AC Milan host Dinbamo Zagreb at the San Siro this evening as Stefano Pioli’s side look to pick up their first three points in the competition. Here are some key battles to look out for:
Left Attacking midfielder vs Centre back
Mislav Orsic vs Pierre Kalulu
3 goals and 2 assists in the previous 3 games. Quick feet and good strength, he presents a similar problem to Noah Okafor from last week. Pierre Kalulu needs some redemption and to get the Milan fans to forget that unfortunate run of play. Kalulu has been the better of the two centre backs irrespective of that embarrassing fall thus far this season. Orsic is in top form and will be bearing down that wing non stop in search of another goal to label himself as a giant killer following the winner against Chelsea FC last time out.
Left midfielder vs Right back
Robert Ljubicic vs Davide Calabria
To be honest, Kalulu and Maignan were humiliated in Okafor’s goal due to the highlight video but it’s Calabria’s poor positioning and Bennacer loss of possession that put us in a vulnerable situation. Calabria has not look up to pace this season and is being exposed by the quality around him as we see the opposition often opting to overload his side as they can see the cracks too and often can deliver good crosses from his wing. Ljubicic will do just that, he has a wicked curling cross and lovers going down to the line and trying to beat his man with pace. Calabria needs to put in a solid shift in this one.
Right winger vs Left centre back
Alexis Saelemaekers vs Dino Peric
Saelemaekers got his first ever Champions League goal last time out and saved us a point from a difficult encounter. He gets Pioli’s faith to start in this must win game for qualification to the next round. He needs to demonstrate that the goal was not a fluke and show that he can deliver consistently week in and out. If he can manage to provide attacking options and play some good balls in for Giroud and Leao to attack, this will have been a success. Unfortunately, Peric is Zagreb’s in form defender who is a no-nonsense player so expect lots of hard tackles and clearances.