missed something, as we don’t have a technical player who can distribute the ball in the midfield we should rely on Mussacio or Romagnoli to give Piatek what he desperately wants long balls (lol) add that to a high pressure from.our mezzalas and we can recover the ball quickly if any of our front three fails to get it.

We need to stop playing from the back, quality isn’t there, Biglia cannot do it.

A.C. Milan 1899

It’s better to play with Lego than to try to build a squad with these players.


Still wasting time drawing numerous different formations and player sets when formation really ain’t a problem.

This team is weak minded, mentally fragile, inconsistent, young and spoiled. Seems like they got used to being a midtable team and is enough for them.

It’s about the mind set and theirs is completely off


Exactly Ted, formation is the smallest of our problems but people think something drastic always need changing whenever we fail to win,, like instantly buying 3 new players and selling 5 ,or going back to formations that were also once claimed to be bad. Believe me after a winless couple of games with a back 3 people will be asking for a 442 or even quickly back to 433, and then a few difficulties again then ask for a back 3 again!. Formations are important but it’s just for the easiest and most effective way for a coach’s ideas to… Read more »


I also think the team has been badly constructed in the past or better yet there was no proper plan behind reconstruction that should started in 2005 already. From “all italian” idea buying average homegrown players like Montolivo, Bertolacci, Acerbi, Cerci, Destro mixing them with co-owned, bosman and loanees like Traore, Constant, Yepes, Zaccardo, Silvestre, Emanuelson, Mesbah etc. All these are key factors that shaped the Milan of today – an average midtable team on level of Udinese or Lazio at their best


On another note, our best players are still from Berlusconi time, like Romagnoli, Donna and Bonaventura or even Suso. So thats tells you alot for the new owners Eliot and the Chinese who spend like 400mil and still didnt get anything better from what Galiani was getting for much much less.

Baresis Dream

These are the players we currently have, regardless of all the terrible managerial decisions made. There’s nothing magical about formations, it’s all about having your best players play in their preferred positions (as much as possible), while maintaining a balance between defense and offense.

Leaat of our problems, biggest of our problems, it doesn’t matter – until January, and probably also next summer, getting the best out of our current squad is the only thing we can do.


Thats true these are the players we have, but the problem is most of them are best in the same position, most of them are on the same bit above average quality so you cant say this will be a regular starter and this one on the bench, so a bunch of them will be out of position in any formation, the coach will have a hard time making a constant starting 11, since some of them will perform good this week and then play like crap next week (something typical for a bit above average players), this constant changing… Read more »


Just hope suso sits. I hope he stays on the bench and they win by 3 just to show how problematic he’s been. When he’s on we have to adjust our tactics for him which is to always give him the ball and wait for a cross. So hopefully when he’s off they’ll play more direct. I doubt he’ll sit though. At least pioli sees that our right backs have been awful and is willing to try someone different there. As well as biglia, the sad news is that 10 games in and were still trying to figure out which… Read more »


To be honest, I would give this team back to Gattuso at this point. Him only has been able to make do with these group of shitty players and brought the best out of them. Built their mentality, brought grinta even made them a bit more competitive by over achieving last season. We should have built on that, with few decent additions. Think about it, he almost qualified for CL using Suso, Calhanoglu, Borini and Castillejo as attack. Imagine what he would do with Rebic, Leao now


We might as well have kept giampaolo. Every fan here agrees what players shouldn’t be there but pioli to slow to catch on and now we’ve Dropped another 5 points In his 2 games in charge, And put in 1 of our worst performances of the season In just his second game in charge, I had no confidence in giampaolo and even less in this mid table clown pioli, why can’t we play bennacer in The same role he plays for his country . Piatek Should have started after scoring v lecce & he has A good record v Roma,… Read more »