Here’s everything you need to know about tonight’s Europa League clash between Celtic and AC Milan away at the San Siro.
On Thursday evening, Celtic face the stern task of going to the San Siro to play Italian Serie A table-toppers AC Milan, having already exited the Europa League. Neil Lennon will be targeting an end to the Hoops’ disastrous run of form, which seen his side register just two wins in ten fixtures prior to the tie.
Shane Duffy will be monitored after sustaining a knee injury. Also, Christopher Jullien looks doubtful after recently returning from long-term back issue. The Celtic medical team will be keen to keep an eye on in order to avoid a repeat scenario in upcoming fixtures.
Mohamed Elyounoussi will not make the journey to Milan due to a knock suffered earlier this week while James Forrest remains out. However, Jeremie Frimpong returns to the Celtic squad after suspension ruled him out of Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Ross County in the Scottish League Cup.
Ruled out: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Samu Castillejo, Rafael Leao.
Possibly returning to squad: Alexis Saelemaekers, Ismael Bennacer.
AC Milan have made a blistering start in Serie A this campaign, currently sitting five points clear at the top of the league after nine games.
Undoubtedly, the Rossoneri have been excellent in attack scoring 21 goals in 9 league games. Coupled with conceding less than a goal every 90 minutes on average, Stefano Pioli’s men will be a dangerous proposition for what is a Celtic side in terrible form.
Moreover, AC Milan have made steady strides in European competition this season. Sitting second in Europa League group H on seven points; a victory against the Hoops, will clinch qualification to the last 32 of the competition for the Italian giants.
Celtic – L-W-D-L-L (1-4 vs Sparta Prague, 4-1 vs Motherwell, 2-2 vs Hibernian, 1-4 vs Sparta Prague, 0-2 vs Ross County)
Truthfully speaking, Celtic have been abysmal for long periods of this season. 13 goals conceded in the last 5 games for the Hoops, indicates an evident lack of confidence at the back.
Changes in formation, personnel and suspensions in these positions have pounded upon the Celts’ defensive woes. Going forward, 8 goals in 5 fixtures is nowhere near good enough for a club of Celtic’s stature, especially against relatively low-calibre opposition.
Neil Lennon will be keen to see an offensive resurgence from his creative players. Ultimately, the trip to Italy offers a low-pressure environment for the likes of Odsonne Edouard and Ryan Christie to showcase their capabilities against quality opposition.
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AC Milan – L-D-W-D-W (0-3 vs Lille (H), 2-2 vs Hellas Verona (H), 3-1 vs Napoli (A) 1-1 vs Lille (A), 2-0 vs Fiorentina (H)
Despite only winning 2 games from the previous five, AC Milan have garnered some commendable results within this run of games. Particularly, the 3-1 triumph away to Napoli illustrates exactly how accomplished a side the Italian giants have become once again.
Although not the finished article, there is a growing consensus within Italy that they could be set to challenge Juventus for the title. Only time will tell whether they can end the Turin club’s dominance over Italian football.
Here’s hoping Celtic can go to Milan and secure a positive result, which could kick-start momentum ahead of crucial league fixtures inside the Christmas period.