AC Milan face the trip to the Stadio Olimpico to face Lazio tonight hoping to end a run of four straight games without a win in all competitions.
A 2-1 win against Salernitana to begin 2023 has been followed up by a 2-2 draw against Roma, a 1-0 Coppa Italia defeat to 10-man Torino, a 2-2 draw away at Lecce and a 3-0 loss in the Supercoppa Italiana against Inter in Saudi Arabia, so a response is needed.
The game against Maurizio Sarri’s men could well be decided by some of the chessboard-esque duels that take place across the field, starting with the one between Rafael Leao and Manuel Lazzari. Leão was directly involved in a goal in both matches against Lazio last season en route to becoming Serie A MVP, and he will face off against Lazzari who will be tested defensively and cannot expose Casale.
Moving to the midfield, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic seems back to his best with 13 goal contributions in 24 games this season so far, and he will be the main supply to Lazio’s front three. He will battle with Ismael Bennacer who will also look to dictate the tempo of Milan’s play but perhaps more importantly shield a back four which has struggled in 2023 so far.
Perhaps the most intriguing will be the contest between Olivier Giroud and the former Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli. The centre-back said earlier this week that he expected more clarity from the Rossoneri over his future before he left for his boyhood club on a free transfer, and he will have the task of stopping Giroud who has not scored for six games, his longest drought since joining.
We end with the two main defensive duels that Milan face, as Mattia Zaccagni and Felipe Anderson have scored in their last two league matches with the latter filling in admirably during Ciro Immobile’s absence. Davide Calabria will try stop his compatriot down the right side, while Anderson is likely to target Pierre Kalulu who had a rough last outing against Lecce. A clean sheet simply must arrive soon.