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Chelsea vs AC Milan preview

The 2022 Champions League has taken off and it has begun in some style. From routine victories to giant killings, fans have witnessed it all in just the first 2 matchdays of Europe’s prestigious competition.

With international football coming to an end for one last time before Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup begins, club football is back in full force. Chelsea salvaged a 90th-minute winner away at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace, with their young midfield dynamo Connor Gallagher providing the goods from the bench. The Blues haven’t had a great start in the Champions League, with just a point in their bag after matches against Dinamo Zagreb and RB Salzburg. Potter meanwhile, has got off to a decent start at Chelsea with a draw and win in his first 2 matches, and the Stamford Bridge outfit will be eager to get things back on track in the Champions League with a win against AC Milan.

Chelsea’s opponents AC Milan on the other hand, have had a stuttering start themselves for someone who stormed to the 2021/22 Serie A title last season. The current league table would suggest the San Siro outfit have had a decent start but scorelines haven’t been justified by the Italian outfit’s recent performances. Stefano Pioli’s men sit 4th in the Serie A table and 1st in Champions League Group E after a win and draw from their first 2 matchdays. The match against Chelsea will be the first real test of strength and character for the reigning Italian champions in the UEFA Champions League.

The two teams haven’t met on a competitive stage since the turn of the century, with only a handful of friendlies played between them. The last time these 2 teams faced each other competitively was in the Champions League itself, with both fixtures ending in a draw. Overall, the two teams have faced each other 5 times, with Chelsea and AC Milan both picking up 1 victory each and settling for 3 draws.

This time around, the narrative isn’t much different, with both teams on an equal foothold and this encounter promises to be a thriller.

Chelsea vs AC Milan team news

Chelsea will be without their No.1 keeper Edouard Mendy who isn’t fit enough to start against AC Milan. Expensive summer recruit Marc Cucurella is also a 50-50 who missed the weekend clash against Crystal Palace.

N’Golo Kante might be fit enough to make it to the Chelsea bench after he suffered a hamstring injury against Spurs back in August. Another summer signing, Carney Chukwuemeka is facing a spell on the sidelines, and will probably be sitting this one out as well.

Chelsea predicted starting lineup: Kepa, James, Koulibaly, Fofana, Chilwell, Kovacic, Gallagher, Mount, Sterling, Havertz, Aubameyang

AC Milan on the other hand are going through somewhat of an injury crisis. Similar to Chelsea, the Milan outfit will be without their first-choice goalkeeper Mike Maignan. Defence is the area that has been affected by injuries the most for Stefano Pioli’s men. Kjaer, Florenzi, Calabria and Theo Hernandez are all out of the clash against Chelsea and it will be a strength of their depth for AC Milan.

Up in attack, Ibrahimovic and Belgian winger Saelemaekers are facing a spell on the treatment table and will be a huge miss against the Blues.

AC Milan predicted starting lineup: Tatarusanu, Ballo, Tomori, Gabbia, Dest, Tonali, Bennacer, Leao, De Ketelaere, Brahim Diaz, Giroud

 

Gamechangers

Chelsea haven’t had a star man in particular when it comes to plain numbers. Summer signing Raheem Sterling has scored 3 goals in all competitions for them, while 7 players share the 2nd spot with 1 goal each.

It has been the same old sorry story for the Blues, with their lack of cutting edge in the final third, proving to be their Achilles heel. Potter will be hopeful that Aubameyang’s weekend goal against palace will help the Gabonese kickstart things from here and will be able to punish the injury-sticken AC Milan defence.

 

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Stefano Pioli and AC Milan have had to rely on the goals of Leao and Giroud this season, with both the players joint-top with 4 goals for the San Siro outfit. Pioli will hope that his star attackers produce the goods on one of the most important nights of their season.

Meanwhile, Tomori would be expected to marshall an injury-hit backline and will have to be on alert at all times, with Chelsea ready to pounce on any half-chances given to them.

Chelsea vs AC Milan prediction

It is going to be an important match for both sets of players. Chelsea will want to get off the mark in the group with a first win of the season in the Champions League. AC Milan will want to assert authority on their first-place position with a win over Graham Potter’s Chelsea, but life won’t be made easy for Pioli’s men with Chelsea’s attack slowly beginning to gel.

This match is going to be full of goals with injuries and form a huge concern for both teams. A win will help boost confidence for either club and prospects of qualifying for the Round of 16. FootTheBall predicts Chelsea 4-2 AC Milan.

 

Arnold Lewis
A hardcore Chelsea fan, who is often found playing football on the weekends. He has an exceptional voice and his rendition of old Hindi classic songs will make your heart melt. He is the man with the funky hair.

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