The five key battles that could win or lose the game for Milan against Lazio

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan will take on Lazio at San Siro this evening hoping to make it three wins in a row in Serie A in front of over 70,000 fans.

Milan seem to have recovered well after their derby loss to Inter as a 0-0 draw against Newcastle United in the Champions League was followed by 1-0 and 3-1 wins over Hellas Verona and Cagliari respectively in the league.

Today’s game is a fresh challenge and there will be some interesting battles across the field, starting in the midfield with Ruben Loftus-Cheek against Luis Alberto.

Loftus-Cheek scored in Milan’s last match against Cagliari to get his first goal for the club and he made his big breakthrough at Chelsea under Maurizio Sarri, who of course coaches Lazio. In addition to getting involved in build-up he will have to watch Alberto, who has two goals and one assist this season so far.

Lazio’s Ciro Immobile has scored eight goals against Milan in the top-flight. Starting from his first goal against the Rossoneri in the competition (February 2014) he has scored the most goals against them in Serie A of any player (three of these at San Siro).

The task of stopping him will probably fall to Simon Kjaer, who last started in the 5-1 derby loss to Inter and will need to up his level after Lautaro and Thuram tore the Rossoneri apart. It will be a battle of two experienced heads, however.

Up at the other end, Olivier Giroud will lead the line for Milan and he will battle his former team-mate Alessio Romagnoli. Giroud turns 37 today and would love a goal as a birthday gift to the fans, but he is without a goal from open play since the first match of the season.

He was rested for the Cagliari game in midweek so should have a bit more in the tank, while there were doubts about whether Romagnoli would even play after a facial fracture. The ex-Milan captain should start but with a protective mask on, something that could affect his performance.

Moving to the left side, Théo Hernández has scored in two of his last three matches at the San Siro against Lazio in Serie A, including the most recent which was a run that was measured at over 84 metres.

However, he must focus on the defensive aspect as well this evening given that Felipe Anderson can be a tricky customer. He scored for Lazio in their 4-0 rout of Stefano Pioli’s men last season at the Olimpico and he will aim to slot between Theo and Fikayo Tomori.

Finally, we move to the right side of Milan’s attack where Christian Pulisic will meet Elseid Hysaj. Pulisic hasn’t scored since the first home game of the season against Torino but he had a hand in two of the three goals in midweek playing on the left.

He will meet the 29-year-old Hysaj who by now is a Serie A veteran and a very well-rounded full-back, but one who could offer up space and might struggle if put in too many one-on-one situations.

Tags AC Milan Milan Lazio

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