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

MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 02:  Mario Balotelli of AC Milan #45 and Gonzalo Rodriguez of ACF Fiorentina during the Serie A match between AC Milan and ACF Fiorentina at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on November 2, 2013 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images
Matteo BonettiContributor IJanuary 11, 2017

Milan will travel to the Artemio Franchi on Wednesday to take on a Fiorentina side that has virtually nothing left to play for in Serie A.

The way the Coppa Italia is set up means Fiorentina's position in Serie A is now irrelevant. The winner of this cup is granted a Europa League berth.

Since Napoli is already in third place and would go to the Champions League, Fiorentina would get the Europa League by default even if they did not win the competition.

On the other hand, the Rossoneri are desperately trying to salvage a lost season and go into the summer with any reason for optimism.

Clarence Seedorf is winless in his last four Serie A matches and will look to finally get three points after a draw last weekend against Lazio.

Every single member of Milan's organization has come under fire at different points of the season, and it's one of the darkest years in memories for a club that has such a storied past.

With that being said, let's take a look at some of the tactical battles and storylines that will shape this clash:

Matri to play against old team

After a lengthy layover, Mario Gomez has once again been injured. He has sustained damage to his collateral ligament in his knee and will miss the next three to four match days.

After a hyped summer move from Bayern Munich, the German striker hasn't been able to build any semblance of continuity. 

This means that Milan's most expensive summer signing will play from the start against the Rossoneri. Alessandro Matri will spearhead a Viola attack that prioritizes possession and has the personnel to send plenty of quality balls into the box.

Seedorf to make other wholesale tactical changes

Seedorf is still trying to decipher which formation and groups of players will work best, and wholesale changes are expected around this Milan side.

Adel Taarabt is expected to start once again for Milan
Adel Taarabt is expected to start once again for MilanAntonio Calanni/Associated Press

According to La Gazzetta, the attack will be led by Robinho and Adel Taarabt. The latter hasn't been used since he was taken off at halftime in the Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid

It's been mysterious situation involving Taarabt, who certainly hasn't been benched because of his lack of effort. If anything, he has been Milan's best performer this calendar year since coming over from Fulham.

Robinho, on the other hand, has seldom been used for the past few seasons and really isn't part of the core of Milan's team anymore.

The ultimate possession battle

The most fascinating aspect of this match is that it involves two teams that want to play aesthetically pleasing possession football. Fiorentina have excelled at experimenting with their own version of tiki-taka, as the likes of Borja Valero, David Pizarro and Alberto Aquilani have formed a great partnership in the middle of the park.

Borja Valero has been instrumental to Fiorentina's success
Borja Valero has been instrumental to Fiorentina's successFabrizio Giovannozzi/Associated Press

Milan, on the other hand, have employed a sloppier version of the possession game, which often results in lackadaisical passes back to one of the central defenders, who then boots it up field.

Fiorentina should have no trouble dictating the play in their own stadium but could get caught out on the counter.

In the end, expect Fiorentina to have the upper hand throughout the match. Milan's defense often leaves gaps wider than the Panama canal, and the Viola have a wealth of midfielders who are able to pick out the perfect diagonal run into the box.

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