Key battles that can make or break the AC Milan-Lazio clash
Sportsbet.io takes a look at the biggest player battles that are sure to keep the fans on the edge of their seats on Sunday night at the San Siro Stadium as AC Milan host Lazio.
In one of the most crucial fixtures in Serie A, AC Milan are armed and ready to host Lazio in the comfort of their home. Lazio have maintained an impeccable record at home this season, but the picture is a little hazy in conditions away from home. This could be AC Milan’s chance to get hold of the situation and impose a world of hurt on the visitors.
Lazio are coming into the encounter on the back of a 4-0 triumph over Genoa and have the advantage of momentum on their part with their star striker, Ciro Immobile firing on all cylinders. The Rossoneri, meanwhile, earned their maiden victory of the Stefano Pioli era at SPAL, and now occupy the 10th spot in Serie A.
Despite an away fixture, Lazio are likely to spell an end to AC Milan’s momentary happiness. The fixture is bound to be pulsating, but these battles will surely leave you fixated on your television sets.
THEO HERNANDEZ vs CIRO IMMOBILE
AC Milan’s left-back, Theo Hernandez has cemented his position in the team and has earned the confidence of his manager, Stefano Pioli with two goals and an assist in six outings in the league. A robust full-back, Hernandez is known to make lung-bursting runs and can trackback quickly to avoid a counter-attack.
Given the fact that he will come face to face with Lazio’s goal-scoring machine, Ciro Immobile, his significance has only heightened. But the task of containing Immobile who has already scored 12 goals in 10 outings will be monumental. Lazio’s number 17 is expected to deliver once again in hostile conditions at the San Siro and Hernandez will have to give it his all to stop a lethal forward.
FRANCK KESSIE vs SERGEJ MILINKOVIC-SAVIC
Two midfield generals, Franck Kessie and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will take guard in dictating the tempo of the game. However, Kessie is more of a box-to-box midfielder who is willing and has been making the long runs and tackles to win the ball. Savic, on the other hand, is instrumental in providing assists and has already made three of them in the league.
Both these players have been regular starters for their respective teams and Milan’s poor show in the midfield has been rectified to a certain extent by the presence of Kessie. Both Savic and Kessie will need to enhance their roles on the night to see their teams through.
KRZYSZTOF PIATEK vs FRANCESCO ACERBI
In a classic battle of offence and defence, the Rossoneri’s forward Krzysztof Piatek will have a go at Lazio’s central defender Francesco Acerbi. Piatek has been vocal about how he wants to score innumerable goals and given the scale of the competition against a fifth-placed side in the league, the Polish striker will look to net as many goals as possible on the night.
Piatek has three goals in his tank so far in Serie A and the 24-year-old’s acceleration might just hinder Acerbi’s resolve on the pitch. However, Acerbi will be confident after scoring a stunning long-range goal in a 4-0 victory over Torino.
Words: Ritvik Mawkin