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Key Battles and Prediction: AC Milan vs Napoli

Can Milan topple a big side after weeks of up and down performances to cement themselves in third?

AC Milan v AS Roma - Serie A TIM Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

AC Milan host Napoli at the San Siro tonight in a big fixture for the top four race. The Rossoneri are aiming to build a gap between themselves and the fourth place given the tough run of games in February while Napoli will want to challenge the position of Stefano Pioli’s side. Here are some key battles to look out for:

Key Battles

Goalkeeper vs Striker

Mike Maignan vs Giovanni Simeone

Simeone is leading the line for Napoli in the absence of Osimhen and has been struggling for consistency. He only has 3 goals across all competitions but tends to turn up against Milan. He scored that devastating header last season and has 3 goals against Milan in 13 appearances. Maignan is not in the best form and not being helped by the makeshift defences due to the injury crisis. Milan have conceded 2 goals in each of the previous 3 games and have only kept 1 clean sheet in 2024. The game needs to be managed differently and Maignan needs a clean sheet.

Central attacking midfielder vs Central defensive midfielder

Ruben Loftus-Cheek vs Stanislav Lobotka

Lobotka was one of the top performers last season and has been unbeatable in the midfield but has cooled down this season. He remains a tough one to beat and Loftus-Cheek will need to be physical to keep him on his toes and fight the way through the field. The CAM needs to be able to unlock the space in between the midfield and defence to play in Giroud and the wingers. The tussle between Loftus-Cheek and Lobotka will determine if we get overrun by Anguissa and Zielinski or if Adli-Bennacer have space to operate. This will be a key match up for the result of the game.

Striker vs Centre back

Olivier Giroud vs Amir Rrahmani

The French striker is delivering vintage performances this season as he is on track for his best return in red and black yet. He managed a goal and assist last time out and has 11 goals in Serie A now. He has been criticised lots for his lack of movement and disappearing in games but he has 21 goals/assists thus far. Giroud loves performing against Napoli with 6 goals against them in 9 games, 5 of the goals are for Milan and 1 for Arsenal. Rrahmani is a strong defender with a good aerial presence but often struggles to keep up with the Frenchman and is just a tad slow. If he can score early, we have a good chance.

Predictions

Maignan Winner

Loftus-Cheek Winner

Giroud Winner