Europa League • AC Milan-Celtic Preview: Closing the Deal

Meeting Celtic again appeals to my singular favorite transfer rumor of the year: it was reported that Celtic adore Laxalt and want to buy him from Milan, and that deal could help us buy a player from Celtic that we have been wanting, Norway's Kristoffer Ajer. I don't care how ridiculous this rumor sounds, I'm clinging to it. Not just for the fact that Ajer is five years younger, 8" (20 cm.) taller, and more talented than Laxalt has ever been, but that we could finally lose the dead weight and the braids from our roster, too. Win-win-win and keep on winning. Back to reality, though, on Thursday, we face the braids one (hopefully) last time in a match that we need the three points to ensure that we progress to the next round. This match is all about closing the deal.

Let's just say goodbye to the braids, please

Let me start by saying that I would like a clean sheet. However, if Ajer wants to score against us in this Europa League match so that we turn around and sign him, like our other brilliant Norwegian player, then I could be okay with that. Maybe with the assist, too. But no one else. I want the clean sheet. Neil Lennon's Celtic lost 2-0 to Ross County in the Scottish League Cup on Sunday, after losing 4-1 to Sparta Prague in last week's Europa League tie. They still sit in second place in the Scottish league, however, and would definitely want revenge for the 3-1 loss we handed them at their home in October.

Hoping to see Pioli return to face the legendary Lennon again

For their trip to Prague last week, Lennon lined up: Bain; Elhamed, Jullien, Ajer, Laxalt, Brown, McGregor; Christie, Ntcham, Elyounoussi; and Edouard. Lennon has a few injury concerns, as Griffiths and Forrest are out with injury, and Johnston doubtful for this match. Additionally, Turnbull has tested positive for COVID-19 on November 21st, so will need two negative tests to return in time for this match.

Pioli is still awaiting his second COVID negative test as of this writing, and could likely be back to take charge of this match, which would be a welcome return after Bonera's less impressive appearances on the touchline. However, we will definitely not be as lucky with Ibrahimovic, as he is still injured, and Leao is awaiting further medical tests to determine his return, which is highly unlikely for this match. However, although Bennacer missed Sunday's match with a muscle injury, he has already returned to training and could be available on the bench for this one. 

Yes, more Viking, please

Milan come into this match after a convincing win over Fiorentina in the league on Sunday. They are flying high, touted as the most in-form team in Europe, undefeated and five points clear at the top of Serie A, and generally smashing records everywhere. However, a loss and a draw to Lille in the Europa League means that this game is more important than ever to ensure that we go through to the next round in Europe. The guys will need to be humble, work hard, and stay focused on the objective at hand. For this match, that objective is closing the deal.

This post inspired by the music of  Cake's "The Distance"

Europa League Group Stage
AC Milan vs. Celtic
Thursday, December 3 • 18:55 CET (12:55pm EST)
This match can be streamed LIVE via CBS All Access in the U.S.

Europa League • AC Milan-Celtic Preview: Closing the Deal Europa League • AC Milan-Celtic Preview: Closing the Deal Reviewed by Elaine on 11:32 PM Rating: 5
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