AC Milan take on Inter Milan tonight in the title race derby as Stefano Pioli grapples with a never ending carousel of injuries at the club. Ibrahimovic and Rebic have been ruled out severely limiting the attacking options thus adding pressure on the midfield to control the game and pull off a miracle. Here are some key battles to look out for in the game:
Central attacking midfielder vs Central defensive midfielder
Franck Kessie vs Marcelo Brozovic
An important gamble by Pioli given how Diaz gets pushed around in these games as well as a good opportunity to have a quality player available off the bench. Kessie vs Brozovic is a physical battle where each will focus on breaking up the other’s play and look to limit their forward passes. Kessie scored a brace last time he was at CAM so hopefully he can have some influence in front of goal.
Striker vs Centre back
Lautaro Martinez vs Alessio Romagnoli
This will be a big one as is often the turning point of the game. If Romagnoli pockets Martinez, we should be fine for large stretches of the game as Dzeko can be isolated but if Martinez runs riot, the defence will collapse mentally early on given Kalulu is starting in his first ever derby. The defender needs to ensure that he cannot get turned especially when the side are countering. He needs to be aggressive and agile to keep the Argentinian at bay as he hunts for his first goal in five games.
Centre back vs Striker
Stefan de Vrij vs Olivier Giroud
Giroud needs to be a match winner and this is the perfect game for him to be deadly in. He needs to do more of the ball to pressure de Vrij to step out of position. Most importantly, Giroud needs to take the shot. In the previous game, he had three golden chances where he tried a silly pass instead of an easy shot at goal and this cannot happen again. He needs to use his aerial advantage against de Vrij and find a goal early on.