AC Milan travel to face Lecce in the afternoon kick off later today. Stefano Pioli took his side to a retreat to get over two poor performances back to back and will be looking for a big response today. Here are some key battles to look out for:
Striker vs Centre back
Olivier Giroud vs Samuel Umtiti
Former national teammates, World Cup winners together and now on opposite sides of a Serie A fixture. Giroud is yet to score for Milan in 2023 and he comes up against someone who knows him well and he will need to switch up his tempo to make an impact. Umtiti and Lecce kept a clean sheet last time out and held firm against Lazio the week prior. It will not be easy to break them down as they are a compact unit hence solo plays will make the difference here. Something magical for the Frenchman is overdue.
Goalkeeper vs Striker
Ciprian Tatarusanu vs Lorenzo Colombo
Tatarusanu has been dropping stinker after stinker as he is constantly being tested once and doing absolutely nothing to make the single required save. Tata is going to be tested by Colombo in this game and he’s got a hell of a shot on him. Maldini already burnt us and it seems likely that Colombo will too given the poor state of our defence. Tata needs to command his area well, he needs to speedily release the ball and he needs to use better positioning to limit the need for reflexes or diving.
Central attacking midfielder vs Central midfielder
Brahim Diaz vs Alexis Blin
The French holding midfielder in his second season with Lecce has adjusted well to Serie A and is great at breaking up play and making his presence felt. Diaz i favoured over CDK for the moment as he is making an impact but often struggles against more physical sides where he gets pushed around. Diaz is also god at finding space when midfielders hound him so it sets up an interesting battle to see which player prevails. Blin is usually centrally focused but does take the liberty to roam further up the pitch.