AC Milan host Torino at San Siro tonight looking to make the Coppa Italia quarter-finals for the 14th straight season in a row.
It will not be a straightforward task however as Milan have already been beaten this season by Torino in the league, and the game is likely to be largely determined by a number of different individual battles across the park.
We start with the one between Charles De Ketelaere and Perr Schuurs. The Dutch defender has actually been linked with Milan in a couple of recent transfer windows but he is now establishing himself with the Granata, and he will aim to stop De Ketelaere getting his first goal for the Rossoneri operating as a false nine of sorts.
At the other end of the field, Matteo Gabbia will have to try limit the influence of Antonio Sanabria. The Paraguayan striker has three goals in the league this season and is a constant aerial threat, while Gabbia must put the collapse against Roma – that came from two crosses – behind him and focus on a clean sheet.
There could be a fascinating battle down Milan’s left flank involving Sergino Dest and Wilfried Singo. The former will be on his non-natural side as a wing-back and will be given a tough examination by the pacey and powerful Singo, who has not always been a regular starter under Ivan Juric.
In midfield, there will be an all-Italian battle between Tommaso Pobega and Samuele Ricci. Pobega spent last season out on loan with the Granata where he occupied a number of different positions down the middle, but tonight he will face Torino looking to limit Ricci’s ability to dictate the tempo of the game from that deep-lying playmaker role.
Finally we come to Pierre Kalulu against Nikola Vlasic. The Croatian playmaker has been playing off the striker mostly this season which is why he is Toro’s top scorer with four goals, and Kalulu will have to watch his movement closely from the back three. Vlasic was of course extensively linked with a move to Milan and will be up for proving a point tonight.