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AS Roma vs AC Milan: Key Battles and Predictions

Milan needs to show they can do it against other top four contenders now, the starters need to produce results.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic of AC Milan celebrates after scoring a... Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

AC Milan face AS Roma in the league tonight as the Rossoneri look to keep the pressure on Napoli at the top of the table and look to grab three points from a top four contender. Stefano Pioli welcomes some key players back such as Hernandez and Diaz but will need to urge his side to keep focused to get a result in Rome. Here are some key battles to look out for:

Key Battles

Right back vs Left back

Stefano Pioli vs Jose Mourinho

More than anything, this match will be a tactical battle between a high on confidence Pioli and a reeling from shock Mourinho. Milan tend to struggle against teams who play defensive football and hold possession and we struggle even more against pacey wingers. Roma have all these attributes. Pioli need focus to win this game and lots of patience. The moment we lose out nerve in this one, we will get hit hard on the counter.

Central attacking midfielder vs Central defensive midfielder

Lorenzo Pellegrini vs Ismael Bennacer

The one aspect of Roma’s play that will hurt us is the positioning of Pellegrini and his tendency to make late runs into the box to meet the cross or pick up the ball from Tammy Abraham. Bennacer has grown in confidence in recent weeks but still has left a little some to be desired in the defensive phase, mistakes such as the one for the opener against Verona will be costly. Bennacer will need to keep tight at Pellegrini and stop him from taking long shots or collecting the ball in the box.

Striker vs Centre back

Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs Gianluca Mancini

A potentially big game for the Swede, he can score his 400th career goal and his 150th in Serie A if he manages to get on the scoresheet tonight. He will be replacing Giroud who did well in the last game but hopefully he adds some movement in the attack and he can create something special in this big match. He has battled Mancini a few time snow thus will know the centre back is strong and quick but can be caught flat footed at times. Ibrahimovic will need to pick up the ball just when Mancini is caught out of position to find the space to shoot on goal.

Predictions

Pioli Winner

Pellegrini Winner

Ibrahimovic Winner