Week 29: Milan – Empoli

Starting Lineup: 4-2-3-1
16
Maignan
2
Calabria
20
Kalulu
23
Tomori
25
Florenzi
8
Tonali
4
Bennacer
30
Messias
79
Kessié
17
Leão
9
Giroud
Substitutes

Following disappointing points dropped versus Udinese and Salernitana many feared that the team’s surge into the top of the Serie A standings would end. A visit to Napoli who had not lost a Serie A game since late 2021 did not look like the best setting to rebound. Milan did however. Pioli’s men endured a sometimes too physical game and came away with the three points from Maradona Stadium. Being on top with 10 games left puts a team in a favorites for title position but are Milan ending their Scudetto drought? The final push starts with Empoli.

Theo will be missing the start of this final stretch due to yellow cards accumulation. Whether Ballo-Toure starts in his place or one of Calabria or Florenzi switch to the left is one question heading in to the weekend. Most would agree that the Senegalese should stay on the bench. Maignan in goal with Kalulu and Tomori as central defenders is a certainty for now. The midfield pivots are also close to a certainty especially since it seems that Pioli is set to give Kessie another chance to play as a middle man in the 4-2-3-1. The oft-used formation looked more like a 4-3-3 with Kessie tracking and dropping closer to the pivots when facing Napoli.

Ibra is healthy and came on as a late sub last week but Giroud, currently in excellent form and brushing aside the number 9 curse, will start again. The French forward looked to have injured his leg badly from a Koulibaly challenge but stayed in the match. He has been one of the catalysts of Milan’s season along side Leao. The Portuguese could be close to extending his Milan contract but rumours of big bids are inevitable for the player who has become one of Serie A’s best wingers. Messias should start in the right wing spot as he remains more convincing than the only other option in Saelemaekers.

Empoli were looking promising earlier in the season but their last win was in December before Milan’s 4-2 win at the Stadio Carlo Castellani.

There is always more about this and all Milan matches on the forums.

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