The final group stage game of the Europa league is upon us and Milan need a result to advance. The face a stiff test in the form of Olympiacos away.
Currently Milan sit in second for group F, ahead of Olympiacos by three points. The game will be tough but the Rossoneri are in a rather comfortable position as any result, barring a loss of 0-2 or worse, they will advance.
The Greek side is notorious for a rambunctious home crowd and ultras to intimidate the biggest fan bases, this may play a factor in the game but nonetheless, Milan should be fine.
Milan are riding a four-game unbeaten run in all competitions currently and have mustered out decent performances despite the injury crisis which appears to be coming to an end. While no injured players are expected to return in this game, we may see Conti get a few minutes for the first time since his return after an injury at the beginning of the previous season.
Romagnoli and Musacchio on the other hand are poised to return at the weekend or the following game. Bonaventura has returned from the USA after a successful knee surgery but is still out for the remainder of the season.
Due to these injures, Gattuso has been forced to experiment with a CB pairing of Zapata and Abate, who until this season has never in his career featured in the role but has flourished in those appearances.
Likely Milan starting XI (4-4-2): Reina; Calabria, Abate, Zapata, Ricardo Rodriquez; Suso, Kessie, Bakayoko, Calhanoglu; Cutrone, Higuain.
Olympiacos are currently in third for the group with seven points, needing a victory of at least 3-0 to pass Milan. They are also third in their domestic league, outside of a Champions league position by just one point.
As of today, the club announced a termination of contract for Yaya Toure which means the Ivorian will obviously not feature on Thursday. Even so, the team knows what they must do to advance and will be going all out from start to finish in order to secure the spot.
LAST TIME OUT
In the last Europa league game, Milan faced off against arguably the lowest quality team in the competition in Dudelange. The scoreline when finished was 5-2 for Milan, but was not as easy as it seemed. Milan entered the 65′ down 2-1 before a series of brilliance from Calhanoglu saw him earning two own goals from set pieces, and a long ranged goal to his name in a span of twelve minutes. Borini then capped it off with a tap in just 45 seconds after coming on the pitch to seal the win.
Olympiacos on the other hand, suffered a 1-0 loss to group leaders, Real betis. The Greek side was visibly frustrated and recorded five yellow cards in the game.
Cutrone missed a wide open goal against Torino on the weekend which could have secured a victory for the team. This kid has the attitude that you expect him to go all out against Olympiacos just to say sorry to the fans. I expect multiple goals from the wonder boy, not because he owes us, but because gives his all every week, and now has that extra push for greatness.
Prediction: 3-1 victory for AC Milan with a Cutrone brace.