On Tuesday, the knockout stage of the Champions League will get underway with AC Milan hosting Tottenham Hotspur in the opening leg of their last-16 matchup.
AC Milan picked up where they left off with a tight victory against Torino on Friday, while the guests must bounce back after being destroyed 4-1 by Leicester City the previous weekend.
As he continues what is effectively still his maiden European tour as Spurs coach, former Inter Milan manager Antonio Conte faces off against his old opponents today.
Milan defeated Torino by a razor-thin margin to snap a seven-game losing streak and now sits fifth in Serie A. This is the same spot Tottenham has in the Premier League. There is a chance that either Tottenham or Milan may advance to the next round because neither team is in form.
Since the World Cup concluded, Milan has been awful, while Tottenham has been marginally better but enters this competition after a horrible outing this past weekend. Due to their home-field advantage in the rematch and somewhat deeper roster, the Spurs are the favorites to progress.
Form Guide: AC Milan
The Serie A championship is far from being successfully defended by AC Milan. They are 15 points off of Napoli, the league’s top team. The Champions League and a spot in the top four for the following season are still in play for AC Milan.
After suffering through a terrible seven-game losing streak, including losses to their fierce rivals Inter in both the league and the Italian Super Cup, AC Milan knew that the only victory would be against Torino in Friday’s Serie A match. Even though AC Milan didn’t play well in that match, they still managed to come out on top.
Goal scoring is an issue for AC Milan. In the previous five games, they managed just three goals. The reigning Italian champions have been eliminated at the last-16 stage in five of their previous six appearances in the competition – including in the 2011-12 campaign when they lost 1-0 on aggregate to Tottenham – and having failed to win any of their four competitive meetings with Spurs, Milan know that they will have their work cut out to progress to the quarter-finals.
Form Guide: Tottenham Hotspur
Leicester gained distance in the top four in the Premier League battle despite defeating Tottenham on Saturday. The Spurs’ three-game winning streak was snapped by that setback, but Antonio Conte must be concerned about the outcome before he returns to his country.
When Rodrigo Bentancur gave Tottenham the lead in Saturday’s away game against Leicester, Antonio Conte’s return to the sidelines after recovering from gallbladder surgery was poised to coincide with a successful outcome. However, it ended up being a forgettable afternoon for his team.
Spurs suffered a crushing 4-1 loss as goals from Nampalys Mendy, James Maddison, Kelechi Iheanacho, and Harvey Barnes made their 1-0 victory against Premier League champions Manchester City seem like a distant memory.
Tottenham played well defensively before the previous game. They didn’t allow any goals in three matches before conceding four against Leicester.
Tottenham will probably be without Rodrigo Bentancur in the game at San Siro. The first tests suggest he suffered a serious knee injury, so Tottenham will be much weaker in midfield for the rest of the season. Also, Antonio Conte’s team will be without Hugo Lloris, Yves Bissouma, and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the game against AC Milan.
How the game could go
Tottenham still had a couple of excellent games before falling to Leicester, despite their lackluster performance in the previous Premier League round. However, AC Milan has been having a lot of issues lately. Although neither squad is in great shape, Spurs has more talent and experience, which should help them secure a slim first-leg advantage.
The English team hasn’t lost in any of the previous four meetings between Milan and Tottenham, which will be their fifth competitive match (W2 D2). In a spectacular match in 2011, Spurs eliminated Milan from the competition, but since then, their standings in the European football hierarchy have changed.
Milan’s victory over Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb for second place allowed it to resume Champions League play after the holiday break. Both at home and on the road, they were defeated 5-0 by Chelsea. Since the Blues haven’t competed with Spurs in the domestic league all year, the guests should easily win this match.
Tottenham to win
If you’re a fan of Tottenham, you’ll be pleased to learn that Conte has a winning record against Milan. Eight of his last nine matches against Milan have ended in victories. His most recent away victory over the Rossoneri came in 2021 when he was in charge of Inter Milan, the Rossoneri’s city rivals. As a team that has struggled in the league this season, Tottenham will look to capitalize on its host’s predicament in the R-16 first leg. Having fallen twice to Chelsea in the Champions League group stage, Tottenham can play better against a lesser Milan team. Given that, we suggest supporting the visitors here. Bet9ja have 2.80, 1xbet have 2.98 and Paripesa have 2.98 odds.
Under 2.5 goals
Because of Milan’s particular form, as well as the forms of both teams, this game is challenging to forecast. Milan has lost four of their last five games, and in three of those, they have also failed to score. Tottenham has enjoyed some short-term success, but they fell to Leicester at the weekend. We anticipate that both teams will play the game more cautiously and slowly. With their respective play styles, these two clubs are undoubtedly capable of earning a 0:0 draw. Bet9ja have 1.87 odds, Paripesa have 1.95, and 1xbet have 1.95 odds.
Anytime Goalscorer (AC Milan)
French veteran Olivier Giroud is still an expert finisher despite his advancing years and the 36-year-old was Milan’s leading scorer in the Champions League group stage with four goals. As a former Arsenal striker, Giroud would love nothing more than to punish the Gunners’ North London rivals Tottenham in the competition’s knockout rounds. We are tipping the center-forward to make his mark at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. Bet9ja have 3.15 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 3.10.
Rafael Leao poses a significant threat to the Spurs because of his speed and ability to generate opportunities. Despite Milan’s performance this season, the Portuguese has been brilliant and will be an essential player for them against Tottenham. He has the most goals for his side in all competitions this season and this counts for something. Bet9ja have 4.00 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 3.725.
Anytime Goalscorer (Tottenham)
Despite the team’s terrible performance, Kane has continued to be Tottenham’s greatest striker and a goal threat. As Kane’s abilities in front of goal are unmatched and the player has given his all in every game, having Kane on their side is a boon for Spurs. Bet9ja have 2.65 odds for him to score while Paripesa has 2.75 odds.
Football Lover. All-round junkie of the beautiful game. Could be found watching football most of the time. If not he’s writing about them or making some punditry you don’t agree with. A certain bias for Arsenal and Santos FC.