AC Milan travel to take on Lazio on the road desperate for three points and attacking momentum. Extra depth in attack should help Pioli but he loses his best performing midfielder for the game. Here are some key battles to watch:
Forward versus central defender
Olivier Giroud against Francesco Acerbi
Giroud, Giroud. I’m not sure what to expect at this point, it’s a 50-50 split between him scoring a brace or having less than 10 touches throughout the game. He faces a former Milan player and great opponent Acerbi. He is physical and will keep the Frenchman away from the box and constantly under pressure when on the ball. Giroud needs to play to his strengths, get the ball in the air and find gaps to fire shots.
Central Attacking Midfielder vs Central Midfielder
Franck Kessie against Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
Kessie takes criticism from fans but remains one of the most consistent players and one of the only ones to push goals and get close despite his lack of technical skills. He has the usual battle with SMS and will have to make sure we don’t concede early like in the last game because it will spiral the team and we don’t look mentally strong at the moment. Kessie is also down for a goal and it’s a game he likes to attack.
Central Midfielder vs Central Defensive Midfielder
Lucas Leiva vs. Sandro Tonali
Another game in midfield as this game is all about that battle in the middle, Leiva vs Tonali is all about who can trigger forward passes and spot runs against each other making interceptions and by cutting these paths. Tonali has been down slightly in the last couple of games or so but continues to make good changes, his forward passing is what is missing and will need to shine in this game. Leiva needs to be kept at bay as he has stunning vision which can really unlock races for Anderson, Immobile and co.