How Milan should line up vs Sassuolo: Stick with winning formula, but key decision needed

Pioli AC Milan

Milan host Sassuolo on Sunday as we look to extend our winning run to three games and continue to climb the Serie A table.

After a string of positive performances under Stefano Pioli but with little to show for our efforts, the draw with Napoli last month could potentially be a turning point in our campaign.

SEE MORE: Four crucial positives for Pioli as Milan prepare for Sassuolo clash

Since then we’ve secured wins over Parma and Bologna, albeit not always in an entirely convincing manner, but this run of fixtures was earmarked by many as a great opportunity to build some momentum and confidence by picking up much-needed victories.

Milan haven’t disappointed thus far, and it’s hoped that it continues this weekend before we face a trip to Bergamo to take on Atalanta prior to the winter break, with the gap to fourth place now down to nine points.

If it ain’t broke…

As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That could be the case this weekend as Pioli has gone with an unchanged line-up over the last two games and it has resulted in six points.

Theo Hernandez has added a new dynamic to our attack, Andrea Conti is rapidly improving and showing consistency while our core defensive trio continue to be reliable for the most part.

Ismael Bennacer is coming into his own in midfield with Giacomo Bonaventura producing class, quality and a decisive touch in the final third. Franck Kessie isn’t quite matching them at this point, but perhaps Pioli sees him playing a vital role regardless in adding balance to the side.

Up front, Krzysztof Piatek put in a much better display last weekend and should keep his place while Hakan Calhanoglu and Suso seem to be permanent fixtures in the XI regardless of form or coach.

As noted by La Gazzetta dello Sport, that’s the line-up expected on Sunday, and so it would be a surprise to see anything different.

Two areas to think about…

The one area which Pioli may look at during this game though is the midfield. Rade Krunic arguably did a decent job filling in for Kessie, and the summer signing may feel aggrieved that he’s been relegated back to the bench.

To add a little more technical quality and composure in attack, especially in a game in which we will be expected to dominate possession at home, it might be a sensible switch to make especially if things aren’t going to plan to start with.

Lucas Paqueta is another option but perhaps that would create an imbalance in the side if he came in for Kessie as that would be edging towards being too attacking, and so time will tell what Pioli goes with.

Beyond that, there may also be an argument for Bonaventura and Calhanoglu to swap roles given how influential the former has been in his last three starts as he’s also chipped in with two goals. Moving him closer to goal on the left flank cutting in and working in tandem with Hernandez could provide a more consistent and decisive impact in that part of the pitch.