AC Milan host AC Monza at the San Siro this evening as the game marks the return of Silvio Berlusconi and Adriano Galliani to the San Siro after selling the club in 2017. Stefano Pioli has had a tough time facing new managers this season with two losses against Graham Potter and a very slim win with Salvatore Bocchetti so this looks to be another tricky encounter. Here are some key battles to look out for:
Centre back vs Striker
Brahim Diaz vs Manuel Locatelli
Simon Kjaer vs Christian Gytkjaer
The battle of the Danes. Both in their early thirties, both with sharing parts of their name. Kjaer will likely start at centre back over Gabbia and his speed will be of concern in this game as we saw with the previous couple. Gytkjaer is not a prolific goalscorer but he does step up on big occasions. This game will have been flagged as crucial by Berlusconi and Galliani to the Monza squad as evidenced by the squad being rested despite the midweek clash. Gytkjaer has scored just once but that goal sunk Juventus 1-0 in a huge upset. Milan need to be aware that Tatarusanu in unreliable in goal hence Monza do have a great chance to hit us early before switching to defensive mode. Kjaer’s job is to ensure as few shots as possible threaten our keeper otherwise we can get stunned.
Central attacking midfielder vs Central defensive midfielder
Matteo Pessina vs Tommaso Pobega
The former Milan youth player moved to Atalanta in Bergamo and now Monza so has stuck with the clubs in Lombardy and will be looking to hurt us as he always does. He was made the captain of Monza by Galliani upon signing and is easily their best player who is pulling the strings in attack. Monza have not scored too many in their first 10 games but are dangerous and not to be slept on especially if he has a good game. Pobega has one role in this game which is to eat up Pessina; give him no breathing room and get physical to throw him off his game. Pobega has demonstrated strength in the past few weeks and shown an ability to be a disruptor, that is what will win us this game.
Right back vs Left wing back
Sergino Dest vs Carlos Augusto
The young Brazilian brings lots of character and flair to this side with his dribbling down that left wing. He will be raring at the opportunity to run at Dest who is low on confidence after a couple of stinkers. It will be a shame if Dest starts over Kalulu as resting the young Frenchman seems unnecessary when the drop in quality to Dest in monumental. The game is an opportunity for the American international to make me eat my words given the videos from training but only time will tell. Augusto has a wicked cross with his left foot so Dest needs to ensure there are no dangerous balls being sent in from his wing.