Serie A

Juventus vs. AC Milan: Predictions for Top Stars in Action

Juventus and AC Milan meet on Sunday for a game that is vital to each side's title hopes.
Juventus and AC Milan meet on Sunday for a game that is vital to each side's title hopes.Dino Panato/Getty Images
Aidan ReynoldsContributor IIIOctober 6, 2013

AC Milan travels to Juventus on Sunday. Both teams have injury problems and will rely on big performances from their top stars.

Milan hope to end the home side's unbeaten start to this year's Serie A campaign. There is currently an eight-point gap between the two clubs, which makes this fixture vital.

Below are three players who must step up in order to ensure victory for their respective sides. Each could be the spark that ignites the team. But not all will be able to summon the will.

 

Carlos Tevez, Juventus

Carlos Tevez is Juve's top scorer this year with three goals, but he has failed to find the target in his last three matches. That stat doesn't matter as much as it would with other players because Tevez's contributions elsewhere make up for it.

The Argentinian has remarkable stamina and can often be seen falling back into midfield to help with the link-up play and give his teammates some assistance in developing an attacking move.

A good display from Tevez is essential if Juventus are to emerge victorious. He has shown no signs of disappointing during his short reign at the club.

Expect him to deliver in front of a home crowd and help widen the gap between the two sides.

Riccardo Montolivo returned to action against Ajax.
Riccardo Montolivo returned to action against Ajax.Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

 

Riccardo Montolivo

Returning from injury in the 1-1 draw with Ajax, much will be demanded of Milan captain Riccardo Montolivo as he is welcomed back to Serie A action.

Montolivo is a key cog in the Milan machine. Without Mario Balotelli to rescue the side, it could fall upon the midfielder's shoulders as captain and creative engine.

Milan have conceded too many goals this season, and have been particularly poor from set pieces. If that continues, even a stellar captain's performance won't be enough to salvage a result from this fixture.

 

Andrea Pirlo

As his career moves into its final stages, Andrea Pirlo has drifted back in the midfield to occupy a very Italian regista position at Juventus. Operating just in front of the back four, Pirlo still has the vision and skill to direct the attack and play a vital role in the Juve midfield.

It will likely fall to Nigel De Jong to try to reduce the impact of Pirlo on the game. Having coached him at Milan, Massimiliano Allegri will have some ideas about how to contain him.

Man-marking him seems the obvious answer, staying close and denying him room to pick apart the Milan defence. Pirlo has been absent in big games before, and was notably upstaged by Montolivo last year.

De Jong has perhaps the most important job on the field. If he can get the better of Pirlo, the game will be Milan's for the taking. Unfortunately, all it takes is one moment for Pirlo to split a couple of defenders with a pinpoint pass.

Expect the Italian master to take his opportunities.

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