Newcastle will descend on the San Siro this evening as they kickstart their Champions League campaign against Italian giants AC Milan.
After a 20-year absence from Europe’s elite competition, the Magpies will be eager to give a good account of themselves and ensure they don’t freeze at one of the continent’s biggest footballing cathedrals.
Group F at the outset appears to be the ‘Group of Death’ as Newcastle will also face Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund over the coming weeks, so a result against Milan is imperative.
Following a tricky start to the Premier League season, Newcastle broke a three-game skid with a 1-0 win over Brentford last weekend.
Milan, meanwhile, saw their unbeaten start to the Serie A campaign ended in emphatic fashion as they were thrashed 5-1 by bitter adversaries and title rivals Inter Milan.
This has all the ingredients to be a juicy encounter, and we can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. To give you some inspiration, I have picked out a couple of tips that are worth adding to your betting slips.
Newcastle to hold their own in San Siro
Trips to the San Siro are always daunting to say the least, and it can feel like a cauldron especially when you are the visiting team.
Milan may not necessarily be the force of old, but they are wily in many other respects, and let’s not forget they reached the Champions League semi-finals last season.
On Newcastle’s previous excursion to the San Siro 20 years ago, they claimed a 2-2 draw and Alan Shearer netted a double on that day.
The San Siro has been something of a fortress for Milan, who won four of their six home European ties last term, and they were only defeated twice in Italy’s top-flight division.
Eddie Howe knows his side will have to be patient and grab any chances that come their way. There is plenty of pace in attack, but they will have to be switched on for the full 90 minutes, and containing Olivier Giroud will be paramount if they are going to leave the San Siro with something for their efforts.
Anyway, a draw certainly appears to be feasible. For my first pick, I am siding with a share of the points which is available at 23/10 with Paddy Power.
Rafael Leao to draw first blood
As far as players getting bums of seats is concerned, Rafael Leao certainly falls into that category.
Despite getting on the scoresheet in the 5-1 hammering at the hands of Inter, his frustration was visible after his side conceded their third goal.
Leao will look to help orchestrate things, and although he only scored once in the Champions League last season, he could well hit the ground running this term.
The Portuguese forward could be a thorn in the Newcastle side, and he could land the first blow in a highly entertaining game.
To round things off, I have gone with Leao to net the opening goal of the game which is priced at an intriguing 13/2 with bet365.