First meets worst in Champions League Group F on Tuesday evening, as section leaders Paris Saint-Germain travel to San Siro to meet winless AC Milan.
Les Parisiens took control of the close-knit group with a 3-0 crushing of the Rossoneri two weeks ago, leaving their hosts at risk of a premature exit from European football entirely.
Not the first team to succumb to a Warren Zaire-Emery masterclass this season, AC Milan were run ragged by the highly-rated 17-year-old when they butted heads with PSG a fortnight ago, as Kylian Mbappe and Lee Kang-in both benefitted from assists from the talented teenager on the evening.
Randal Kolo Muani also breached the Milan backline in a comprehensive 3-0 trouncing of Stefano Pioli‘s side, whose domestic fortunes have also suffered a nosedive as winter draws nearer, with no wins in any of their last three Serie A battles either.
Milan could be forgiven for losing to Juventus via a deflected Manuel Locatelli goal, but Pioli’s men then threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with under-performing champions Napoli before succumbing to a Roberto Pereyra penalty in a shock 1-0 home loss to Udinese at the weekend.
From conceding just one goal in six matches from September 19 to October 7 – including goalless Group F draws with Borussia Dortmund and Newcastle United – Pioli’s hitherto staunch men have now let in seven strikes across their last four games, and defeat would leave their top-two hopes hanging by the thinnest of threads if one of Dortmund or Newcastle win at the Signal Iduna Park.
As things stand, though, the two-point Rossoneri are within touching distance of the German giants and the Magpies, but it is now five Champions League games without a goal for the seven-time winners, who are at risk of drawing a blank in three successive top-level European home contests for the first time ever.
Making amends for their 4-1 humiliation at the hands of Newcastle United, PSG – who also have a two-goal success against Dortmund to their name – can officially eliminate Milan from top-spot contention by repeating their previous success over the off-colour Italian troops, and the form book weighs heavily in the visitors’ favour.
After setting up two goals versus the Rossoneri and blasting home a rocket of an opener against Brest, Zaire-Emery made Europe stand up and take notice once again during Friday’s visit of Montpellier HSC, netting his side’s second goal either side of efforts from Vitinha and Kang, who is equally proving his worth to Les Parisiens since his summer arrival.
While Milan are unable to buy a goal at the moment, PSG enter Tuesday’s tie on the back of a fantastic five-game victorious run, scoring three goals in each of those contests while conceding just three in total along the way, temporarily stealing top spot in the Ligue 1 table from Nice in the process.
Enrique’s charges cannot seal qualification to the knockouts no matter what transpires this week, though, and PSG have just two wins to show from their last 10 Champions League away contests; in addition, not since beating Istanbul Basaksehir 2-0 in October 2020 have they kept a European clean sheet on the road.
However, PSG have already broken one unwanted streak in this season’s Champions League, having failed to win any of their four previous meetings with Milan before October’s three-goal thumping, and the French champions are now seeking their fifth win on the trot over Italian opposition.
Milan’s downturn in form has coincided with a hefty injury list, as defender Pierre Kalulu has been ruled out for four months following an operation on a tendon injury, while fellow centre-back Simon Kjaer also missed the Udinese loss with a muscular concern.
Marco Pellegrino (heel), Marco Sportiello (calf), Ismael Bennacer (knee) and Mattia Caldara (ankle) are also out of action for the ravaged Rossoneri, who additionally had to make do without Theo Hernandez at the weekend after the Frenchman sustained bruising to his ankle.
Pioli is hopeful that Hernandez will be able to shake off his affliction in time for Tuesday’s contest, while Samuel Chukwueze and Christian Pulisic could also make their comebacks here following precautionary rests over the weekend.
PSG were also hit with a fresh defensive blow before taking on Montpellier, as Danilo Pereira was revealed to have suffered a hamstring injury, which will keep the versatile Portuguese sidelined until the conclusion of November’s international break.
Nuno Mendes (hamstring), Sergio Rico (head trauma) and Presnel Kimpembe (Achilles) will not be making their comebacks just yet either, while Marco Asensio‘s foot injury and Keylor Navas‘s back concern should also keep both men unavailable for the time being.
Nordi Mukiele was a surprise inclusion at left-back last time out, but Lucas Hernandez ought to return to an otherwise unaltered XI ahead of a potential reunion with his Rossoneri-clad brother.
AC Milan possible starting lineup:
Maignan; Calabria, Tomori, Thiaw, T. Hernandez; Musah, Reijnders, Loftus-Cheek; Pulisic, Giroud, Leao
Paris Saint-Germain possible starting lineup:
Donnarumma; Hakimi, Marquinhos, Skriniar, L. Hernandez; Dembele, Ugarte, Zaire-Emery, Lee; Kolo Muani, Mbappe
We say: AC Milan 0-2 Paris Saint-Germain
A slice of unwanted history appears destined to be written for Milan on Tuesday night, where another fruitless evening in the Champions League is in store against a goal-happy Paris Saint-Germain crop.
A handful of changes from Saturday’s dampening defeat could help Milan keep PSG at bay for a while, but the Ligue 1 holders should find their way through on more than one occasion to maintain or increase their advantage at the top of Group F, while keeping a rare Champions League away clean sheet to boot.
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