AC Milan travel to face Lazio on the road in desperate search of three points and attacking momentum. Some additional depth in the attack should help Pioli but he loses his best performing midfielder for the encounter. Here are some key battles to look out for:
Striker vs Centre back
Olivier Giroud vs Francesco Acerbi
Giroud, Giroud. I am not sure what to expect at this point, it’s a 50-50 split between him scoring a brace or having less than 10 touches all game. He goes up against a former Milan player and big adversary Acerbi. He is physical and will keep the Frenchman far from the box and constantly under pressure when on the ball. Giroud needs to play to his strengths, getting the ball in the air and finding gaps to fire off shots.
Central attacking midfielder vs Central midfielder
Franck Kessie vs Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
Kessie is getting flack from the fans but remains one of the most consistent players and one of the only ones pushing for goals and coming close despite his lack of technical skill. He has the usual battle with SMS and will need to ensure we do not concede early like in the last game as this will cause the team to spiral and we do not seem mentally strong at the moment. Kessie is also overdue for a goal and this is a game he enjoy attacking in.
Central midfielder vs Central defensive midfielder
Lucas Leiva vs Sandro Tonali
Another midfield match up as this game is all about that battle in the centre, Leiva vs Tonali is all about who can spark the forward passes and spot the runs against the other making interceptions and cutting those lanes. Tonali has been in a slight dip in the past two or so games but is still putting in good shifts, his passing forward is what is lacking and will need to shine through in this game. Leiva needs to be kept at bay as he has stunning vision which can really unlock runs for Anderson, Immobile and co.