After a poor performance on Saturday evening, Milan are under pressure to bounce back, against Scottish champions Celtic. The pressure is already mounting on Allegri, and with half of his squad missing for the game on Wednesday, the task could not be more taxing.
The Rossoneri are under no illusions that a tough match faces them tomorrow evening when they face Celtic tomorrow, but they also know that if they can live up to their potential a win should be easily possible. Max Allegri faces yet another selection headache, with at least ten of his players out injured. Milan’s Injury Crisis is not becoming any easier, and with at least four first team players out injured, Milan will have to introduce some squad players in a hope that they can replace them well. With only fourteen first team players available for the match tomorrow, Allegri has called up Primavera players Luca Iotti, Alex Pedone, Zan Benedicic and Andrej Modic, who are all extremely likely to start on the bench. With little choice over the starting eleven, Allegri only has two doubts and that is whether to field Emanuelson or Constant at left back, and Birsa or Robinho as the trequartista.
Celtic are in a healthier position than Milan with only three players definitely ruled out, although Joe Ledley is also doubtful for the match according to manager Neil Lennon. Milan might have a lot of players out injured, but unsurprisingly Neil Lennon managed to pin point the difficulties Mario Balotelli will pose for the Glaswegians: “Balotelli is a fantastic footballer. I also saw Saturday’s game, he is very strong. He’s fast and he always makes trouble for the defenders. He is young and he has a long road ahead of him.” These were just some of the words he used to describe the Azzurri striker during his pre-match press conference.
This might be game one of six for Milan, but it is already a must win, as Celtic are theoretically their easiest opponents, with Ajax and Barcelona in Group H alongside them. Vice-President Adriano Galliani has said that he expects over 60,000 people at the San Siro tomorrow, and that will be a huge boost for a side that is already struggling in the 2013-14 season.
AC Milan Probable Lineup – Manager: Max Allegri
Abbiati – Zaccardo – Mexes – Zapata – Emanuelson – Nocerino – De Jong – Muntari – Birsa – Matri – Balotelli
Battles: Emanuelson 60% – Constant 40%, Nocerino 70% – Poli 30%, Birsa 55% – Robinho 45%, Matri 55% – Robinho 45%
Celtic Probable Lineup – Manager: Neil Lennon
Forster – Lustig – Dijk – Ambrose – Izaguirre – Boerrigter – Brown – Kayal – Samaras – Commons – Pukki
Battles: Boerrigter 70% – Matthews 30%, Pukki 70% – Stokes 30%
WEDNESDAY 18 SEPTEMBER 2013 – 19:45 – SKY SPORTS 2