Pioli will line up the German and English from 1′. In front of Leao and Giroud, in the middle it’s Krunic’s turn. Calabria out
Malick Thiaw has the first big break of his life. The German defender, who has only played 233 minutes in Serie A this season, excluded from the Champions League list for the group stage, will start tomorrow against Harry Kane and Tottenham. Barring surprises in the last few hours, Milan will start with Kalulu, Thiaw and Tomori, who also trained with the team today: an unprecedented defense in form (the three-man line) and in names. Thiaw, born in 2001, earned Pioli’s trust on Friday evening, when he was one of the best against Turin, and takes advantage of Kjaer’s momentum, not at his best level and less suitable for man-to-man football chosen by Pioli. He’s clearly a risk – a 21-year-old who hasn’t been tested at the highest level – but Milan in this period inevitably cannot rely on the old certainties.
Kjaer will not be the only one absent from Milan in this round of 16 match. He will also lack Ismael Bennacer’s technique in the middle of the field (“He’s not 100% yet, we can’t risk it, so he won’t be there”, Pioli said in the conference): instead of him, next to Sandro Tonali, Rade Krunic . Davide Calabria also towards the bench, another player not at his best: Alexis Saelemaekers will play on the right instead of him. On the other hand, Theo Hernandez, the most important player for Milan’s offensive phase.
Milan against Tottenham will therefore be particular, a “never seen before” with some risky situations: Saelemaekers in the Perisic area, Kalulu against Son, Thiaw against Kane. Pioli will try to hold on, perhaps with a prudent attitude, and to take advantage of Leao’s one-on-ones, Giroud’s usual ability to play important games well, Diaz’s accelerations. The key, probably, in the middle of the field because Tottenham are expected with Skipp and Sarr, almost never seen as owners – and never together – in the 2022-23 Premier League.
February 14 – 00:17
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