AC Milan have a crunch tie tonight ahead of the international play against Atalanta in Bergamo. Milan will get a boost with a fitter Olivier Giroud, the return of Simon Kjaer and the first call up for Junior Messias whilst Atalanta could miss a number of defenders. Here are some key battles to keep an eye on:
Left winger vs Centre back
Rafael Leao vs Berat Djimsiti
Leao is in form and hopefully he can capitalise on it. He will do well to use his speed down the wing cutting in for a shot or to set up Ante Rebic in the middle. He has shown his ability to dribble and hold up the ball thus should be able to handle Djimsiti. The defender will press hard and keeping fouling Leao but he needs to keep a level head and apply himself to keep going.
Central defensive midfielder vs Central midfielder
Ismael Bennacer vs Martin de Roon
A tough match up as each midfielder’s job will be to break down the others’ play. Bennacer has shown his ability to hold the ball and distribute forward but de Roon is good an interceptions and kicking off counter attacks for his side. Both will engage in a physical battle so expect bookings to flow but the player that prevails here will surely create more opportunities for their respective attackers.
Central attacking midfielder vs Central defensive midfielder
Matteo Pessina vs Sandro Tonali
Pessina was a Milan target for a while and this season he continues to show why. He knows how to find the gaps in the defence and pick out passes to his strikers. Tonali will need to be vigilant and agile to cut out the passes as Zapata is clinical and will be looking to burn us. Maignan will have a tough time if Pessina is allowed to play in the front two but also get some shots on goal himself.