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Key Battles and Prediction: AC Milan vs Atalanta

Milan need to show they can perform against tougher opposition after a string of wins against smaller sides.

AC Milan v Frosinone Calcio - Serie A TIM Photo by Francesco Scaccianoce/Getty Images

AC Milan will play at home looking to secure their place in the semi finals of the Coppa Italia but Atalanta stand in the way. Gian Piero Gasperini must be relishing the opportunity to spoil the party for Milan yet again but Stefano Pioli must have a response given the good form of the side since December.

Here are some key battles to look out for:

Key Battles

Striker vs Centre back

Luka Jovic vs Isak Hien

The side that faced Milan in the league has changed and for Jovic in particular - who scored in that game - the defensive unit will be unfamiliar. In goal, Carnesecchi replaces Musso, in defence Hien replaces De Roon hence Jovic will need to adapt to the changes to find the same space he did last time round. Jovic is in stellar form and needs to continue to deliver the goals to pressure his way into a consistent starting role. Milan keep getting knocked out at the quarters or earlier in rhe Coppa Italia and this needs to change. Jovic scored a first half brace last week that impacted the game and gave us control, an early goal would do the same and he is lucky to face Hien over Kolasinac.

Central midfielder vs Central attacking midfielder

Tijjani Reijnders vs Teun Koopmeiners

Reijnders is the only Milan player to play 26/26 games thus far this season and this is likely taking a toll on him. This is an important game for him to turn up and remain agile. He needs to track Koopmeiners in particular as he gets the gears rolling for Gasperini’s side. Koopmeiners is difficult to track and can break the lines with his passing so will be aiming to get the ball over the backline for either Scamacca or De Ketelaere to fire away. Reijnders has been doing well but was often caught out the last time we played Atalanta and will want to put in a better performance.

Right midfielder vs Left wingback

Yunus Musah vs Matteo Ruggeri

The American will get his first start since returning from injury and it will be a tough game given the knock out nature and the need for revenge after the loss in Bergamo. Musah played 90 minutes in that loss and it was one of his poorer performances. He was chasing the ball and putting in a shift but was not challenging the midfield enough allowing them lots of time on the ball and this left Calabria vulnerable and consistently under fire. Musah gets the start over Adli as he can cover more ground and is better defensively but h now needs to ensure he is resolute especially against Ruggeri who will be bombing down the wing and firing crosses in.

Predictions

Jovic Winner

Reijnders Winner

Musah Winner