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

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan are back in action after the international break and they face a tough test against Fiorentina at the Stadio Artemio Franchi tonight.

Milan will be looking to earn their sixth consecutive victory in all competitions which shows the upturn in form that they have had, but games in Florence are never easy as the recent record there shows.

There will be a number of key battles that will influence the outcome of the game, starting with the one between Nicolas Gonzalez and Alessandro Florenzi on the right side of Milan’s defence.

Milan must contain Gonzalez on Saturday evening, and the Argentine will fancy his chances against a makeshift left-back, considering he will not play on his favoured side. He has 10 goals this season already, but he did play for Argentina a few days ago so might not be as sharp as usual.

Another player that the Rossoneri must be aware of is Andrea Belotti. He has faced Milan the most of any side in his career, but he has six goals to show for it and will be looking to add to his record to assist his side’s chances of a European place at the end of the season.

It is likely that Fikayo Tomori will be tasked with picking up the Italian striker, and he is looking to continue his good form after returning from a lengthy injury absence to stake a claim for being in the England squad for the European Championships.

At the other end, Olivier Giroud will come up against Nikola Milenkovic. A lot of the stories this week have been about Giroud leaving the club and wants to end his time with a bang. He hasn’t scored in the league for 4 games (the last time being Monza-Milan 4-2 on 18 February) so he will aim to end that drought.

Milenkovic meanwhile is a Serie A veteran by now, having been there for over half a decade despite links with a number of top clubs, including Milan. There could also be a battle with his compatriot Luka Jovic should he come off the bench.

Moving into the midfield, there will be an interesting duel between Tijjani Reijnders and Arthur Melo. Reijnders will be full of confidence after shining for the Netherlands during the international break, and he will play alongside Ismael Bennacer as they look to keep building chemistry.

However, Arthur has rediscovered his form after a difficult few seasons and the Brazilian has now nailed down a spot in the double pivot of the 4-2-3-1 system that Vincenzo Italiano uses, so both players will have to contribute in each phase.

Finally, we come to perhaps the most fascinating battle of all on Milan’s left side where Rafael Leao will come up against Michael Kayode. Kayode is rightly regarded as one of the best young full-backs in the league, but this might be his toughest examination yet.

Leao has shown himself to be a real triple threat in 2024 because he continues to beat his man on the dribble, assist and score goals too. If he gets joy against Kayode, then it is good news for Milan.


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