The four key battles that could win or lose the game for Milan against Genoa

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan will make the trip around 100 miles south to Genoa looking to start a new winning run against Andriy Shevchenko’s side.

Milan were sitting well before the international break having won 10 of their first 12 Serie A fixtures to put them joint-top of the table along with Napoli but since then they have lost back-to-back games against Fiorentina and Sassuolo which has put them three points behind Napoli and the gap to Inter has been cut from seven points to one.

Tonight feels like a must-win therefore, and if the Rossoneri are to emerge victorious then they will have to win some key battles on the field, starting in the middle of the park. Two of Italy’s brightest young midfield talents face off in Sandro Tonali and Nicolo Rovella, the latter of whom broke out at Genoa and signed for Juventus in a €20m deal (via Wiki) over the summer before being loaned back. Both have had excellent starts to the season with both being touted as torch carriers for the traditional deeper-lying playmaker role.

There will be a battle of two veterans taking place in the Genoa defensive third at multiple points as the 40-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks to get one over on the 35-year-old Andrea Masiello, formerly of Atalanta. The Swede was kept quiet by Chiriches and Sassuolo at the weekend and will be looking for a sixth league goal (and possibly more).

There should be a fascinating duel down Milan’s right flank too where Junior Messias aims to keep up his bright recent form against the 21-year-old Andrea Cambiaso who should be on the left side of the midfield five. Aside from being Messias’ first start for the club, what makes this interesting is that Cambiaso continues to be repeatedly linked with a move to Milan.

Finally, there will be work to do for Milan in defence where two youngsters will tussle in Fikayo Tomori and Flavio Bianchi. The 23-year-old Tomori has returned from a hip injury and should be thrust straight back into the starting XI where he will face off against the highly-rated 21-year-old Bianchi who is leading the line in the absence of Destro and Caicedo, with a goal already to his name in 195 minutes of league action.

READ MORE: Di Marzio explains why Genoa game ‘comes at the right time’ for Milan after ‘deserved’ Sassuolo loss

Tags AC Milan Genoa-Milan
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