AC Milan vs Juventus: Three key players to look out for

The Hard Tackle lists three players who can singlehandedly influence the tie when AC Milan and Juventus clash at San Siro on Sunday.

Club football has resumed with a bang following the culmination of the international break. The Premier League has served us two cracking derbies, But the biggest fixture of the weekend comes from Italy, with AC Milan and Juventus locking horns in the latest installation of the Derby D’Italia at San Siro on Sunday night.

AC Milan and Juventus have started the 2023/24 season well, with the Rossoneri, in particular, making a splash. While Stefano Pioli’s men suffered a heavy defeat to Inter Milan a few weeks ago, they have won every other match to rise to the top of the table ahead of Matchday 9 of the new campaign.

On the other hand, Juventus, fresh off a financial scandal, entered the ongoing term knowing they only had domestic competitions to feature in this season. Massimiliano Allegri’s men have blown hot and cold but currently sit in the third spot on the Serie A table.

So, heading into the game against AC Milan, the Bianconeri will be eager to pull the gap to the top of the table. Meanwhile, considering the stature of the fixture, small margins and performances by a few players can swing the pendulum in a team’s favour. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle lists three such stars who can singlehandedly influence the tie this weekend.

Tijjani Reijnders

Summer signings have had a transformative effect on AC Milan in the early days of the 2023/24 season. One of those players is Tijjani Reijnders, who arrived from AZ Alkmaar and has become a mainstay in the middle of the park.

The Dutchman is a versatile midfielder who can reprise defensive and offensive roles from the middle of the park. That versatility makes Reijnders the X-Factor in the AC Milan midfield while capturing the attention of high-profile suitors like Manchester United.

As for what he will bring to the table on Sunday, the 25-year-old can read the game well to shut out the threat of the mercurial Juventus attack. In addition, his proficiency on the ball will enable him to dominate the proceedings and pull the strings from the middle of the park.

In addition, he will not give away cheap fouls while linking up play strongly from the centre of the pitch. So, if Reijnders rises to the occasion, Juventus will have to break many stones to get anything out of the game.

Dusan Vlahovic

The next player on our list has rediscovered his form in the early days of the 2023/24 season, enabling Juventus to rise to the third spot on the Serie A table. We are talking about the resurgent Dusan Vlahovic.

The Serbian international endured a dreadful 2022/23 campaign, managing a mere 14 goals across all competitions. So, it was hardly surprising that Juventus had no qualms about cashing in on him in the summer transfer window.

But Vlahovic’s reinvigorated form has changed Juventus’s stance, with the Bianconeri hesitant to part ways with him anytime soon. But that has not stopped prospective suitors, with Real Madrid, Arsenal, and Chelsea keen on signing him in January.

Meanwhile, the 23-year-old will aim to bully the AC Milan defence if his teammates can link up with him. Getting past the home team’s midfield unit will be a tall order for Juventus. But Vlahovic will be in contention to deliver the goods if his teammates can step up. In addition, he will also be eager to break his duck at the Giuseppe Meazza, where he has yet to score a goal.

Christian Pulisic

Will Pulisic make his mark for AC Milan against Juventus? (Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images)

We spoke about summer signings transforming AC Milan in the first two months of the 2023/24 season. And no player has been more pivotal for the Rossoneri in the first few weeks than Christian Pulisic, who has resurrected his stuttering career at San Siro.

The USMNT international was a lost soul at Chelsea in the last two seasons, with his career going nowhere. But the move to AC Milan has brought the best out of him, with the player forging an excellent offensive partnership with Rafael Leao.

Such has been Pulisic’s impact at San Siro that he has arguably been AC Milan’s best player thus far this term. And the home team will blow Juventus out of the park if the 25-year-old delivers the goods with his directness in the final third.

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