During the past week, Juventus have began their long journey of redemption with a domestic victory over Bologna followed by their maiden European win of the campaign at the expense of Maccabi Haifa.
But is it a genuine restoration, or simply another false dawn painted easy victories against humble opponents?
Well, we won’t have to wait too long to figure out the answer for this one, as Saturday’s San Siro clash will serve as a real test for the Old Lady’s prowess.
With both sides missing key figures, it will be interesting to see which tactician will prevail with the limited options at his disposal.
So let’s take a look at three possible keys to victory for Max Allegri in what should be a thrilling battle between Milan and Juventus.
Solidify the Right Flank
With the Serie A MVP tag slapped on his back, you don’t need scouts to tell you that Rafael Leao is the most dangerous weapon in the Diavolo’s arsenal.
With Theo Hernandez likely returning to action just in time for the encounter, Pioli’s left flank will be devastating to say the least.
Therefore, Allegri will have to counter it by fortifying his own right lane with solid players who can limit the threat of the Portuguese star and the French fullback.
Of course we’re primarily talking about Danilo who must return to his original role at right-back, perhaps with Juan Cuadrado offering him some support.
Expose Pioli’s Weak Side
With Alessandro Florenzi and Davide Calabria both out for a considerable amount of time, Sergino Dest became next in line for the right-back berth.
Now surely the Barcelona loanee isn’t a slouch by any means, but the early signs in Milano haven’t been exactly positive.
Filip Kostic should put his superior experience and talent to good use and expose the Rossoneri’s supposed weak side.
With Arkadiusz Milik hopefully returning in time to resume his partnership with Dusan Vlahovic, Juventus will have two big centre forwards spearheading their lineup against Milan’s shorter centre backs (especially Pierre Kalulu).
Obviously, height is only one factor amongst many in the sport, but it definitely serves well in air duels.
Hence, the Bianconeri should try to take advantage of their tall strikers by providing them with precise crosses inside the opposition’s box – but at the same time, we must avoid becoming too predictable by over-relying on the same weapon.