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

By Oliver Fisher -

Juventus and AC Milan will renew hostilities at the Allianz Stadium tonight in what is a huge game in the quest to secure second place in Serie A.

It could be argued that this could not be a worse time for Milan to play Juventus given the recent defeats against Roma and Juventus have dented confidence and there is a selection crisis in defence, but a response is needed otherwise second could slip away too.

The outcome will be heavily influenced by some key battles, and it feels like most centre around how the Rossoneri’s makeshift defence holds up, with Dusan Vlahovic expected to come up against Matteo Gabbia.

Vlahovic is the only player to have reached double figures for goals in 2024 in Serie A (10 goals in 12 appearances). He has never faced Milan at the Allianz Stadium in Serie A, while with Fiorentina he was involved in four goals in four home matches against the Rossoneri in Serie A (2 goals and 2 assists). Gabbia, though, has been impressive since his January return.

At the other end, there will be a renewed duel between Olivier Giroud and Gleison Bremer. Giroud scored the winning goal in the same game last season and could become the first Milan player to score in each of his first two away games against Juventus in the competition since 1994-95.

It is looking like being the last Juve-Milan game for the 37-year-old as a new adventure in the MLS awaits, while Bremer has largely been the rock of the Bianconeri defence and he too is being heavily linked with a summer exit.

Federico Chiesa has been involved in six goals against Milan in Serie A (three goals and three assists), against no side has he been involved in more in the competition. He will be trying to get the better of Malick Thiaw who will be the right centre-back.

Chiesa has not been involved in a goal in his last four games against Rossoneri in the competition, but it must be said that Thiaw has been very shaky since recovering from his injury problem earlier this year, even if he has earned links with Real Madrid.

According to what is being reported, Max Allegri is expected to field Andrea Cambiaso in a midfield role alongside Manuel Locatelli and with Tim Weah at wing-back, which means he is likely to come up against Tijjani Reijnders.

The Dutch midfielder is often at the heart of Milan’s build-up play and his runs could cause problems, yet he also has the responsibility of helping to shield a patchwork back four and Cambiaso’s deployment in an unusual role may bring surprises.

Finally, we come to Rafael Leao against Federico Gatti. The Portuguese winger is under pressure after anonymous performances against Roma and Inter, so he must show that he can be the man for the big games.

Meanwhile, Gatti has become a bedrock of the Juventus defence and plays on the right of the three. He will have fewer tougher examinations than today, providing Leao shows up of course.

Tags AC Milan Juventus-Milan
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