Unfortunately for Juventus, a disastrous Monday saw the club drop from second to seventh in the Serie A table. If the 10-point deduction wasn’t enough to blow the team out of the Champions League race, the embarrassing 1-4 defeat in Empoli certainly did the trick.
Nonetheless, the Old Lady must not despair, as we still have two matches to contend before the end of what has been a chaotic season, including an interesting clash against Milan on Sunday night.
When it comes to Max Allegri’s ploys, we all know the drill by now. He’ll probably deploy a cautious approach where his players sit deep and try to expose their foes on counter-attacks. We don’t expect any dramatic changes at this late stage of the season.
So what about Stefano Pioli’s maneuvers? What should we expect from the Rossoneri? And what are the most dangerous aspects of their game?
The Left Flank
When discussing Milan’s most threatening facets, we can only start with their devastating left flank. While some sides have one menacing force on the left wing, the Rossoneri are blessed with two.
In the current day and age, Theo Hernandez might just be the most explosive left-back in the game, while Rafael Leao is simply unplayable on his day.
Therefore, Juan Cuadrado must be at his best to strengthen the defensive fortress, while this could be Federico Gatti’s chance to prove that he belongs to this level.
While the left front remains Milan’s most dangerous, the Rossoneri can also utilize it to draw as many opponents as possible, which would subsequently leave the other flank exposed. This is known as the overload/underload maneuver.
Thus, the Bianconeri must also keep a close eye on the Diavolo’s right flank which also features threatening players like Junior Messias and Alexis Saelemaekers who can make the difference if afforded with enough space.
The Diaz Factor
Although he remains in Rafael Leao’s looming shadow, Brahim Diaz is gradually cementing himself as one of the best attacking midfielders in Italian football and beyond.
Moreover, the Spaniard has a knack for scoring screamers against Juventus, so Manuel Locatelli and Adrien Rabiot must attempt to close all the pockets around the box where Diaz likes to lurk, because when granted space and time, he can always inflict damage either by picking up the likes of Leao and Olivier Giroud or even by going to the goal himself.