AC Milan face Bologna in a big Serie A showdown as Stefano Pioli will want to make a statement against his doubters and his possible replacement in Thiago Motta. The Rossoneri can continue to extend their gap above the fourth spot and head in a packed February with maximum confidence.
Central defensive midfielder vs Central attacking midfielder
Tijjani Reijnders vs Lewis Ferguson
Reijnders will make his 30th appearance for Milan tonight, as he has been a staple in the starting lineup since joining this summer. Pioli has it in a trusted him, who is marshalling the midfield with his high work rate and his ability to carry the ball forward in transition. He will have quite a task supporting Adli tonight, up against Lewis Ferguson - another Milan target. The Dutch international has had dips in form but has thus far been the most reliable player this season. Ferguson has 4 goals and 4 assists this season including 2 assist at the San Siro against Inter. He has scored against Juventus and Lazio showing he is up for the big games.
Centre back vs Striker
Simon Kjaer vs Joshua Zirkzee
Zirkzee has slightly faded since all the big European links were made to him, but is still one of the most exciting products of the current serious season. It’s Milan in defensive crisis, Kjaer will start yet again alongside Gabbia in a pairing that lacks pace. The veteran Dane will need to be clever to keep Zirkzee off the ball and out of the game. He has shown his experience in recent games, but shows a huge lack of physicality to keep up with the pace and strength needed in the top flight. This will be a key matchup in this game given how well Bologna perform at the San Siro.
Left winger vs Right back
Rafael Leao vs Lorenzo De Silvestri
Leao will have an interesting battle with the ageing De Silverstein who is experienced but can be easily passed on the trot. The Portuguese winger is yet to find his stride this season but will want to be in good form for February with key clashes in the league and in Europe. The attacking burden has been carried by the new arrivals to this point but Leao needs to support Giroud and up his figures for the season with some match winners. Given the spotlight on tonight’s fixture, it is a good place to start for a world beating performance.