Celtic head to AC Milan on Thursday (5:55 PM kick-off, UK time) for a must-win clash in the Europa League.
The Scottish champions have thus far been the whipping boys of Group H, taking just one point from four games and conceding a massive 13 goals along the way. If they fail to beat Milan, their already threadbare hopes of qualifying for the knockout rounds will be over, although with the Hoops being 10 goals down on their Italian opponents, even this is a pipedream.
Failure to progress from the Europa League group stages is the least of Neil Lennon’s worries, however, and would only compound his misery, with Celtic currently enduring a run of just two wins in their last 10 games across all competitions, including a humiliating 2-0 defeat to Ross County in the Scottish League Cup last time out. Reports now suggest that Lennon’s job hinges on the outcome of the next couple of matches.
You could argue there are few sides in Europe you’d want to face less if your job depended on it than Milan right now. The Rossoneri have been inspired under Stefano Piolo, with their latest win (2-0 vs Fiorentina) putting them five points clear at the top of the Serie A table, unbeaten after nine games.
Things haven’t quite been as simple in the Europa League, with Milan taking seven points from four games and only one in their last two. However, they can take a huge step toward qualification with win over Celtic on Thursday.
Where to watch AC Milan vs Celtic on TV:
Where to live stream AC Milan vs Celtic:
UK: Subscribers can stream AC Milan vs Celtic live online via the BT Sport app.
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AC Milan & Celtic’s previous line-ups:
- AC Milan (vs Fiorentina): Donnarumma; Calabria, Kjaer, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Kessie, Tonali; Saelemaekers*, Diaz, Calhanoglu; Rebic.
- Celtic (vs Ross County): Barkas; Bitton, Jullien, Ajer; Abd Elhamed, Brown, Christie, Laxalt; Rogic; Ajeti, Edouard.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is close to returning but won’t be ready for the visit of Celtic, while Pioli will also be without Mateo Musacchio, Rafael Leao and Alexis Saelemaekers on Thursday.
Lennon’s only injury concern is James Forrest, who is still recovering from ankle surgery.
Players to watch:
AC Milan: With both Ibrahimovic and Leao sidelined, the responsibility of leading Milan’s forward line against Celtic will likely fall to Ante Rebic. The Croatian forward is yet to score in any competition this season, largely due to time on the pitch being limited, but although he may be inconsistent, he possesses more than enough talent to hurt any team in Europe on his day. Rebic provided the assist for Samu Castillejo’s go-ahead goal during the 1-1 draw with Lille last time out in the Europa League, adding to the assist he managed against Napoli in the league prior. Whether it’s on the floor or in the air, the Celtic backline can expect effort, endeavour and physically at the very least from Rebic.
Celtic: With 10 goals to his name across all competitions, Moroccan wideman Mohamed Elyounoussi has been one of the few shining lights for Celtic so far this season. The 26-year-old bagged the Hoops’ only goal in a 3-1 defeat last time these two sides met, and he’s the only player at the club to score more than once in the Europa League so far this season, netting three times in total. Elyounoussi has gone on a three-game dry spell since his hat-trick against Motherwell in early November; Lennon will be praying he can snap back into form to inspire Celtic to an unlikely result on Thursday.
Europa League 2020/21 recent form:
- AC Milan: DLWW
- Celtic: LLDL
Scoreline prediction: AC Milan 3-0 Celtic
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