Two heavyweights collide, as Atlético Madrid meet AC Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday. Which players will be on show and who will reign in Spain?
Two titans of European football, who are both struggling in the UEFA Champions League (UCL), will face off at the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday when Atlético Madrid entertain AC Milan in Group B.
Diego Simeone’s outfit have collected just four points from the same number of games, while the Rossoneri are propping up the table, with a disappointing one point, from a possible 12.
Atlético sit in third spot – which would result in an unwanted drop down to the UEFA Europa League, but second-placed Porto are a mere one point ahead, as they prepare to face an intimidating trip to Liverpool, to face the group leaders.
Stefano Pioli’s outfit earned their first point of the 2021-22 Champions League last time out against Porto, but it will surely be far too little too late for the Serie A giants. AC Milan sit bottom of the table and cannot sneak into the top two, regardless of what happens this week.
Atlético forward Antoine Griezmann is available again, after the second half of his suspension was overturned on appeal, but Felipe is banned after being sent off at Anfield.
Luis Suárez looks certain to start this one, while Kieran Trippier is out with a shoulder issue and João Félix is doubtful, because of a calf problem.
José María Giménez should come straight back into the backline, with Marcos Llorente potentially getting a start at right-wing back.
Meanwhile, for Milan, Ciprian Tătărușanu will continue to play in goal for the injured Mike Maignan. The French shot-stopper is joined on the treatment tables by Fikayo Tomori, Ante Rebić, Davide Calabria, and Samu Castillejo.
Pioli downplayed any concerns of a serious injury to Rafael Leão after the recent loss against Fiorentina, but Rade Krunić is on standby, and Olivier Giroud may start as striker, to give Zlatan Ibrahimović’s 40-year-old legs a rest.
Alessio Romagnoli and Ismaël Bennacer are able to provide fresh legs in defence and midfield respectively if one of Sandro Tonali or Franck Kessié makes way.
With home support and more to play for than their opponents, we expect a 2-0 home victory for Atlético.