AC Milan host AS Roma at the San Siro tonight in a crunch tie to keep the pressure on Napoli at the top and to fight of the advances of Juventus for the second place. Inter Milan slipped up yesterday so Stefano Pioli’s side need to take advantage. Here are some key battles to look out for:
Right winger vs Centre back
Alexis Saelemaekers vs Roger Ibanez
Saelemaekers did the bare minimum in terms of productivity against Salernitana and will need to do much better against Roma. He will need to support the right back with balancing Zalewski’s advances but equally has the opportunity to run right at the centre back Ibanez and force his way into the box. Saelemaekers needs to hold down the position with Messias out and Dest still getting used to life in Italy. Milan are not creating enough down the right wing and will be overly predictable if Leao remains the only outlet.
Goalkeeper vs Right attacking midfielder
Ciprian Tatarusanu vs Paulo Dybala
This game presents a unique challenge as Roma have three players who can whack in belters from outside the box and deliver dangerous free kicks. Pellegrini, Dybala and Zaniolo will all be looking to test Tatarusanu from afar and get the better of him. We have struggled to keep clean sheets for a while and there is a serious risk for us to concede too many and fall behind. Dybala in particular will take lots of shots from outside the box and we need to pray that Tatarusanu has loosened up and can stretch for the saves.
Left winger vs Centre back
Rafael Leao vs Gianluca Mancini
The winger really burst into action last week and will look to do the same this time. He has a good record against Roma and particularly Mancini. He will have the opportunity to combine well with Hernandez as Celik and Mancini will double up on him. Leao will need to carry the attack as it is not clear if the right side will turn up or if Diaz/De Ketelaere can deliver some quality into the box.