After successfully managing to make it out of the round of 32 in the Europa League Milan will head to Old Trafford, the football stadium of dreams to take on English giants Manchester United. Both sides sit in second place in the table of their respective leagues after some quite thrilling performances. Manchester United has been eliminated in four out of five knockout games between them and the Rossoneri of Milan. Though that statistic may favor Milan, however, in the last 7 round of 16 games, Milan has played they have been eliminated 6 times, the only time the Rossoneri advanced was in 2011/12 which they triumphed over Arsenal. The last meeting between Manchester and Milan was in 2010 where the red and black faithful suffered a heavy blow defeat from United losing 4-0
Milan is coming off an impressive 2-0 away at Verona in which Rade Krunić and Diogo Dalot impressed with a good performance from the pair grabbing a goal each leading the team to victory. Should Milan come out to play with the same effort and mentality as they did over the weekend they could surprise many but Milan isn’t the only one coming off a good game that brings momentum because United beat their Rivals 2-0 but that victory came with a price. Marcus Rashford one of United’s best players ended up accumulating an injury that will prevent him from featuring against Milan. Pioli has a difficult task at hand fielding his team with an injury list of Ismaël Bennacer, Mario Mandžukić, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Theo Hernandez, and Ante Rebić. Though injuries are prevalent here is how the Rossoneri could potentially lineup:
Milan (4-2-3-1): G. Donnarumma, Calabria, Tomori, Kjaer, Dalot; Meïte, Kessié; Saelemakers, Diaz, Krunić; Leão.
The key for the Rossoneri in the fixture will be their defense and midfield it is important for both of these areas to be aware of the physical matchup for this game and how speed will be important on defending counter-attacks. Milan must do their absolute best to try and grab an away goal that would be massive for the second leg. Gianluigi Donnarumma gets an opportunity to perform against a top European side and prove his talent. Though the rumors of his contract renewal may be a distraction he must be hungry for a big performance. Davide Calabria and Dalot will be looking the help the team with their runs up the pitch to send in crosses. Dalot facing his primary team will be looking to put on a show. Fikayo Tomori and Franck Kessié will be extremely important when it comes to defending on Milan’s part of the pitch both have excelled in ball retention and 1 on 1 duels completing successful tackles to strip the opponent of the ball. Rade Krunić must continue on the good he has shown Milan fan’s he was almost sold before the season started but now has settled into the team and has something to prove. He must continue the attacking efforts he has shown in previous matches that can create valuable opportunities for Milan. Every player must step up to the plate to have a collective performance that could launch Milan one foot into the next round of the Europa League.