AC Milan host Empoli at the San Siro tonight as the side look to finally take full points from a side in the bottom half of the table for the first time in a month. Stefano Pioli will be eager to deploy his two available strikers during the game as Zlatan Ibrahimovic is back while he takes a physical approach to the midfield starting Sandro Tonali, Ismael Bennacer and Franck Kessie all together. Here is a look at some key battles in this game:
Striker vs Centre back
Andrea Pinamonti vs Pierre Kalulu
The stunning Kalulu gets the nod ahead of captain Romagnoli and will face an interesting test with Pinamonti who will heavily rely on his pace and his height. Kalulu’s dynamism is a huge asset but there were some dangerous flashes with Osimhen in the last game. He needs to partner well with Tomori and communicate effectively to ensure the duo are not caught out with bursts from Pinamonti. Furthermore, he may face Cutrone off the bench who is the King of messy goals where we often struggle to defend.
Right winger vs Left back
Junior Messias vs Fabiano Parisi
The winger showed in the previous game his ability to pull defenders and open up pockets of space in the middle. He did well but his final delivery has been slightly off with crosses and shots not perfectly connecting. He has the opportunity to run at Parisi who is in good form but can be taken on easily and to cross in without switching to his left foot. Messias should be looking to get some more goals now given there are 10 games to convince Milan to buy him this summer.
Central attacking midfielder vs Central defensive midfielder
Liam Henderson vs Ismael Bennacer
This is an interesting pair up as Henderson has been impressive in his box-to-box role which simultaneously Bennacer is enjoying a revival at Milan. Both players are great with pinching the ball and their piercing passes. The duo will have a key face off in this game while Tonali handles Bajrami but they will be the ones to unlock the game. The midfield battle will be an interesting one given the propensity for Empoli to fire wild shots from literally anywhere in the final third which burnt us last time.