Player Focus: Gianluigi Donnarumma

On Saturday, Milan will host first place Juventus at the San Siro looking to slow down the scorching hot Bianconeri who are honing in on their fifth consecutive league title. While both clubs come into this tie in vastly different form, there is one matchup in particular that fans of both clubs will be eyeing: the keeper duel between Gianluigi Donnarumma and his idol Gianluigi Buffon.

Back in November on Matchday 13 of Serie A play, Massimiliano Allegri’s side hosted the Rossoneri in the confines of Juventus Stadium, edging Siniša Mihajlović’s group 1-0 thanks to a Paulo Dybala goal. This was also the first matchup between the 17-year old Donnarumma and the aging – yet still elite – Buffon. Despite the 38-year old getting the better of the youngster, it was clear from his performance in between the pipes that Donnarumma was ready for top-tier football. Donnarumma performed to 7.5 match rating, via Who Scored, making four saves.

After the final whistle blew, both keepers shook hands, exchanged kind words and of course swapped kits.

Juventus v AC Milan - Italian Serie A
Football Soccer – Juventus v AC Milan – Italian Serie A – Juventus stadium, Turin, Italy – 21/11/15 Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon (R) embraces AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma at the end of the match REUTERS/Giorgio Perottino

***Prior to their first meeting, we highlighted the two generations of “Gigio” which you can read here***

For Saturday, Milan will call on their tall, confident teenager shot-stopper to be on his best like he has for the entire season. Despite the shakiness in the back all season long, Donnarumma has been unfazed by the pressure he’s received. In 23 Serie A matches, the under-21 Azzurrini starter has allowed 0.82 goals/match, via transfermarkt, but has tallied eight clean-sheets in his debut campaign in Italy.

While those numbers are impressive, it’s worth mentioning that they do not do Donnarumma justice; the kid has been as consistent as they come in net. In fact, he’s been nearly as good for Milan as Buffon has for Juventus despite the ex-Parma man having the superior supporting cast covering him. Who Scored has compared the two men in goal below:

Donnarumma has been forced into bailing out his side more than Buffon the entire campaign, with an average of 2.5 saves/match to the older Gigio’s 1.9. Of course, this isn’t to say that Buffon hasn’t been tested; it’s merely just a statistical comparison. Take from it what you may.

Saturday marks the second meeting between the keepers this season, but it won’t be the last as both Milan and Juventus will duke it out at the Stadio Olimpico next month for the Coppa Italia final.

For more articles like this, follow us on Twitter or like our Facebook page. This post is our first this weekend ahead of the tie between Milan and Juventus with Serie A Scouted (serieascouted.wordpress.com). Be sure to check out their pre-match piece here.

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