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AC Milan

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

AC Milan will look to continue their positive start to their Champions League campaign when they face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge tonight.

The Rossoneri have a number of injuries to deal with as the defensive department has been largely wiped out with Mike Maignan, Davide Calabria, Alessandro Florenzi, Simon Kjaer and Theo Hernandez all out. Alexis Saelemaekers and Junior Messias will also miss the game, as will Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

With that said, the game tonight should be decided by some key duels starting with a former Milan man in Thiago Silva aiming to stop a former Chelsea man in Olivier Giroud. The two veterans will do battle with plenty of Champions League experience under their belt, as the French striker looks to add to his five goals this season so far.

Rafael Leao will be under the spotlight given the links with a move to Chelsea that intensified towards the end of the summer. He has four goals and seven assists across all competitions, and will take on Chelsea’s big-money centre-back signing Wesley Fofana who is still finding his feet after joining for €82m from Leicester (via SI).

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In midfield, Jorginho‘s influence in Chelsea’s build-up play will be absolutely crucial and Milan are opponent that he knows well from his time at Napoli. Charles De Ketelaere will have to be good at putting pressure on him while also attempting to drag him out of position with his movements.

Chelsea are expected to line up in a 3-4-1-2 formation with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang facing his former club, something which presents a big test for Pierre Kalulu. The Gabon international got off the mark with a goal against Crystal Palace at the weekend and will be looking to follow that up.

Finally, there will be plenty of pushing forward from Chelsea’s wing-backs and that is why Ben Chilwell versus Sergino Dest could be a pivotal battle. Dest is playing due to Calabria and Florenzi being out while Chilwell has impressed since coming back from a long-term injury.

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