UCL preview: AC Milan vs. PSG – Team news, opposition insight, stats and more

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan entertain Paris Saint-Germain in a showpiece European fixture at San Siro on Tuesday night, hoping to right some of the wrongs from their first meeting.

PSG ran out 3-0 winners in the game at the Parc des Princes last month as Kylian Mbappe, Randal Kolo Muani and Lee Kang-in scored in what was in the end a very comfortable victory for Luis Enrique’s side.

Stefano Pioli admitted in his pre-match press conference that his side have not been at the levels required and he took some responsibility for that, but now it’s time for everyone to show their worth.

Game date: Tuesday, November 7
Kick-off time: 21:00 (CEST)
Venue: San Siro
Referee: Gil Manzano Jesus (VAR: Fernandez)

Milan have once again had to navigate an injury crisis at a key point in the season, but there is some positive news in view of this game, at least compared to Saturday’s loss.

Theo Hernandez missed the game against Udinese due to sustaining a bruised ankle so Alessandro Florenzi started, while Simon Kjaer had muscle discomfort, Christian Pulisic and Samuel Chukwueze remained out and Ruben Loftus-Cheek was only fit enough to come off the bench.

Theo, Pulisic, Chukwueze, Loftus-Cheek and Krunic – who came off at half-time due to a muscle issue that was more a precaution – all trained with the rest of the squad at Milanello on the eve of the game and therefore should be fit.

However, Marco Pellegrino, Mattia Caldara and Pierre Kalulu remain long-term absentees at centre-back while Kjaer is not expected to recover. Jan-Carlo Simic cannot be called up (read why here) so Primavera duo Dorian Paloschi and Clinton Nsiala are likely to be the only reserve options.

In terms of team news, it is expected that Mike Maignan will be in goal with Davide Calabria, Malick Thiaw, Fikayo Tomori and Theo Hernandez as the back four, marking the first time the ‘first choice’ rearguard has been together in five games.

The current prediction is that Loftus-Cheek and Tijjani Reijnders will get the nod as the two mezzali either side of Rade Krunic, while Pulisic will come back in to join Olivier Giroud and Rafael Leao in attack.

Probable Milan XI (4-3-3): Maignan; Calabria, Thiaw, Tomori, T. Hernandez; Loftus-Cheek, Krunic, Reijnders; Pulisic, Giroud, Leao.

The opponents

We gave a summary of PSG’s summer overhaul in our preview for the reverse game, and since that match they have climbed one place to second in the table after back-to-back wins against Brest and Montpellier (2-3 and 3-0 respectively).

That win against Montpellier on Friday was the fifth game in a row they have netted three goals, with the added boost of Marquinhos returning from a knock that kept him out of the line-up meaning they are able to field the same team as in the reverse game.

However, there was one injury blow for Enrique as Danilo Pereira suffered a hamstring injury which will keep the Portuguese defender sidelined until the conclusion of November’s international break.

Nuno Mendes (hamstring), Sergio Rico (head injury) and Presnel Kimpembe (Achilles) will not be available, while Marco Asensio has a foot problem and Keylor Navas has a back issue which should keen them sidelined.

Against Montpellier, Enrique decided to field Nordi Mukiele at left-back though it is expected that Lucas Hernandez will come back in to face his brother, joining up with Hakimi, Skriniar and Marquinhos at the back.

In midfield the trio should be Zaire-Emery, Ugarte and Vitinha again after they passed the test against Milan the first time around, with Dembele, Kolo Muani and Mbappe tipped to be the front three.

Probable PSG XI (4-3-3): Donnarumma; Hakimi, Skriniar, Marquinhos, L. Hernandez; Zaire-Emery, Ugarte, Vitinha; Dembele, Kolo Muani, Mbappé.

Head to head

Milan have played PSG five times in their history across all competitions and the most recent meeting was their first defeat.

The first two games came in the semi-finals of the 1994-95 Champions League, in which the Rossoneri won the first leg in Paris 1-0 thanks to Zvonimir Boban’s injury-time goal, then emerged 2-0 victors at San Siro with Dejan Savicevic scoring both.

The other two games against PSG were in the 2000-01 group stages and both ended 1-1. Anelka cancelled out Leonardo’s opener at San Siro, while at the Parc des Princes Jose Mari’s 90th-minute goal denied PSG after Laurent Robert’s opener.

Match facts…

➤ Milan’s 3-0 loss in the reverse fixture was their first ever defeat against Paris Saint-Germain, having won two and drawn two of their first four meetings.

➤ Having won just two of their first 20 meetings with Italian sides in all competitions (D9 L9), Paris Saint-Germain have now won their last four against Serie A opponents.

