AC Milan host Hellas Verona at the San Siro today as Stefano Pioli desperately looks for a win after two disappointing performances. The Rossoneri debut their third purple shirt, launch a new commercial partner BOEM in front of 70,000 fans but more importantly hand debut starts to Yunus Musah and Marco Sportiello.
Here are some key battles to look out for:
Central back vs Striker
Simon Kjaer vs Milan Djuric
Kjaer gets another start after a tough game in the derby. the lack of understanding of a back three is concerning and Verona will feed off our errors. Milan need to especially be wary of Ngonge and Djruic. Pace and experience will combine on the right and down the middle. Djuric knows the league well and is always a tricky player to mark and to keep at bay. Verona have done decently in front of goal and with a new goalkeeper, a new backline and an ageing Kjaer; we have potentially have a recipe for disaster.
Centre back vs Striker
Isak Hien vs Olivier Giroud
Giroud started the season on fire with four goals from the opening three games but has not scored in the previous two and we need options up front. He had a beautiful assist for Leao in the derby but we need him to be more of a difference maker as the performance against Newcastle left more to be desired. Hien is doing well for Verona as they only conceded 3 against Sassuolo but have otherwise kepot clean sheets or conceded just once per game. The towering defender is physical and puts pressure on the strikers. Giroud needs to be able to find space in the box or at the very least hold up the ball and play in Pulisic and Leao.
Manager vs Manager
Stefano Pioli vs Marco Baroni
The biggest battle in this one is the tactical one between Pioli and Baroni. The Milan manager has been outcoached by Simone Inzaghi last week and held up by Eddie Howe in the midweek and needs to bounce back. His switch to a 3-4-3 is concerning as a number of players are out of position and there is a lack of depth showing. Baroni said in his press conference that he is out to ‘frustrate’ Milan especially on the attack and they have been studying the new system at the club. Let’s see how flexible Pioli can be to take all three points and rebuild the confidence in the squad.