AC Milan travel to face Cagliari away tonight as Stefano Pioli’s men look to secure a crucial three points and keep their momentum going following the wins against Napoli and Empoli. The Rossoneri have struggled against smaller teams this season and Cagliari just above the relegation zone will likely be a nervy and uncomfortable game for the side. Here are some key battles to look out for:
Central defensive midfielder vs Striker
Ismael Bennacer vs Leonardo Pavoletti
The midfielder will be on high alert in this game with Tonali out. He needs to keep that solid form going and ensure he keeps Pavoletti cornered and out of it. Pavoletti is used to a mixed attacking role where he can float so ensuring he doesn’t slip away in the messiness is crucial as he and Pedro will be a handful for Tomori and Romagnoli any day. The side are goalless in the past two but should not be dismissed regardless.
Left back vs Right wing back
Theo Hernandez vs Raoul Bellanova
The key battles in this one will be the wing backs going at it as the 3-5-2 being deployed in recent weeks has Cagliari playing wider and focused more on runs down the wing and a cross into the box. Bellanova, a former Milan Primavera player will be keen to make a good impression. He is quite strong and has some good passing range which Hernandez has to be careful of. On the other hand, our left back needs to break past the crowded midfield to get clear runs at goal to support the attack in this one.
Central attacking midfielder vs Central defensive midfielder
Dalbert vs Davide Calabria
Equally on the opposite end we need to be wary of the former Inter defender who will be in the mood to spoil the party for us. Calabria has been exceptional this year but his performances have faded with the months and especially since the spotlight of being captain shifted back to Romagnoli. He was instrumental in the Napoli win getting an all important albeit lucky assist for Giroud but a strong performance tonight could go a long way for the season overall.