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

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan make the trip to face Fiorentina tonight at the Stadio Artemio Franchi hoping to make it five wins in a row in all competitions.

Milan’s record at the Franchi across all competitions is not great, with 27 wins in 88 matches and 36 defeats. In fact, they have only won away at Fiorentina twice since 2014 and will hope to do better than last season’s 4-3 defeat.

The outcome of the game will be heavily influenced by several key battles that will happen across the pitch, such as the one in midfield between Ismael Bennacer and Sofyan Amrabat. The latter rose to prominence after an excellent World Cup campaign with Morocco, while the Algerian is back from a month-long injury lay-off and hopes to return to being the engine of the team.

Arthur Cabral leads the way with five goals for Fiorentina plus one assist in the league and he has scored in the last couple of games, but he will come up against the man of the moment for Milan in centre-back Malick Thiaw who has become a bedrock of the three-man defence.

Moving to the other end, Ante Rebic will be called upon to demonstrate he should be a big part of Pioli’s plans as he will get the nod in place of the suspended Rafael Leao. The Croatian has not scored since the dramatic 3-1 win against Empoli, and he will come up against Fiorentina’s big-money summer summer signing Dodo.

There will be an interesting duel on the right flank between Junior Messias and Cristiano Biraghi. The right wing-back role is one that seems to be up for grabs at the moment – especially with Davide Calabria back – while Biraghi scored a screamer from the half way line against Verona last weekend and is a danger going forward.

Finally, Pierre Kalulu will try to stop Riccardo Saponara striking against his old club again. Saponara made his Serie A debut for Milan in October 2013, making eight appearances for the Rossoneri, and they are also the team against which he has scored the most goals in the top flight with four.

Tags AC Milan Fiorentina Milan
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