Sandro Tonali vs Manuel Locatelli
These two know each other pretty well after spending time together in several Azzurri squads last year and both have enjoyed fantastic seasons at their respective clubs. The return of Sandro Tonali is a massive boost for Milan after he served his one-game suspension in the Spezia defeat.
Tonali’s play since arriving at Milan has debunked the lazy comparison that he’s the second coming of Andrea Pirlo. There’s much more Gennaro Gattuso to his game. He’s a gritty, relentless midfielder with the technical ability of a seasoned regista.
On Sunday, he’ll see plenty of his compatriot, Manuel Locatelli, and although this duel won’t be a one-vs-one match-up, the performances of both players will go a long way in shaping their respective side’s collective display.
With Allegri unlikely to start Arthur Melo despite his impressive form, Juventus need Locatelli to establish some control in the middle of the park. The Italian, who performed superbly from a more advanced role against Sampdoria, is expected to return to a deeper-lying midfield function on Sunday and his technical security will be pivotal in beating Milan’s press.
Locatelli needs to get on the ball, but Milan’s man-orientation will make things tricky. Thus, Juventus must show variation in the build-up phase. They must interchange positions to confuse Milan and gift Locatelli some space. Otherwise, he’ll be marked out of the contest, possibly by Tonali but more likely the number ten, and Juve will be forced long. The Bianconeri won’t be able to control the game and they’ll likely succumb to sustained Rossoneri pressure.
Locatelli is pivotal to Juve’s chances of success on Sunday, as is the all-action Tonali to Milan.