AC Milan take on Inter Milan tonight as the Rossoneri look to hit back after a poor 0-0 draw with Sassuolo and take a key step forward in their title defence. Stefano Pioli has a few questions marks and absences in attack but will be relying heavily on the defence to deliver a consecutive clean sheet for a chance to take all three points in this game. Here are some key battles to look out for:
Striker vs Centre back
Olivier Giroud vs Stefan de Vrij
Giroud wrecked de Vrij last year and changed the course of the season but has since struggled to beat him on the trot. This game presents an opportunity to see Giroud at his best delivering in a big game and giving Milan an important momentum boost for the season. The three centre backs will be looking to double team Leao and Giroud when they have space but could likely forget about Messias and De Ketelaere who can take advantage with some shots from space in the box or from distance.
Centre back vs Striker
Pierre Kalulu vs Lautaro Martinez
With Lukaku out and Dzeko playing a feeder role, all eyes will be on Martinez to open the scoring for Inter. He did so quite early the last time we played and hit us when we had not fully checked into the game. Kalulu has looked increasingly influential this season and will have an important role to press high and chase Dzeko and Martinez away from the dangerous areas. He needs to be aggressive and unrelenting in his pursuit of the ball and make sure to pick up all loose balls.
Central midfielder vs Central defensive midfielder
Marcelo Brozovic vs Ismael Bennacer
The midfield battle will be tough in this game as Tonali-Barella got head to head and Bennacer-Brozovic do the same. Bennacer has an important role to intercept the passes of Brozovic and immediately release us on the counter attack to make the most of our speedy wingers. Bennacer has been on top form thus far but will be a robust challenge for him as Brozovic tends to shutdown the space quickly in the middle of the park.