AC Milan - Anderlecht Preview: Allegri in desperate need of a win against Belgian champions
The Rossoneri are reeling after another home defeat in Serie A, so they will be desperate to alleviate the pressure on their coach by kicking off their European campaign
By Alec Fenn
Abate, Bonera, Acerbi, Antonini
Ambrosini, Boateng, Nocerino
Pazzini, El Shaarawy
Odoi, Wasilewski, Deschacht, Safari
Gillet, Biglia, Kanu, Yakovenko
Mbokani, De Sutter
AC Milan will be without Riccardo Montolivo for Tuesday night’s Champions League Group C clash with Anderlecht.
The Italy international, who joined the Rossoneri from Fiorentina during the summer, was forced to sit out last weekend’s defeat at home to Atalanta with a knock picked up in the win at Bologna. It had been expected that Montolivo would be available for the visit of Anderlecht, having played a full part in training on Sunday, but under-fire coach Massimiliano Allegri has decided against taking a risk on the midfielder.
On the plus side, Massimo Ambrosini is fit to face the Belgians after recovering from the injury which forced him off against Atalanta.
Meanwhile, with Brazilian striking duo Alexandre Pato and Robinho still out of action, Allegri must decide whether to hand Bojan Krkic his first start for the club or again go with Stephan El Shaarawy and Giampaolo Pazzini in attack. Elsewhere, Antonio Nocerino could also be recalled in midfield.
As for Anderlecht, who are returning to the Champions League group stages for the first time since the 2006-07 season, have no fresh injury concerns as they look to inflict a third successive San Siro defeat on Milan, following the Italian outfit’s shock Serie A losses to Sampdoria and Atalanta.
However, Matias Suarez, last year’s Belgian player of the season, was left out of John van den Brom's Champions League squad after undergoing knee surgery, while Milan Jovanovic misses out through suspension.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- AC Milan have gone on to win the European Cup on the two previous occasions that they have run into Anderlecht: 1993-94 and 2006-07.
- During the latter campaign, Kaka, who very nearly rejoined Milan during this summer’s transfer window, was the difference between the two sides, scoring the only goal of the game in Brussels before then hitting a hat-trick in a 4-1 victory at the Giuseppe Meazza.
The Rossoneri are featuring in the group stages for the 10th time in 11 seasons and you have to go all the way back to 1999-2000 for the last time they failed to make it through to the next round.
Anderlecht are bidding to win their first game on Italian soil at the 15th attempt.
- John van den Brom made his final European appearance as a player in former club Vitesse’s Uefa Cup first-leg clash with Inter at San Siro during the 2000-01 season.
- Anderlecht progressed to the group stages courtesy of a 3-2 aggregate success over AEL Limassol FC.
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Top 3 Predictions
AC Milan 2-0 Anderlecht
- 24.41 %
AC Milan 3-0 Anderlecht
- 14.32 %
AC Milan 2-1 Anderlecht
- 9 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 21, 2012||Anderlecht 1 - AC Milan 3|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Sep 18, 2012||AC Milan 0 - Anderlecht 0|
|Mar 8, 2014||Udinese 1 - AC Milan 0||ITA1|
|Mar 2, 2014||AC Milan 0 - Juventus 2||ITA1|
|Feb 23, 2014||Sampdoria 0 - AC Milan 2||ITA1|
|Feb 19, 2014||AC Milan 0 - Atletico Madrid 1||UCL|
|Feb 14, 2014||AC Milan 1 - Bologna 0||ITA1|
|2||Mattia De Sciglio||Defender|
|34||Nigel De Jong||Midfielder|
|92||Stephan El Shaarawy||Striker|
|21||Tom de Sutter||Striker|
With Milan having failed to register in their two previous home games so far this season, they could really do with their principal creative force stepping up to the mark on Tuesday evening. While Kevin-Prince Boateng was denied by the woodwork in the Serie A opening-day defeat to Sampdoria, the trequartista was strangely subdued in last weekend’s loss to Atalanta. If Milan are to register their first win at San Siro of the current campaign, they need the Ghanaian on top form.
Despite being heavily linked with both Real and Madrid and Arsenal this summer, as well as expressing his desire to move on, Lucas Biglia remains an Anderlecht player. A star of the 2005 Fifa Under-20 World Cup, the Argentine is widely regarded as one of the best defensive midfielders currently plying his trade outside of Europe’s big leagues. This game represents a golden opportunity to prove what all of the fuss is about and secure him that long sought-after transfer to an elite outfit.
Clearly still coming to terms with the loss of so many star players and legendary figures over the summer, Milan have, the win in Bologna aside, performed dismally thus far this term.
Consequently, a fixture which would previously appeared straightforward, now looks very tricky indeed. Certainly, a trip to San Siro will hold no fear for Anderlecht.
However, one suspects that Milan might just have a little too much quality for their Belgian opponents and will nick a narrow win.