➤ Milan have now failed to score in their last five UEFA Champions League matches, extending their longest run without a goal in their European club competition history.

➤ Paris Saint-Germain have lost their last two away games in the UEFA Champions League (0-2 v Bayern Munich and 1-4 v Newcastle). The last time they lost three in a row away from home in the competition was between December 2017 and September 2018, between spells by Unai Emery and Thomas Tuchel.

➤ Milan are winless and have failed to score in their last two UEFA Champions League home games, losing to Internazionale in last season’s semi-final (0-2) and drawing 0-0 with Newcastle last time out. They have never previously failed to score in three consecutive home games in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League.

➤ PSG have scored in their last 47 group stage games in the UEFA Champions League – the longest such run in the competition’s history – since a 1-0 loss to Real Madrid in November 2015 under Laurent Blanc.

➤ Despite having had the fifth highest number of shots in the UEFA Champions League this season (50), Milan are one of two teams (along with Benfica) yet to score in the competition this term.

➤ Milan’s Rafael Leão has attempted more take-ons following a ball carry (moving 5+ metres with the ball) than any other player in the UEFA Champions League this season (15).

➤ PSG’s 17-year-old Warren Zaïre-Emery has provided more assists than any other player in the UEFA Champions League this season (3). He’s also the first player to provide as many as three assists in the competition before turning 18.

➤ Achraf Hakimi has played 16 line-breaking passes to Ousmane Dembélé in the UEFA Champions League this season; the most from one Paris Saint-Germain player to a teammate. Five of those 16 line-breaking passes have led to a shot, which is also the most between teammates for the French side.

Ones to watch

Every defeat is a lesson, but Milan must learn pretty quickly from the 3-0 schooling in Paris to try and do better this time. Starting from the back, Calabria and Tomori are likely to face the task of doubling up on Mbappe again, and he can simply be afforded no time and space to shoot.

On the left side Theo and Leao simply must raise their game having been sub-par for weeks, then the midfield battle was bossed by the Parisians last time so Loftus-Cheek’s physicality will be key, as will Pulisic’s creativity on the right.

PSG might not have the same star power now as they did with Neymar, Messi and co. but they are arguably now deeper and more team-oriented. Mbappe is obviously the main threat as one of the best players in the world, but Kolo Muani has been a fantastic link-up forward for him to play off.

Ugarte appears to be a gem that was well worth investing in for the midfield, while Zaire-Emery plays with the confidence and personality of someone a lot older than 17. That back four of Hakimi-Skriniar-Marquinhos-Lucas Hernandez is also one of the best in Europe.


A response is absolutely necessary from the Diavolo in front of a packed San Siro in a showpiece European game after such a bad run of form. However, turning that into a win against such a quality opponent will be tough. An early home goal could see PSG melt a bit, though the circumstances of Milan needing to win plays into their hands well.

Milan 1-1 PSG


Tags AC Milan Milan PSG


  1. All I can say is come on pioli, get us this win and bring us to the knockouts. Won’t be the first time that our backs were up against the wall and we fought back… If we lose this game and our fate is sealed then its a different story lol… But I believe we will put in a better performance than last game. Come on boys!!

    1. Agreed. I think (hope) we’ll step it up tonight. A team/coach doesn’t go from bossing Juventus and Napoli to total garbage in the space of two weeks.

  2. I hope he chose a 442 with musah to start instead of pulisic
    If the team ar agressive for the win we will welcome the immportant 3 points to night.
    Show the world why we are AC MILAN, forzaaaaaaaaaaaaa el diavolo

    1. You are Pioli’s son, aren’t you ? Udinese broke us down into pieces with 442 and you want us to play 442 against PSG?

  3. Pioli should never shift from winning 4231 to 433.

    11 new players who are all foreign and need to adapt and completely new system. Sorry to say, he brought us back into CL, won us Scudetto, got us into semis in CL and been there for past 4 seasons now but he’s not a tactician capable to implement such changes. It was bound for failure with a coach like him.

    Also, they never addressed most important roles for any formation to work – a proper no.6 and no.9

  4. Pioli’s main problem is he has a mindset like ‘Players who suit our system(his system) will start’. In reality, should not it be ‘whoever is better than others will start’? If anybody asks how Jovic is on the pitch? He will give some ridiculous answer. When we lost 5:1 he said ‘we played good’, when we lost 0:1 and 3:0 recently, said again ‘we played good’. That’s was the moment players had enough of him. You don’t see Calabria giving interview very often. Lastly, against Napoli, players were doing really well in the first half, and Pioli made 2 substitutions and these 2 substitutions gave away 2 goals. That was the moment Pioli lost his players. There is no way things will go down now. If team wins some games, he will start doing strange substitutions again. Aaaand players now know that!

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