- Hosts Tottenham Hotspur will have to come from behind in their Champions League last 16 second leg against Milan with a host of injury issues impacting the squad if they are to progress.
- The visitors could be without first leg hero Brahim Diaz who is struggling with a knee injury.
- Both sides head into this one on the back of defeats and have been impaired by inconsistent form all season.
Injury issues continue to affect the Spurs midfield and they will be without Rodrigo Bentancur and Yves Bissouma for the second leg. The pair also missed the first leg due to respective knee and ankle injuries and are set to miss a significant period of football.
Although, a positive is that Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is expected to feature after missing the first leg through suspension. He will likely partner Oliver Skipp in the middle of midfield.
Hugo Lloris will be absent once more for Spurs after suffering knee ligament damage and is not expected to return until the end of the month. Fraser Forster will continue in between the sticks.
Eric Dier had been a mainstay in defence for Antonio Conte’s side but he will be missing for this one due to suspension. Clement Lenglet will likely join Cristian Romero and Ben Davies at the back. Ryan Sessegnon will also remain out due to a thigh injury.
Visitors Milan are also expected to be dealing with a number of selection issues ahead of a gigantic tie for the Rossoneri. Diaz was absent for their 2-1 defeat away to Fiorentina at the weekend due to a knee injury and will remain a big doubt ahead of Wednesday’s clash.
Rade Krunic will be expected to return to the middle of midfield after missing the Fiorentina match due to suspension. However, Sandro Tonali and Ismael Bennacer are the favoured pairing so it will be interesting to see how coach Stefano Pioli decides to set up his team, especially away from home with a one-goal advantage.
Milan’s squad will also take a hit since Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Aster Vranckx, Yacine Adli, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Sergino Dest are all unavailable for selection after not being registered for the Champions League squad.
Champions League Form
Milan looked as though they would be able to get their season back on track after recording a vital 1-0 home win over Spurs in the first leg. Diaz scored the only goal of the game at the San Siro in a match where the visitors struggled to create.
The narrow victory for the Rossoneri last month hands them a slim one-goal advantage as they now travel to North London for the return leg but they will be full of confidence after securing their first ever win over Spurs. The first leg victory also extended Milan’s winning run in the competition to three matches, having defeated both Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb 4-0 to conclude their Group E fixtures.
Spurs were on a four-match unbeaten run prior to the defeat at the San Siro and were undefeated at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the group stages. That will give them confidence that they can turn this tie around here.
UCL 22/23 Key Stats:
Goals For: Spurs 8, Milan 13
Goals Against: Spurs 7, Milan 7
Both Teams To Score %: Spurs 42.9%, Milan 28.6%
Over 2.5 Goals %: Spurs 28.6%, Milan 57.1%
February’s meeting between Spurs and Milan was their first in competitive action since 2011. The English side were victors last decade after picking up a 1-0 win at the San Siro, with the reverse leg at White Hart Lane finishing 0-0.
Milan would be happy with a repeat of the away leg this time around, however, since they head into the second leg with the advantage. Historically, meetings between the two sides have failed to yield many goals.
The two teams also met in the 1972 UEFA Cup semi-finals where Tottenham again would prevail. Only one match in history between Spurs and Milan has resulted in over two goals - the first leg back in the 70s which ended in a 2-1 win for the Lilywhites.
Inconsistency remains the main theme for both Spurs and Milan in their respective domestic campaigns. The first leg win for Milan seemed to spark a return to their pre-World Cup form as they would go on to win their next two matches, keeping clean sheets in both.
Nonetheless, they failed to defeat Fiorentina last Saturday and suffered a 2-1 loss in what was an abject performance from Pioli’s men. The Rossoneri’s away form continues to be a problem and they have recorded just two wins in their last 11 matches on the road.
Tottenham returned to winning ways after the 1-0 defeat away to Milan, also keeping two clean sheets in as many games as they defeated London rivals West Ham and Chelsea 2-0. However, two defeats have followed, both away from home, losing 1-0 to Sheffield United in the FA Cup, before suffering a 1-0 defeat away to Wolverhampton Wanderers last time out.
Prediction & Suggested Bets
Spurs 1-1 Milan @ 6/1 We are expecting a cagey affair at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Wednesday evening, with neither side at full strength or playing at their best. Milan will be cautious as they aim to protect their lead, whilst Spurs know they have to score to get back into the tie. We’re tipping Milan to just about come away with the aggregate win.
Malick Thiaw To Be Carded @ 4/1 The 21-year-old has started to settle in well as part of the three-man defence for Milan but did start to look a little shaky away at Fiorentina. He has received a yellow card in all three of his last matches so looks good value to pick another one up here.
Harry Kane To Score or Assist @ 8/11 With Heung-Min Son out of form, Kane is the main source of goals for Tottenham. The England forward has 20 goal contributions in 26 league appearances so far this season and has either scored or assisted in all three of Spurs’ last home games. They know they need a goal and we expect Kane to have a hand in it.
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