AC Milan

AC Milan vs. Celtic: Rossoneri Must Overcome Injuries to Get Win in UCL Battle

TURIN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 14:  Mario Balotelli (3nd R) of AC Milan celebrates with his team mates after scoring during the Serie A match between Torino FC and AC Milan at Stadio Olimpico di Torino on September 14, 2013 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images
Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2013

Although AC Milan are looking more like an infirmary unit than a football team, they cannot drop any points to Celtic in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

According to Sky Sports, here's the list of players who are certain to miss the fixture: Kaka, Stephan El Shaarawy, Daniele Bonera, Giampaolo Pazzini, Ignazio Abate, Riccardo Montolivo, Mattia De Sciglio and Matías Silvestre.

That's obviously a lengthy list of absences. However, Massimiliano Allegri still has more than enough to set out a starting XI that can beat Celtic.

Mario Balotelli and Alessandro Matri are a solid strike force to the fore of the attack. "Super Mario" has been superb ever since moving to Milan, and he's got the size and style to break through an organized Celtic defense.

He's also a threat from set pieces, which may be Milan's best shot to score.

Having either Valter Birsa or Robinho sitting in behind the striker should be a good enough link up to the attack to ensure Balotelli doesn't get frustrated because he's left on an island.

Even with a midfield made up of Nigel de Jong, Sulley Muntari and Antonio Nocerino, Milan should be able to control this match from start to finish.

To be fair, Celtic aren't going to get out in front and attack. Neil Lennon is going to have his side play defensively and look to score on the counter.

De Jong should be a key figure. He's a very underrated defensive midfielder. While not aesthetically pleasing, there are few midfielders that are able to break up the attack like de Jong can. He's a tremendous tackler, and he'll be a great shield for the back four.

If Milan were playing Juventus, Inter, Napoli or a top European side, perhaps the Rossoneri could be excused dropping points.

However, this is Celtic we're talking about. It doesn't matter if Milan have their "A" squad or their "B" squad. They should be getting three points in this match.

The Scottish champions are extremely tough at home, but this match is at the San Siro.

Allegri thinks that home crowd will be the difference, saying, "It will certainly be a great game, a tough match, but I'm comforted by the fact there'll be at least 50,000 fans there" (h/t Alessandro Massimo of UEFA.com).

Celtic have a terrible away record in the Champions League, losing 22 of their last 24 away matches in Europe's top competition.

The Football Ramble's Luke Moore had a better way to put it.

The Bhoys are just a month removed from a 2-0 loss away to Shakhter Karagandy in the Champions League play-off. They're a good side at home but only a marginal one when they have to leave Celtic Park.

Max Allegri has still got few fans among the Milan supporters, and there will be even fewer in the event of a Milan draw or a loss to Celtic. On the other hand, this is a great chance for Allegri to demonstrate that he's a strong tactician. It's not easy working around so many injuries, and doing so and still winning will reflect well upon him.

Injuries or no injuries. They're no excuse for Allegri and AC Milan. They have to get the full three points against Celtic.

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