AC Milan enter the second leg of their Europa League Round of 32 clash looking to back up a solid 3-0 win in the first leg.
Patrick Cutrone, Ricardo Rodriguez (pen) and Fabio Borini all scored in Bulgaria, giving the Rossoneri a comfortable three-goal cushion to bring back to San Siro.
The Rossoneri remain unbeaten in 2018 in all competitions, and will aim to continue this good run with yet another dominant European outing.
With one foot firmly in the final 16 of the competition, Gennaro Gattuso is expected to make a number of changes to his usual line-up as the opportunity has presented itself to give minutes to squad players.
Ignazio Abate, Cristian Zapata are expected to come into the back four, while Manuel Locatelli could be given a start at Regista, with Riccardo Montolivo expected to take Giacomo Bonaventura’s spot at LCM.
The attacking trident will feature two strikers, as per soccer betting sites and MilanNews, as Andre Silva and Patrick Cutrone are expected to both feature, while Fabio Borini is anticipated to be the right winger.
Probable AC Milan XI vs. Ludogorets: G. Donnarumma; Abate, Zapata, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Kessie, Locatelli, Montolivo; Borini, Andre Silva, Cutrone.
Ludogorets are a very young club. Founded in 2001, the club has won six consecutive Bulgarian titles from 2011. They are also leading the current league table one point ahead of CSKA Sofia. Moreover, they have qualified for the Champions League group stage twice in these last six years.
The Bulgarian club have done well to reach this stage of the competition, qualifying from a group with İstanbul Başakşehir, Hoffenheim and Portuguese team Braga while losing only one match.
However, we saw in the first leg the effects of the Bulgarian domestic schedule, which meant that they had not played a league game for two months. After a bright start, the team tired, and San Siro’s large pitch could mean the same occurs again.
LAST TIME OUT
Milan’s last match was against Sampdoria in Serie A. The Rossoneri won 1-0 thanks to a Giacomo Bonaventura volley, extending the unbeaten run and shutting out a Samp side that had scored in their previous eight prior to that game.
Meanwhile, Ludogorets maintained their position atop the Bulgarian first division with a convincing 4-1 win over Slava Sofia. Goals from Keseru (2), Abel and Wanderson moved them on to 51 points, one ahead of CSKA Sofia.
One man to keep an eye on for the Rossoneri is certainly Manuel Locatelli. Assuming he starts as the holding midfielder, it will be interesting to see how the youngster copes with the pressure somewhat off. It presents him with a real chance to impress, especially considering the faith Gattuso showed in him by rejected a loan move to Genoa last month.
For the visitors, midfielder Marcelinho was the one who stood out the most. He looked like the man with the creative spark, and Milan will have to watch him on the counter.
The obvious course of action would be to take the burners off and just get through this game, but there is no way Rino would allow one of his teams to coast a game. We expect an early goal or two to kill the tie off, then just ensure there are no injuries ahead of a difficult Serie A schedule.
Prediction: Milan 2-0 Ludogorets