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

By Euan Burns -

AC Milan have got their first clash against one of the top seven in Serie A of 2023 as they take on AS Roma at San Siro on Sunday night.

The Rossoneri are coming into the game off the back of a win against Salernitana that was nervier than it should have been at the end. As for the Giallorossi, they beat Bologna 1-0 in an uneventful game, relying on some late defensive heroics to hold onto the points.

The battle between Stefano Pioli and Jose Mourinho will be heavily influenced by some key battles all over the pitch. One of the best will be Olivier Giroud trying to find space in the box against an in-form Chris Smalling who has played against the Frenchman plenty of times before.

Similarly, former Chelsea teammates and good friends Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori will be up against each other. The Roma man is badly out of form and would love to break his duck against his old friend.

Rafael Leao will be terrorising Roma’s right side and that means that it will likely be Gianluca Mancini that comes up against the Portuguese star.

Also on that side of the pitch, full-backs Theo Hernandez and Zeki Celik will be battling for influence going forward whilst also helping out their centre-backs.

Away from the wings, Ismael Bennacer is likely going to be tasked with ensuring that Paulo Dybala has as little creative influence on the game as possible. He will need to follow the Argentine around the pitch to some extent, aware of the danger that he poses.


Tags AC Milan AS Roma Chris Smalling Fikayo Tomori Gianluca Mancini Ismaël Bennacer Mehmet Zeki Celik Olivier Giroud Paulo Dybala Rafael Leao Tammy Abraham theo hernandez
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