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

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan get their 2022-23 Serie A season back underway after the midweek break with a game against Salernitana on Sunday afternoon.

Milan will be hoping to brush off the disappointment of some worrying results in the winter friendlies that they played knowing there is a chance to gain ground on Inter, Napoli or both given they face each other later tomorrow.

The game against Davide Nicola’s side will be heavily influenced by some key battles in each department, starting with the one that will see a recharged Rafael Leao take on Salernitana’s right centre-back Dylan Bronn. Leao will be hoping to keep up his excellent form from the first part of the campaign and will look to cause problems for the Tunisia international who played twice for Tunisia at the World Cup and has shown excellent discipline, given he has just one booking in 15 games thus far.

There is another World Cup themed storyline at the other end of the field, where Fikayo Tomori will look to shake off the disappointment of not being called up by Gareth Southgate by stopping Boulaye Dia, who scored for Senegal in Qatar and is the Granata’s top scorer with six Serie A goals this season.

Moving to the midfield, there should be an interesting duel between Ismael Bennacer and Tonny Vilhena. Both players are absolutely crucial in dictating what tempo their side play at, so whoever comes out on top in the middle of the park could well go on to pick up all three points.

It will be the battle of young versus old in the Salernitana box as the 21-year-old Flavius Daniliuc will be tasked with keeping the 36-year-old Olivier Giroud quiet. The Frenchman is back from an excellent World Cup in which he scored four times, and he will want 2023 to follow an excellent last calendar year.

Finally, two Frenchmen will go head-to-head when Junior Sambia of Salernitana faces off against Theo Hernandez. Like Giroud, Theo had a very positive World Cup with Les Bleus and he will face the double task of keeping the 26-year-old Sambia quiet while also pinning him deep and creating space for Leao.

Tags AC Milan Salernitana Milan

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