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

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan will be looking to return to winning ways against Udinese tonight and put the disappointment of their draw against Salernitana firmly behind them.

Slip-ups from Inter and Napoli meant that the two dropped points last Saturday went unpunished, but it served as a reminder that every game provides challenges. There are some interesting sub-plots to tonight’s game which you can read about in our preview, while we have also picked out some key positional battles.

We start with the man of the moment in Rafael Leao who will be looking to cause problems down Udinese’s right side but particularly for Becao. If the Portuguese winger manages to get behind Molina and in isolation with the 26-year-old Brazilian he could add to his 10 goals this season, but an interesting stat is that Becao has scored two goals in his Serie A career, both against Milan (in August 2019 and in March 2021).

Then there is the double duel involving Milan’s centre-backs Fikayo Tomori and Alessio Romagnoli who will have to stop Beto and Gerard Deulofeu, with the pair on 15 combined league goals this season.

The movement of the Udinese pairing is fluid and while logic says to have Tomori track the quicker and trickier Spanish winger – who declared his love for the Rossoneri – they may target Romagnoli, who is one yellow away from being suspended for the Napoli game.

Then, there will be a lot of eyes on Franck Kessie‘s performance and he will have the task of neutralising Roberto Pereyra who is the creative outlet in the Bianconeri’s midfield three. The former Watford man returned from injury in the last game and if the Ivorian can keep him quiet, control of the midfield could well be assumed.

Finally, it is definitely worth mentioning that Brahim Diaz – who is without a goal since September and a home assist since early December – simply must get the better of Udinese’s deeper-lying midfielder Walace if Milan are to established a presence in the final third and break down their block.

The Spaniard’s levels have not been great recently it must be said, but if he can reignite that spark it brings the wingers either side into play and creates space for Olivier Giroud to try beat Arsenal loanee Pablo Mari and add to his tally of 10 goals at San Siro.

Tags AC Milan Milan-Udinese
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