We expect the attacks to come out on top in what promises to be an entertaining encounter.
Back over 2.5 goals and both teams to score (+115)
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Chelsea are beginning to gather some momentum under Graham Potter, who has now been in charge of the club for just over a month. The Blues have won three games on the bounce under their new boss, the latest of which was a convincing 3-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday. For the first time in 2022/23, Chelsea are in the top four of the Premier League.
Things are also looking up in the Champions League. Potter knew that his side realistically had to beat AC Milan on matchday three after taking just one point from the first six on offer in Group E. And they did exactly that in impressive fashion, as goals from Wesley Fofana, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Reece James earned them a 3-0 triumph at Stamford Bridge.
It was a terrific performance from Chelsea. They outperformed the visitors in every department despite a slow start to the game. The hosts eventually established control after around 20 minutes and did not let up thereafter. Sharp and incisive in attack, they were also solid and resolute at the back. That result leaves the west Londoners in second place in the group ahead of the return fixture in Italy.
Chelsea must still go to Austria to face Red Bull Salzburg in two weeks’ time, but this is their toughest remaining game in the group phase of the Champions League. A draw would not be a bad result, but an attack-minded manager like Potter will be targeting a fourth consecutive victory in all competitions.
There were mitigating circumstances for Milan on matchday three. The team was decimated by injuries with almost 10 first-teamers on the sidelines, although manager Stefano Pioli did not use their multiple absentees as an excuse for his team’s flat display.
Even so, it is undeniable that their task was made harder than it would have been had the Serie A champions had a full complement of players to choose from.
Pioli’s side got back on track at the weekend, beating Juventus 2-0 to temporarily move level on points with league leaders Napoli, who later moved clear of Milan after facing Cremonese. It was a fantastic response to the loss at Stamford Bridge, and Pioli was vindicated for shuffling his pack amid a busy run of fixtures in the lead-up to the 2022 World Cup.
Milan actually picked up more points away from home than at the San Siro on their way to Serie A glory last season, but they have won five of their six games in front of their own fans in all competitions so far this term. That will give Pioli’s players confidence ahead of Chelsea’s visit.
Milan have a rich tradition in this competition – Real Madrid are the only club which has won it more – but they have not reached the last 16 since 2013/14, when they were eliminated by Atletico Madrid. A win here would make Milan believe that a place in the knockout phase is there for the taking.
With four points apiece after three rounds of fixtures, it is fair to say that neither AC Milan nor Chelsea has started the group stage as they would have imagined. The Italian and English sides were strong favorites to advance to the knockout phase, but Dinamo Zagreb and Red Bull Salzburg have proved more competitive than many people assumed.
This is therefore a huge match for both Milan and Chelsea. If Salzburg get the better of Dinamo in the other Group E game this week, they and the winner of the clash at the San Siro would be in pole position to progress. Indeed, whichever of Milan or Chelsea loses will be up against it with two matches remaining.
The fact that both sides will be going for the win is one reason why we are backing over 2.5 goals and both teams to score.
Another is the nature of Milan and Chelsea themselves. Potter’s side have scored in each of his matches in charge, including six goals in their last two outings. Aubameyang’s presence up top means the Blues now have a natural center-forward in the team.
As for Milan, they had an off-night at Stamford Bridge but were back to their best against Juventus last time out. They have drawn a blank in just one of their nine games in Serie A this term, and have found the back of the net in each of their assignments at the San Siro. Tuesday’s clash promises to be an entertaining one.
|Teams||AC Milan vs Chelsea|
|Location||San Siro, Milan, Italy|
|Time||Tuesday, 11 October 2022, 15.00 PM EST|
|How to watch||Paramount+|
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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