HomeNewcastle United v Milan: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

Newcastle United v Milan: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

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The State of Play

St James’ Park will play host to the very definition of a must-win contest on Wednesday as Newcastle United and Milan bid to keep their UEFA Champions League hopes alive.

Both teams know three points alone may not be enough, though neither can progress to the last 16 with anything less than a victory. Having been denied a famous win at Paris Saint-Germain by Kylian Mbappe’s controversial stoppage-time penalty on matchday five, Newcastle must win and hope the Parisians fail to beat Borussia Dortmund in Germany. Milan must win and pray PSG lose.

Eddie Howe’s Magpies have endured a difficult time lately, with a host of injury problems taking their toll on a thin squad. Having started their last five Premier League games with the same 10 outfielders, Newcastle looked fatigued in comprehensive defeats at Everton (3-0) and Tottenham (4-1) last week.

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However, a European night at a raucous St James’ Park – where they have won nine of their 11 matches in all competitions this season – may be just the tonic for any weary legs.

The Magpies’ Champions League destiny may not be completely in their own hands, but they would surely have taken any form of post-Christmas European football when drawn into this difficult-looking group, and a victory would at least secure the consolation prize of a UEFA Europa League spot.

Milan reached the Champions League semi-finals last term, but the Rossoneri have struggled for goals in Europe this campaign and suffered a dramatic 3-2 defeat to Atalanta on Saturday, slipping further behind Inter at the top of Serie A.

Stefano Pioli’s team were unlucky not to beat Newcastle when they dominated the teams’ matchday one clash at San Siro, however, and a club with their continental pedigree will be desperate to avoid an embarrassing early exit from Europe. The stage is set for a thriller on Tyneside, and it’s do or die.

Team News

Newcastle still have a lengthy list of absentees, with Joe Willock, Harvey Barnes, Sven Botman, Dan Burn, Nick Pope, Jacob Murphy, Matt Targett and Elliot Anderson all out. Meanwhile, Sandro Tonali is suspended and both Emil Krafth and Matt Ritchie have been left out of their Champions League squad, further limiting Howe’s options.

Callum Wilson and Sean Longstaff returned for Sunday’s defeat to Spurs, finally giving Howe the ability to shake up his outfield selection plans. However, Martin Dubravka is a doubt after missing training on Tuesday.

Malick Thiaw, Marco Pellegrino, Marco Sportiello, Noah Okafor, Pierre Kalulu and Simon Kjaer are all likely to miss out for Milan, but they are expected to have star winger Rafael Leao available after he was not risked at Atalanta on Saturday.

Expected Line-ups

Newcastle United: Karius; Trippier, Lascelles, Schar, Livramento; Longstaff, Guimaraes, Joelinton; Gordon, Wilson, Isak.

Milan: Maignan; Calabria, Tomori, Hernandez, Florenzi; Musah, Loftus-Cheek, Reijnders; Pulisic, Giroud, Leao.

What they said

Howe on the importance of the St James’ Park crowd:

“I think we’re very positive going into the game. It’s got all the hallmarks of being a very special night. All we can do is win the game and we’ll try to give the best performance we can in order to do that.

“We’re going to need every voice, every person can make a difference. It’s one of those nights and we need to create an atmosphere befitting of our home form. The fans have never let us down, they’ve driven us on.

“Being under the lights here can help us, with something to play for and everything to gain. They [the fans] can make it a magical European night, but they can only do so much, we have to do that.”

When and how to watch

The game will kick off at 20:00 local time at St James’ on Wednesday and will be available to watch for TNT Sports customers in the UK on TNT Sports 1.

Prediction

While Newcastle have been running on fumes in recent weeks, Milan have failed to score in three of their five games in Group F and have been less than impressive in Serie A lately, only winning two of their last seven league matches (two draws, three losses).

Expect Newcastle to feed off the energy of the St James’ crowd and seal a narrow victory, buoyed by the returns of Wilson and Longstaff. That may not be enough for a round-of-16 place, though, with PSG favourites to overcome a Borussia Dortmund side already assured of qualification.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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