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

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan face off against Atalanta this evening at San Siro knowing that a win would be a huge step towards potentially winning the title.

The game will be conditioned by a number of key battles across the park, starting with the one that will see Hans Hateboer try and keep Rafael Leao quiet. The Portuguese winger caused havoc in the win over Hellas Verona, setting up Sandro Tonali twice, while the Dutch full-back will be part of a back four and must try hold up when left in isolation.

Sandro Tonali will likely occupy the double role of being the deep-lying playmaker against La Dea but also the shield in front of the back four, and he will have to be on his toes to ensure Teun Koopmeiners is not given time and space to operate. The Italian netted a brace in the win over Verona, while the Dutch midfielder is on four goals for the season.

Luis Muriel is a player that Milan know well given he is in his third season in Serie A now, and after scoring 22 times in the last campaign he has 9 goals this time around having struggled more with injuries. Fikayo Tomori will have to make sure the Colombian is not given a sniff of goal, with four clean sheets in a row at San Siro a record Milan want to build on.

Berat Djimsiti is likely to be the man tasked with keeping Olivier Giroud quiet, with the Frenchman having scored all bar one of his goals at San Siro this season. The Albanian centre-back can be considered a Serie A veteran (he is in his fifth season in Italy) so it will be the battle of two experienced players.

Finally, Davide Calabria will be given a tough examination on the right flank by Jeremie Boga, who the Rossoneri were repeatedly linked with signing before the Ivorian went to Bergamo. Calabria has passed many tests this season but Boga will want to open his scoring account for Atalanta.

Tags AC Milan Milan Atalanta
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