The five key battles that could win or lose the game for Milan vs. Spurs

By Oliver Fisher -

Tottenham Hotspur and AC Milan will do battle in the English capital tonight and there can only be one winner with the Champions League quarter-finals at stake.

Milan take a narrow 1-0 lead into the second leg in north London thanks to Brahim Diaz’s goal in the opening few minutes, but a different challenge awaits tonight in front of 60,000+ expectant home supporters.

The game will be heavily influenced by the outcome of some key battles across the pitch, the first of which might be the most crucial. Harry Kane is the top scorer in Tottenham’s history all competitions with 268 goals, and he has scored 20 times this season across all competitions. He was kept quiet by Simon Kjaer in the first leg and now German U21 captain Malick Thiaw will be called upon in his biggest test so far after an impressive first few starts in the three-man defence.

Moving into the midfield, Sandro Tonali was asked to deal with Pape Matar Sarr in the first leg and this time he will face a tougher task in stopping Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg from controlling the tempo of the game. The Dane missed the first leg and his return is a huge boost for Conte, who has often had to field a makeshift double pivot given Rodrigo Bentancur’s injury.

Just as it was in the first game, the battle between Rafael Leao and Cristian Romero down Milan’s left side will be worth watching. The Portuguese winger is currently embroiled in a renewal saga and part of that is down to the big pay rise he wants, so this is a good time to prove his worth against the Argentine, who has met Leao a few times before during his season-long loan deals at Genoa and Atalanta.

Switching wings, Junior Messias should come up against Ivan Perisic having seemingly made the right wing-back spot his. Spurs are likely to try and build down that side with Davies and Son behind and in front of Perisic, who has 8 goal involvements in 17 games against the Rossoneri all from his time with Inter.

The final battle involves Olivier Giroud – who will lead the line for Milan again after shrugging off flu earlier in the week – against Clement Lenglet. The former Arsenal and Chelsea striker has been directly involved in six goals for Milan in the UCL so far this season, while he has a 75% shot accuracy rate which is the best among players to have 15+ shots in the competition, and he faces a centre-back who wouldn’t normally be first choice.

Tags AC Milan Tottenham Milan

1 Comment

  1. I love how Messias is the out and out RWB starter after 2 goals… I’d rather see salad or even dest. Honestly I’d rather none of them but it’s what we have…

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