Gabbia and Kalulu to start against Venezia, Florenzi in attack instead of Saelemaekers, Kessié on the bench

Matteo Gabbia before Sampdoria-Milan at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on August 23, 2021. (Marco Canoniero)

Stefano Pioli is planning some squad rotation against Venezia tomorrow, with Gabbia and Romagnoli in defense.

After three consecutive matches against Lazio, Liverpool and Juventus, tomorrow Milan take on Venezia at Stadio San Siro.

The injury list of the Rossoneri is still very long and there will be many absences (Olivier Giroud did not train today and will not return in time for the game), but coach Pioli is still going to do some rotation in positions where he’s able to do so.

Davide Calabria is still injured so Pierre Kalulu, after a good performance against Juventus, will take the spot as right-back. Fikayo Tomori is set to be rested after a string of great matches and he’ll be replaced by Matteo Gabbia who’ll be making his seasonal debut against the newly-promotes side. He’ll be joined by Alessio Romagnoli and Theo Hernández, with Simon Kjær out and unavailable.

In midfield, Franck Kessié will start on the bench, with Sandro Tonali and Ismaël Bennacer playing together from the first minute. In attack, Alexis Saelemaekers will get some rest and Alessandro Florenzi will be in his place. Options are currently extremely limited for the other roles in attack, so Brahim Díaz and Rafael Leão will be alongside Florenzi; all three will play behind Ante Rebić.

Probable XI (MN): Mike Maignan; Pierre Kalulu, Matteo Gabbia, Alessio Romagnoli, Theo Hernández; Sandro Tonali, Ismaël Bennacer; Alessandro Florenzi, Brahim Díaz, Rafael Leão; Ante Rebić.

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Don’t underestimate Venezia, these are sort of matches we need to take points from.


Ballo-Toure should also start. Theo should start from the bench. The problem with Pioli is that if he starts Theo and Milan doesn’t score, he’ll be reluctant to remove Theo, because he’ll expect that Theo would provide some magic. I even think Pellegri should start and Messias should be called up – especially since it has been reported that he’s in the final week of his personal training. If Pellegri starts, either Rebic or Leão starts on the bench. By halftime, if the team is struggling, then bring in who’s on the bench and switch positions if necessary. Messias can… Read more »


Why have you not gotten ur coaching badge by now? You think u know better than the coach who sees dis guys on a daily basis in training.


I really like your reply, they will be the first ones to start ranting if we loose or draw the game, infact may be Nino suld call Pioli to play the primavera instead


Are you saying Milan’s bench players are only good for Primavera? Anyway, Ballo-Toure is starting as I pointed out.


Wait till injuries pile up before you realise you need to trust your bench and rotate players. The thing with opponents like Venezia is you expect your bench should be able to beat them, or at least hold them for a while so you can inject some first team players to make a difference. Thankfully, Kjaer suffered only a minor knock against Juve. Have you ask yourself why the coach chose to play Fik, perhaps the best CB in Serie A at RB in Turin, when Kalulu and Florenzi were available? Where’s is the trust from the coach when it… Read more »


Hi. Did you watch the game yesterday?

By the way, we don’t know better than the coach. We only make suggestions based on observing present realities.

Baresis Dream

“The problem with Pioli is that if he starts Theo …” – this whole part makes no sense mate.

Also there’s no such thing as someone who can play 10 minutes; if he’s not fit for at least 45 min he shouldn’t be on the bench


Does Theo need rest or not? He’s played all the games so far, and he even got his first call up to the French national team and did play. Now, there’s a deputy named Ballo-Toure. There’s nothing wrong in starting him.

Milan should have enough quality to beat Venezia in 45mins. Yes, it doesn’t always work that way. But, would you prefer to sacrifice the first team players and risk injuries, then be without a strong squad against Atlético Madrid? Rotate the squad.

Calm down

Who told Pioli that Florenzi is a winger? The best Italian rightback and you keep playing him out of position and making it look normal. Besides Florenzi is not doing any better than Salad or Samu on the wing. Play the guy as rightback and stop this confusion, Pioli

Calm down

This is how coaches kill players consistency and confidence claiming they are unfit or not quite ready for certain positions yet nonsense. We’re short in numbers with everyone injured yet youre isolating Samu Pellegri etc just to play a fantastic fullbacks on the wing and limiting his qualities.

I like Pioli but getting annoyed with him playing players away from were they actually give their best like also having our best centerback as rightback the other night


We have so many players for RB it’s crazy.
Dont understand why we got Florenzi, hes not a winger!

And also Florenzi!

So he plays Tomori at RB


okay Coach. Good decision to me. Let’s hope the best of the match. Get 3 points and players developed. Don’t forget that Theo, Leao, Diaz dan Rebic need some rest too. We still have Fode (for Theo), Maldini (for Diaz), Pellegri (for Rebic) and why not trying Samu on LW ?


No samu please


I don’t mind Kessie go. We still have Baka, Adli and Pobega. Even Maldini has some potential as midfielder. He has defensive traits in his DNA.


Check the video on yt where the kid tackled Seedorf. He was like 6 years old then. Epic. Don’t really understand why they turned him into AM.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ted
Baresis Dream

Not happy about the unforced rotation. Tomori should start and be replaced later on if he’s fit. We have too many changes as is to our starting lineup, and Venezia can exploit these. I


Exactly, it shows they underestimate Venezia which I wrote above. Too many changes from the start, better to introduce some players later in the game when (or if) they are in the lead.


Tomori had back to back hard games in just 5 days (against Liverpool and Juve) let him rest a while. It is not underestimating Venezia, Gabbia, Kalulu shown last season that they are reliable. They are not young players who just get promoted to senior team this season. They had already some minutes in competitve matches under their belt. It will help them to grow as well. With the tight, hard schedule it is wise enough to utilize all resources milan have, so miln can minimize the injury due to fatigue etc, and keep the key players fresh/available when it… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Timo

I think your exactly right. Gabbia and Kalulu have shown real quality, they need to be given opportunities to play and grow.
Otherwise when we have injuries and we need them, they will not be ready

Baresis Dream

Tomori can rest in the second half, assuming all goes well in the first


If Tomori had started that match, he would have played the full 90+ mins – except Milan was leading at halftime by 4 goals. At 0–0 you don’t remove your best CB for anything, except injury. So, Pioli was right with the decisions. Playing 30 mins uses less energy than playing 90 mins. Also, starting and playing 60 mins was good for Gabbia. Same for Ballo-Toure. Squad rotation is very important when you have several games in quick succession and injuries to some players. You don’t want to add to the injury list by overplaying some key players. Three key… Read more »

Baresis Dream

Yep. We can’t underestimate these guys. Bad idea


It really looks like management got their priorities wrong in the transfer window. I’m all for having good back up players but when we dont have good first team players it’s not the priority. We are stacked with defenders and midfielders and even bought Adil to stay in france. Yet we have no options in attack!. Ibra and Giroud will both struggle to stay fit or play 90 mins. Pellegri has done nothing in years and is certainly not better than Colombo. Saladman is good back up RW but we have no starter. Diaz is doing v well but has… Read more »


Right now Colombo is better than Pellegri, he has 3 goals in 5 games for SPAL.