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

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan take on Genoa this evening at San Siro hoping to get back to winning ways and to take a big step towards securing second place in the table.

Milan have the opportunity to mathematically secure qualification for next year’s Supercoppa Italiana with a win tomorrow, taking on Genoa at home. However, without the support of Curva Sud and with Stefano Pioli on his way out, it will be a strange atmosphere.

The outcome of the game will be heavily influenced by some key battles across the pitch, starting with the one between Christian Pulisic and Milan Badelj. Pulisic scored the winning goal for Milan in the reverse match (1-0 in October), a win that put them top.

The American international has found the net 10 times in Serie A in 2023-24, with all of his last seven coming against teams currently in the bottom part of the table. He will play in a more central role today, and against a seasoned defensive midfielder in Badelj.

Sticking with Milan’s attack, the pressure is on Rafael Leao to deliver once again after struggling in the two legs against Roma and in the derby against Inter, with Alessandro Vogliacco likely to be his opponent.

Leao scored 15 goals in the league last season but he only has seven to his name this time around so he will be looking to end the season strong. The 25-year-old Vogliacco should start on the right of a three-man defence and will aim to contain the Portuguese.

At the other end, Mateo Retegui will look to score against the club that were heavily linked with signing him last summer. He has six goals to his name in his debut Serie A season which is not a bad return in a side that haven’t really been free-scoring.

Milan will look to Fikayo Tomori for a leader’s performance in the defensive department. The Rossoneri have had their struggles keeping goals out this season, but Tomori-Gabbia is the most in-form pairing and that simply must translate to regular clean sheets.

Morten Frendrup is the creative heart of the Genoa midfield given that he has seven goal contributions in Serie A so far this season, and he should come up against Ismael Bennacer who is tipped to start in the double pivot for Milan.

The 23-year-old Dane is expected to start on the right of the three-man midfield for the Grifone and will aim to feed the front two of Retegui and Ekuban, while Bennacer has been hit and miss since his return from injury so will look to end the season strongly.

Another player who will look to conclude the campaign in the right way is Theo Hernandez, back from suspension. Stefano Sabelli will play right wing-back for Genoa per reports, so there should be an interesting duel on that side.

Theo has already surpassed last season’s tally in terms of league goals but he will look to add another today against an experienced opponent, with the European Championships just around the corner.

Tags AC Milan Milan-Genoa
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