1.50 Newbury - Friday
Horse Racing analyst Will Smith has had a good look at all this weekend's ante-post markets, and provides a 7/1 EW selection in the Grade 2 novices' chase at Newbury on Friday.
Newcastle United are set to make their first appearance in Europe’s elite competition in over two decades when they take on seven-time Champions League winners AC Milan in a Group F encounter at San Siro on Tuesday. The Magpies secured a much-needed win against Brentford in their most recent Premier League outing, bringing an end to a three-match losing streak, while AC Milan suffered a humiliating defeat to rivals Inter Milan. The Nerazzurri won 5-1 against AC Milan in a one-sided Derby della Madonnina, marking the first time they had scored five goals against their rivals since 1974.
Rafael Leao’s goal had briefly given Stefano Pioli’s men a glimmer of hope, but Inter Milan’s domination continued, as they scored two more goals and even converted a penalty against their former player Hakan Calhanoglu. Inter’s victory not only equalled a 49-year-old goalscoring record but also marked the first time in their history that they had won five successive games against AC Milan. AC Milan’s Champions League journey last season ended in the semi-finals at the hands of their San Siro adversaries, losing 3-0 on aggregate.
Despite their defeat to Inter, Pioli remains bullish about his side’s chances and believes they put up a good fight in the first 70 minutes of the game. He is now looking forward to the match against Newcastle, and the fact that his side have lost only one of their last 13 games at home, should give him confidence. AC Milan beat Tottenham Hotspur during last year’s Champions League, but they were previously beaten 5-0 over two group-stage ties by Chelsea.
Newcastle’s form leading up to the Brentford game was poor, with three consecutive losses, including a humiliating 3-0 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion, where Evan Ferguson’s brilliance single-handedly tore the Magpies apart. The club’s manager, Eddie Howe, has the complete backing of the board despite murmurs of discontent from fans. The win against Brentford has brought some relief, but the team’s imminent European sojourn may have been playing on their minds during their recent run of results. The last time Newcastle played in the Champions League was in the summer of 2003, where their qualifying journey ended with a penalty-shootout loss to Partizan.
In the 2002-03 season, Newcastle did make a San Siro stopover to meet Inter, where Alan Shearer’s brace was not enough as the Nerazzurri came back to draw 2-2. Tuesday’s match against AC Milan will mark the first competitive meeting between the two sides. Newcastle will face Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund later on in a mouthwatering Group F.
Despite Milan’s defeat over the weekend, the team received one small victory: no more players have been added to their list of injuries. However, Pierre Kalulu, one of their center-backs, was absent due to a thigh injury and might not return for a few weeks. Meanwhile, Ismael Bennacer is on the road to recovery following his knee surgery.
Fikayo Tomori, who was suspended during Milan’s last game, can finally join the team on Tuesday and could replace Malick Thiaw, who did not perform well last weekend. With Christian Pulisic’s disappointing performance in the derby, Samuel Chukwueze may be considered for a starting position with Rafael Leao and Olivier Giroud, who despite being injured during international play, still played for 77 minutes last Saturday.
One of Milan’s former players, Sandro Tonali, may also rejoin the team this week after his injury scare during the international break. However, Newcastle United will not have Joe Willock and Emil Krafth due to calf and knee injuries, respectively. Joelinton will also miss the match because of a knee injury sustained during his time with Brazil.
With Tonali’s return to the field, 20-year-old Elliot Anderson will likely be replaced, while Alexander Isak may play in the number nine role over Callum Wilson, despite Wilson’s game-winning spot kick during the weekend.
Newcastle certainly shouldn’t be written off AC have used the money they received off tonight’s rivals wisely, bringing in players such as Christian Pulisic, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Samuel Chukwueze, Yunus Musah and Tijjani Reijnders and strengthened their squad in preparation for this seasons Champions League.
We expect a close encounter at the San Siro but the home advantage may just give the hosts the edge they need to get their first three points on the board.
|AC Milan vs Newcastle Betting Tips|
|AC Milan & BTTS||9/2|
AC Milan: Maignan; Calabria, Tomori, Kjaer, Hernandez; Reijnders, Krunic, Loftus-Cheek; Chukwueze, Giroud, Leao.
Newcastle United: Pope; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn; Longstaff, Tonali, Guimaraes; Gordon, Isak, Barnes.