AC Milan

Tactical Battles That Will Shape AC Milan's Clash with Juventus

TURIN, ITALY - OCTOBER 06:  Carlos Tevez (R) of Juventus FC competes for the ball with Cristian Zapata of AC Milan during the Serie A match between Juventus FC and AC Milan at Juventus Arena on October 6, 2013 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images
Matteo BonettiContributor IMarch 1, 2014

Milan will need to fully exploit any tactical deficiencies they can find on the Juventus lineup if they want to get a positive result and claw their way up the Serie A table.

As always with these two teams, pre-match statistics can be thrown out, as it's usually a heated affair that's decided by one goal or a poor refereeing mistake. 

Even though inexperienced, there's plenty of optimism around the Seedorf era at Milan
Even though inexperienced, there's plenty of optimism around the Seedorf era at MilanMarco Luzzani/Getty Images

Serie A fixtures are always a tactical affair, a chess match between two coaches who look to find the opponents' weakness under any circumstance.

Unfortunately for Rossoneri fans, coach Clarence Seedorf is still finding himself as a coach and growing pains will continue as he looks to morph the team into one that's capable of playing a highly offensive 4-2-3-1. 

With a plethora of interesting tactical battles and matchups, let's take a look at some of the ones that will most likely decide the outcome:

Rami vs. Llorente

Adil Rami has undoubtedly been Milan's best defender since joining from Valencia, and he'll be the man who has to defend the tower of Juventus known as Fernando Llorente. The hulking Spanish striker has 10 goals in the season, with nearly half of them coming from headers.

Llorente and Tevez have become a formidable duo
Llorente and Tevez have become a formidable duoGabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Interestingly enough, one of Rami's best attributes is his ability to defend in the air. He did a great job against Diego Costa in the Champions League clash between Milan and Atletico Madrid.

Taarabt vs. Lichtsteiner

One of Milan's best weapons going into the match against the Bianconeri will be Adel Taarabt. The Moroccan playmaker has shined since joining from Fulham in the January transfer window, silencing plenty of critics who lambasted him for being lazy and disruptive.

Taarabt has spearheaded Milan's recent success
Taarabt has spearheaded Milan's recent successMarco Luzzani/Getty Images

Taarabt has been deployed as a left attacking midfielder in Seedorf's 4-2-3-1, so he'll most likely go up against Juventus' energetic right wing-back Stephan Lichtsteiner.

This battle on the flank will be telling of how Milan's chances will be, considering that Taarabt has been a catalyst in both scoring and setting up teammates since joining.

Seedorf vs. Conte

Antonio Conte has been coaching for nearly seven years after hanging up the boots and ending his illustrious career. Clarence Seedorf, on the other hand, has only a handful of matches under his belt as he transitions from being a player to pacing on the sidelines.

CoachWins (this calendar year)Draws (this calendar year) Losses (this calendar year) 
Clarence Seedorf513
Antonio Conte821

Conte's 3-5-2 remains unchanged, as it has been the blueprint for his success domestically. It must be noted that this scheme hasn't provided sparkling return in European competitions. 

Look for Juventus' midfield to overrun the possession-happy Milan, similar to the way Napoli did. Seedorf will once again try to use two or three attacking midfielders who aren't noted for their pace or work rate on the defensive end, and it could prove tricky against the box-to-box options at Conte's disposal.


Conclusion

This will be a match that will be won in the center of the park. Assuming a refereeing controversy doesn't take place, expect the possession to be split down the middle, with Milan taking plenty of shots from outside the penalty box.

Juventus, on the other hand, will like their chances against the porous Milan defense. The duo of Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez is tied for the highest scoring in Italy—with 24 goals—alongside Torino pair Alessio Cerci and Ciro Immobile. 

The absences of Mario Balotelli and Arturo Vidal weigh equally for both sides, as they've been focal figures of their respective teams.

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