Another match at San Siro and once again we are up against a Ligurian outfit but in a different competition and facing a different opponent. AC Milan v Spezia is a fixture to be taken with the utmost seriousness should AC Milan wish to continue their excellent start to the calendar year and add another three points to their tally. This will have to be done despite the absences and fatigue from extra time in the Coppa Italia. The match that kicks off tomorrow at 18:30 offers several interesting duels, including:
THEO HERNÁNDEZ v SIMONE BASTONI
A matchup that boats some impressive figures, even if it is no longer a battle between full-backs given Bastoni’s move into the midfield this season: two physical and highly-skilled left-footed players that always look to get forward. Theo's brace against Venezia encapsulated his excellent form, having scored nine goals for AC Milan in the first 21 matches of the season. The Frenchman is also the Rossoneri’s leader when it comes to assists (5) and fouls drawn (34). It has also been an impressive season for Bastoni, who leads for Spezia for the number of passes in the offensive half (451) and attempted dribbles (44). He has scored three goals this season, all coming away from home. The player from La Spezia also notably scored his first Serie A goal against AC Milan
MIKE MAIGNAN v IVAN PROVEDEL
Another duel with some outstanding figures is the one between the posts since the two goalkeepers are battling it out in the top 5 in the league for save percentage. 76% for the Frenchman of AC Milan, not far off the leaders Handanovič and Ospina; 72% for the Pordenone native, who has now cemented his spot in the starting line up for Thiago Motta's side, having convinced his manager to opt for him over Dutch international, Zoet. Provedel, a key player for the Ligurians in their away wins over Napoli and Genoa, was also between the sticks in the game last February, the only game he has played against AC Milan so far in his career.
PIERRE KALULU v KELVIN AMIAN
Two french full-backs (both right-footed), physical and pressing, who can also act as central defenders when needed. There is a lot in common between Kalulu and Amian, two players who have imposed themselves in recent weeks as strong options in their respective backlines. The Rossoneri player is likely to play another match as a centre back, a role that the La Spezia player stood in (in a three at the back set-up) during their victory against Napoli, the most prestigious scalp so far for Motta's team. Amian is also the team leader in tackles (36), a testament to the toughness of a player who has established himself through his consistent performances so far this season.
ALEXIS SAELEMAEKERS v EMMANUEL GYASI
Two 'Swiss army knives', all-rounders in the midfield, capable of filling several roles and, for this reason, regulars in their respective sides. 21 appearances in 21 matches for the Belgian from AC Milan, who also just scored his first career goal in the Coppa Italia against another Ligurian team - Genoa. Alexis is currently in excellent form, testified by his MVP award for the month of December. It has also been an excellent season for the Italian-Ghanaian, who has more minutes under his belt than any of his other teammates this season (1731 minutes) and has already scored three times this season (compared to the four he scored during the entire 2020/21 Serie A campaign).
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