Milan will face AEK Athens tomorrow at the Olympic Stadium. Vincenzo Montella’s men will look to redeem themselves after a goalless draw against the Greek side two weeks ago at the San Siro.
Date: Thursday, November 2
Time: 19:00 CET
Venue: Olympic Stadium, Athens
TV Guide: beIN Sports 2, Sky Sport 1 HD Italia, BT Sport 3
The team cannot catch a break and after losing against Juventus last week, Montella’s position is at risk as never before. The former Fiorentina coach will have to return from Athens with three points and a convincing win to keep his hopes up high.
As in all almost all previous matches, Gianluigi Donnarumma will be present in goal ready to keep another clean shit against the Athenians.
At the back, Musacchio is set to return to the starting lineup, along with Bonucci, who has missed his last two Serie A games due to suspension, and Romagnoli. Fabio Borini will start once again, while Ricardo Rodriguez will play in his natural role as a left wing-back.
Lucas Biglia is out with an injury, with Manuel Locatelli taking his spot in the midfield. Riccardo Montolivo is also expected to be back in action from the first minute with Franck Kessie getting rest.
Up front, Hakan Calhanoglu will start as the trequartista (attacking midfielder) under duo Cutrone – Silva. Montella is therefore ready to introduce another variety of the 3-5-2 formation.
Called up players: A. Donnarumma, G. Donnarumma, Storari, Abate, Bonucci, Musacchio, Rodriguez, Romagnoli, Zapata, Borini, Calhanoglu, Kessie, Locatelli, Mauri, Montolivo, Zanellato, Cutrone, Kalinic, André Silva, Suso.
Probable XI (3-4-1-2): Donnarumma; Musacchio, Bonucci, Romagnoli; Borini, Montolivo, Locatelli, Rodriguez; Calhanoglu; Cutrone, Silva.
AEK Athens are one of the most successful clubs in Greece. They have won the Greek Super League eleven times, while winning the cup fifteen times.
The team is currently third in the Greek Super League standings, just two points from top of the league. Both teams also have a history of encounters against each other in European competitions.
The last times both teams met was two weeks ago at the San Siro. However, in the 2006/07 edition of the UEFA Champions League both teams faced off in the Group stage. As Milanisti know well, it was the season in which the Rossoneri went all the way to win their seventh CL trophy. In that season Milan beat AEK 3-0 at home, but lost 0-1 away.
LAST TIME OUT
Milan have been on a bad run of form in Serie A, which they confirmed on Saturday against Juventus. The Rossoneri lost 0-2 after Gonzalo Higuain netted a brace at the San Siro.
AEK, meanwhile, have won their last match in the Greek Super League. On Sunday, they prevailed away against Panionios 0-1, three days after thrashing Apollon Larissa in the Greek Cup.
With Suso being rested, Andre Silva is expected to be Milan’s danger man up front, with the support of Patrick Cutrone.
It would also be no surprise if Ricardo Rodriguez stepped up his game in his natural position, as it was quite evident that playing as a center-back isn’t exactly his cup of tea. It will also be interesting to see Hakan Calhanoglu in his most natural position as the attacking midfielder.
As mentioned in the previous preview, AEK Athens do not have any big stars in their team, but at the San Siro they showed that they can play good football. Most eyes will probably be on former Inter player Marko Livaja, who will definitely have special motivation against Milan tomorrow.
It is difficult to predict Milan’s results at the moment. However, from what I have noticed, away games seem to suit our team somewhat better, with less pressure than in the majestic San Siro.
I expect the team to show eagerness for qualification. In case of win tomorrow, qualification to the next round will be near certainty, which is why the players need to approach the match with utmost concentration.