Two former European champions are about to meet in the first round of this year’s Europa League. Celtic and AC Milan promise a good old-fashioned football battle, as their clash draws the biggest attention among the fans worldwide. Both sides want to open the competition with a victory, not only to boost its morale, but also to have the edge over a direct rival for the knockout stage. Dedicate five minutes of your time to read our preview of this interesting contest
Celtic (+360) had a pretty bad weekend, losing against their biggest rivals, Glasgow Rangers. They did have four important players absent due to COVID-19 infections and injuries, but that is still of no excuse once you lose the Old Firm Derby.
That was the second defeat in the last ten games, the first following nine straight wins the Hoops posted in all competitions. During that time, Neil Lennon’s boys kept their net intact in seven matches. It seems that they aren’t as sharp as they used to be last year, and that they don’t have the same flair when playing.
Six of the previous ten matches were with a moderate efficiency, meaning two or three goals.
AC Milan (-120) is coming from a win against their biggest enemies, Inter Milan. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice in Derby Della Madonnina, to seal a 2-1 win and announce to everyone that he successfully beat COVID-19, bouncing back stronger than ever.
It was the 10th consecutive victory for the Rossoneri, including the preseason games, which didn’t score two or more goals only once during that span. That single game was against Rio Ave in the EL playoffs (1-1), but even then, they managed to reach that figure in the extra time.
AC Milan is looking powerful in all lines, they are playing hard football, with lots of contacts and physicalities, but also have very gifted players when it comes to technical aspects of the play.
There are several players on both sides who won’t play in this matchup.
Odsonne Edouard, James Forrest, Michael Johnston, Christopher Julien, Nil Biton, and Elhamed are out in Celtic.
Milan can’t count on Hakan Calhanoglu, Gabbia, Musacchio, and Ante Rebic.
Head to Head Games
Celtic and Milan have a long history of direct clashes. So far, they met 10 times, with the Italians posting six wins, while on the other hand, Celtic had just one, back in 2007. Three events had no winners.
The last time these two powerhouses met was in the group stage of UCL 2013/14. Milan won both matches, 2-0 at home and 0-3 on the road.
AC Milan’s plain win is very profitable from our standpoint. We respect the Scottish team and all of their previous results, but the recent loss against the Rangers is a clear indication that they can’t be competitive against stronger teams without the complete roster.
The number of spectators will be limited, which is another reason for backing up the guests. Celtic won’t have its usual home-court advantage. To wrap up this preview, bet on AC Milan’s win at -120.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.