Newcastle United vs AC Milan

St James’ Park forms the backdrop for a ‘make or break’ Champions League encounter between Newcastle United and AC Milan.

It’s crunch time in the so-called ‘group of death,’ as anything other than a win would crash Newcastle United and Milan out of the Champions League. Even three points for either side wouldn’t be enough to fire them into the knockout stages unless already-qualified Borussia Dortmund beat PSG at home in the other Group F fixtures. Plagued by injuries, the ‘Magpies’ will be out to hold up their end of the bargain and halt a disastrous run of back-to-back three-goal defeats in the Premier League. The impending return to St James’ Park should be helpful, considering Eddie Howe’s men have racked up an impressive eight wins across their last nine competitive home outings (L1). On top of that, before Dortmund’s narrow 1-0 triumph here on Gameweek 3, Newcastle had been unbeaten in 15 straight home European matches (W10, D5).

On the other hand, the pressure cranked up on manager Stefano Pioli after Milan slipped to a late 3-2 defeat at Atalanta last weekend despite coming back from a deficit twice, eventually sliding nine points adrift of Serie A leaders Inter. Things don’t look any better in Europe, with ‘I Rossoneri’ on the brink of an early elimination after only winning once in their five group stage games (D2, L2). Milan’s disastrous Group F journey has worsened their record in the Champions League, as they’ve now gone winless in 22 of their last 30 outings in the competition. What’s worse, since a 3-0 routing of Dinamo Zagreb in October 2022, they’ve only socred once across five Champions League travels (D3, L2), casting further doubt on their prospects on Tyneside.

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