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AC Milan vs. Malaga preview
The Champions League resumes Tuesday with the start of Matchday four. Headlining the fixtures is AC Milan hosting Malaga in a crucial game for both sides. Milan could slip from 2nd to 3rd with a loss, having Zenit St. Petersburg pass them while Malaga could clinch a spot in the round of sixteen and top spot in their group if they win and Zenit drop points.
AC Milan enter the San Siro on a good run of form for once, earning a 2-2 draw at Palermo last Tuesday and a 5-1 win versus Chievo Verona on Saturday. After deploying three at the back against Malaga, Massimiliano Allegri will most likely revert back to four in defense after their dismantling of Chievo. With Luca Antonini and Djamel Mesbah out with injuries, Kevin Constant might get the start at left back with a center back partnership of Cristian Zapata and Philippe Mexes. Ignazio Abate should start at right back. Giampaolo Pazzini most likely will spearhead the attack in a 4-2-3-1 system with Stephan El Shaarawy, Bojan Krkic, and Urby Emanuelson as attacking midfielders going from left to right. Riccardo Montolivo and Massimo Ambrosini could be called upon to be the registi.
Malaga come into the game winless in their last three in all competitions. Manuel Pelligrini will try to make up for the league and Copa Del Rey woes by gunning for their fourth win in four games in the Champions League. Jeremy Toulalan and Nacho Monreal are nearing fitness but it’s unlikely that they’ll start as the club won’t want to rush them and further aggravate any issues. Eliseu could therefore continue to play at left-back, while Duda may replace Iturra in midfield and Roque Santa Cruz will hope to start up front after a surprise defeat at the weekend. Portillo could line up on the right, with Joaquin switching to the left and Isco deployed behind the central striker.
For Milan, it’s simple, they must go for three points tomorrow. If they fail to win, second place could be occupied by Zenit and with games against them and Anderlecht remaining, it might be an uphill battle for the Rossoneri to qualify for the first knockout round. Their biggest issue in the reverse fixture two weeks ago was their attack, it lacked cohesion, chemistry, and any general order. With the confidence of scoring five last weekend and coming back from 2-0 down on Tuesday, maybe the team is starting to gel up front.
As for Malaga, they need to put their recent problems in the league and cup behind them. They know what they have to do, just keep playing the way they have in the competition and don’t get complacent. The front three and Santa Cruz will be crucial, they only scored once at home despite all of their talents, so they’ll have to put on a better attacking performance because if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Milan the last week is that they still have the fight to get back up when they’re knocked down.
Kick off in this Group C fixture starts at 20:45 GMT. Don’t miss it!