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Back an AC Milan win or a draw in the double chance market. Paris Saint-Germain are still finding their feet under Luis Enrique and they will not have everything their own way in this match.
Paris Saint-Germain are invariably among the contenders to win the Champions League, along with the likes of Manchester City, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona. But unlike those four clubs, as well as AC Milan, Inter, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United, they have never lifted the trophy before.
By European soccer standards, PSG are still the new kids on the block. Whereas most of the continent’s giants were founded in the late 19th or early 20th century, PSG only came into being in 1970.
Despite being the major outfit from France’s capital, PSG did not immediately become one of Ligue 1’s leading lights. Indeed, they won only two titles before 2013.
And while Qatar’s investment means they are regularly crowned domestic champions these days, their arch-rivals Marseille like to remind PSG that they remain the only team in France to have won the European Cup or Champions League.
PSG have experienced more than their fair share of disappointment in this competition over the last decade. On more than one occasion, they have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Despite a star-studded squad, which for two seasons contained Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar, PSG have continually failed to get over the line in Europe.
Will this be their year? The jury is out. Their manager, Luis Enrique, has won the Champions League before and the departure of Messi and Neymar has given the team a better balance. But PSG were thumped 4-1 by Newcastle United on matchday two.
It was not just the defeat but the manner of it that should concern PSG. Newcastle were faster, stronger and hungrier at St. James’ Park. Intensity is an integral ingredient in modern soccer and PSG were found severely wanting in that category. A vast improvement is needed.
Despite their demolition by Newcastle, PSG are in a decent position in Group F, one of the toughest groups in Champions League history. They sit second as things stand, with a one-point advantage over AC Milan in third.
The Rossoneri have two points to their name, but they really ought to have more. They were much the better team against Newcastle on matchday one, but a failure to take their chances saw them drop two points in a 0-0 draw.
Their meeting with Borussia Dortmund on matchday two was a more even affair, but Milan again fashioned better opportunities. Another 0-0 draw leaves them out of the top two ahead of this tricky trip to the Parc des Princes.
With two games at the San Siro coming up in November, Milan will still feel they are in a decent position to advance to the knockout phase. But a positive result here would undoubtedly boost their chances of doing so.
Milan are going strong in Serie A. They suffered a 5-1 thrashing by their arch-rivals Inter in the middle of September but have responded well to that setback, despite a 1-0 loss to Juventus at the weekend.
Milan reached the semi-finals of the Champions League last term. They suffered another painful loss to Inter at that stage of the competition, but progressing to the last four in 2022/23 will give Simone Inzaghi’s side confidence that they can be competitive at the highest level this season too.
PSG are the favorites to win this game on Wednesday. Home advantage is a factor in their favor and they are steadily improving in Ligue 1, going five games unbeaten to close the gap to Nice in the top spot by just one point.
But it has long been hard to read too much into PSG’s league form, as it has not always translated to the European stage. Against stronger opponents like Milan, Luis Enrique’s side will be tested much more than they were in a 3-0 victory over Strasbourg at the weekend.
For all that they have been wasteful in front of goal, Milan showed themselves to be tough to beat in their first two Champions League outings of the campaign. A resilient and disciplined performance on Wednesday could see them avoid defeat by a new-look PSG side that is still searching for attacking cohesion.
There are no easy games in Group F and it is surely not a coincidence that three out of the four matches played so far have featured fewer than three goals. For that reason, some bettors may like the look of under 2.5 goals at the Parc des Princes.
Overall, though, we believe the double chance market offers the best value. Tip AC Milan to win or this game to finish as a tie.
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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