Barclays Premier League outfit Tottenham return to the San Siro to face the red and black side of Milan in what could be a very close encounter. Tonight sees the first knockout round of the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League get under way with two very interesting fixtures. AC Milan have been flying high all season and currently hold a 3 point lead atop the Serie A, while 4th place Tottenham return to Italy as Group A winners, ahead of AC’s fierce rivals Inter Milan.
Harry Redknapp’s side will be without this season’s outstanding performer, Gareth Bale, in tonight’s clash with Italian giant AC Milan. He will be clearly missed as last year’s trip to the San Siro saw him stake his name in Europe by punishing Inter with a remarkable hat trick, while Tottenham were still to lose 4-3. However, Redknapp insists his team will be set to play attacking football of the kind that saw them win a very tough Group A, seeing off defending Champions Inter, Dutch Champions FC Twente and impressive Werder Bremen.
Peter Crouch has stated his intention to make his mark on the draw, last facing AC Milan in the 2007 Final in which he made an appearance from the bench as Liverpool were to lose 2-1 in Athens. He will be looking for revenge against the team which saw him leave Greece without a winner’s medal.
Meanwhile, Milan were to finish runners up in Group G, some way behind a very impressive Real Madrid, despite boasting a very impressive array of attacking talent in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robinho and Alexandre Pato. Milan manager, Massimiliano Allegri, is not set to underestimate Tottenham despite the missing Bale, and admits they have threats in other areas.
“Aaron Lennon is a very quick and intelligent player, Peter Crouch is a good player too…”
“They have four solid defenders also. They are a very fit and strong, physical side”
“…we will need to be careful”
Elsewhere in the UEFA Champions League, Spain’s Valencia will host German side Schalke 04. Recently moving up to 3rd place in La Liga, Valencia are currently unbeaten in 2011, last losing to Real Madrid in early December. However, life hasn’t been so kind to Group B winners Schalke who find themselves languishing in 10th in the Bundesliga, despite enlisting the services of the Spanish legend Raul who has been their top hit man since arriving in the summer, and has scored in every Champions League campaign he has made an appearance in.
Valencia will be looking to stake their claim in this tie with an impressive home performance against an indifferent Schalke 04, following finishing runners up in group C behind current Barclays Premier League Leaders, Manchester United. While Schalke will be looking to improve upon their better European form, and set themselves up for a more comfortable home leg.
Both matches are set to kick-off at 19:45 GMT tonight, and are available to view on Sky Sports 2 and Sky Sports HD 2 and Sky Sports 4 and Sky Sports HD 4 respectively.