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Key Battles and Prediction: AC Milan vs Newcastle United

AC Milan begin their Champions League campaign at home against Newcastle United as the Group of Death sets off. Sandro Tonali returns to face his old side and Stefano Pioli must respond after a heavy derby defeat.

Here are some key battles to look out for:

Key Battles

Central midfielder vs Central midfielder

Bruno Guimaraes vs Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Tonali is important in the midfield as is Longstaff but Guimaraes controls their build up. He is the one picking the passes and making the space for the attack. He is a brilliant footballer and one who can do it all on his own. He often creates chances and goals out of nothing and this is where we tend to get caught out. Loftus-Cheek was overwhelmed by the 5 midfielders in the derby but he will have more space to operate today. He needs to shut down the space so Guimaraes struggles to make things happen and equally must ensure we are deadly in transition.

Centre back vs Striker

Sven Botman vs Olivier Giroud

Botman was a concrete AC Milan target and his move fell off at the last minute. He opted for Newcastle and has been one of the best defenders in the league. Giroud is a tournament veteran and always manages to wiggle out of tight spaces to find the net. Giroud will be short on space given the tall defensive line of Botman and Schar but he will have a physical battle to break past the duo. Giroud delivered a great assist in the derby despite the heavy loss. Giroud has won the UCL and knows how to get through a tough group, he will need to be a leadership figure in this group of death.

Striker vs Centre back

Alexander Isak vs Fikayo Tomori

Tomori missed out of the derby and the defence was hung out to dry. Isak and Wilson off the bench are a menace with their speed, clinical ability and strength. Tomori will need to be careful with his high press as Isak can turn and can sprint down the lane if he is afforded the space. Tomori has an opportunity to make an impression against an English side to put himself on the radar of the national team fans and send a message to Southgate to get more minutes. Isak was a Milan target before he moved to England and with good reason as he has been an exciting striker to watch. Thiaw has shown he is still raw so it will be up to Tomori to call the shots at the back.


Guimaraes Winner

Giroud Winner

Tomori Winner


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