AC Milan travel to face Atalanta as the pressure mounts in the title race. Juventus and Inter Milan are sprinting while Milan has stumbled and need to catch up. The Rossoneri face Atalanta at an opportune moment and need to put the game to bed early to rest the starters for the Newcastle United fixture. The game will see Charles de Ketelaere face his parent club and welcome back Olivier Giroud from suspension.
Here are some key battles to look out for:
Central attacking midfielder vs Central defensive midfielder
Ruben Loftus-Cheek vs Martin de Roon
Since his return from injury it has been clear that RLC is the most impactful summer signing as he makes our play tick and he offers a unique skillset in the squad with no substitutes. In this game, the midfield battle is crucial and he will need to muscle his way through de Roon and Ederson to create space and chances for the attackers. RLC has scored just once despite his great performances and this is a good game to add to his tally as the defence will stick tight to Giroud in the box.
Manager vs Manager
Gian Piero Gasprini vs Stefano Pioli
Gasperini is winless in the past four while Pioli has three wins in the past five. Atalanta under Gasperini have been a bogey squad for Milan but Pioli seems to have figured something out over the past two or so seasons. The threat always remains as the side has quality and can unlock us in difficult moments. The battle will be a tactical one as both sides has key starters missing out with Scamacca, Leao, Thiaw and Djimsiti not available. Pioli must be able to get the wingers firing consistently or risk get bogged down.
Central midfielder vs Central attacking midfielder
Yunus Musah vs Teun Koopmeiners
Koopmeiners has 3 goals and 3 assist from his midfield role and despite lacking pace, he has great technical quality which allows some stunners. We have seen Maignan slightly off in recent weeks so ensuring no tricky shots and curlers are fired at him reduce our risk of conceding. Musah will need to put in a shift pressing non-stop to limit those opportunities. The midfielder will also need to slot into the defence to support Theo and cover him if he makes forward runs. It will be nice to him excel further back too to offer more flexibility for Pioli.