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

By Ben Dixon -

AC Milan will welcome Bologna to the San Siro this evening and look to win their fifth successive game in the same season for the first time since the end of the 2021-22 season.

After the game – and events – that happened in Udine last weekend, Milan have proved themselves to be a strong squad that faces adversity, on and off the field head-on. With that, there can be confidence that the side can now push forward to try and end the season on a high.

The game against Bologna is huge for several reasons. Whilst the Rossoblu have been extremely strong this season, they have faced a rough patch in recent weeks, failing to win in their last four games across all competitions.

As a result, the Rossoneri must capitalise, and these are the five battles that could be decisive.

The first key battle will be between Matteo Gabbia and Joshua Zirkzee. The Dutch forward has been extensively linked with a move to the Rossoneri, but it is hoped he will be kept quiet in this fixture.

He commonly attacks the right-hand side of defences, so it may be likely that Gabbia and Simon Kjaer switch sides, given the Italian will be more able to compete with Zirkzee’s pace.

Next up, Olivier Giroud versus Sam Beukema. The French striker has refound his best self in the past two games, scoring once (but with 1.65 xG, he is proving to be a danger) and assisting twice. As a result, the Dutch defender will face a huge challenge, especially with Jhon Lucumi out.

The next battle will be between Tijjani Reijnders and Lewis Ferguson. The Dutchman has been the Diavolo’s unsung hero this season and provides a certain guise and flair to Stefano Pioli’s squad.
However, with Zirkzee attacking the right-hand side of defences, Ferguson often drifts forward and attacks the left side, which could force Reijnders to play a more defensive game.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek will face a challenge going against Remo Freuler. The Swiss midfielder has gone under the radar in Motta’s side this season and has got back to his best in Serie A.

If the Englishman can get the better of the Nottingham Forest loanee, though, you have to feel like Milan’s chances increase.

Finally, Lorenzo Di Silvestri will have to try and stop Rafael Leao, and this is arguably the biggest battle of the game. With Stefan Posch suspended, there can be arguments made that Pioli’s side may have the upper hand, but the Italian veteran will be no pushover.

As such, Leao, who has to start producing more for the side, has to make the most of his speed and be the danger Milan fans know him to be.

Tags AC Milan Milan Bologna
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