The brutal fixture list features a third consecutive midweek game when Milan host Lille in Europa League’s third match day. The northern France team provide a slightly different proposition than Celtic and Sparta Prague or so it is thought. Lille tied Celtic and only after scoring twice in the second half. As they have in many recent seasons Lille currently sit near the top of Ligue 1 only one point behind leaders PSG but the French Flanders’ latest big summer signing has struggled to find form. Jonathan David, the Canadian forward, was signed for around €28 million from Gent but has had a disappointing start to the 2020-2021 season while conversely veteran Burak Yilmaz has been a surprising and solid arrival from Besiktas.
Rotation and squad management remain important to Pioli and every coach in this pandemic defined season and this midweek will need some of it. One forced change is caused by Calabria’s likely absence. The right back has a minor muscle issue and Dalot looks to get a start in his more natural spot but that simultaneously means that Theo won’t get any rest and will start at left back. Romagnoli and Kjaer are the only viable options in the center of defense while Gabbia works to get in shape following a long absence. As with last week Tonali will relieve one of Kessie or Bennacer. Diaz, Castillejo and Krunic may start in relief of Calhanoglu, Saelemaekers and Leao. Starting both Castillejo and Krunic is questionable but may be unavoidable during the busy periods. Rebic is back and may take some part but won’t start. Leao could start up in his unpreferred center forward role but Ibra will play whenever he declares himself ready.