AC Milan host Fiorentina at the San Siro for the final game of 2022. Milan need to win in this game otherwise they risk Napoli running away with the title and a scrap for the top four spots. Stefano Pioli needs to motivate his side to go all in and really fight for that second star as the last performance against Cremonese looked shambolic and without desire. Here are some key battles to look out for:
Centre back vs Striker
Malick Thiaw vs Luka Jovic
Thiaw gets a second consecutive start showing the confidence Pioli has in him as none of the other players signed late in the window have been given this opportunity. Thiaw impressed against Verona, was unbothered against Cremonese but this game has Jovic, Kouame and Barak/Saponara barrelling down the pitch. It will be a tough game but one where he can truly show his ability. Jovic has been hit and miss this season but got the late winner against Salernitana which provides some confidence going into this one.
Manager vs Manager
Stefano Pioli vs Vincenzo Italiano
The big battle will be off the pitch with the managers and how they set their teams up. Pioli has been caught out in recent games notably by Ivan Juric but Italiano has a similar way to look at games. Fiorentina know that if they can keep us from scoring in the first half, they have a good chance to win in the second half or at least grab a draw. Pioli on the flip side needs to get out of his head with the numerous changes to compensate for the injuries. His expected team selection seems to be right one but the game plan to hit Fiorentina down early will determine the result.
Striker vs Centre back
Olivier Giroud vs Nikola Milenkovic
There are two dimensions to this battle On the one hand, Giroud needs to beat Milenkovic in the Fiorentina box and get past him to fire shots at Terraciano. On th flip side, Giroud needs to leverage his aerial ability in a defensive setting to ensure Milenkovic is not getting his head to the ball on set pieces against us. Milenkovic is in top form scoring 2 goals in the previous 5 games. Giroud will need to play positionally in attack as it is unlikely he can beat Milenkovic in a one-on-one.