Newcastle and AC Milan face off in a must-win UEFA Champions League clash for both sides – here we look ahead to the game with our prediction and preview. Can the Magpies snatch a place in the knockout stage or will Stefano Pioli’s side be victorious?
Newcastle vs AC Milan Stats: The Quick Hits
- The Opta supercomputer predicts Newcastle United will overcome Milan, with the hosts winning 54.9% of data-powered simulations of this UEFA Champions League clash.
- Newcastle lost 1-0 to Borussia Dortmund in their last Champions League home game but they have never lost consecutive matches at St James’ Park in major European competition.
- Milan have also won just one of their 21 games in England in major European competition (D7 L13).
It is last-chance saloon for Newcastle United and Milan in this season’s UEFA Champions League as both require victory at St James’ Park on Wednesday to have any chance of leapfrogging Paris Saint-Germain and progressing to the knockout stage alongside Borussia Dortmund from Group F.
Eddie Howe’s side were dealt a gut-wrenching blow for their top-two hopes in the group on Matchday 5 as Kylian Mbappé’s controversial 98th-minute penalty snatched a crucial point for PSG, cancelling out Alexander Isak’s 24th-minute opener at Parc des Princes.
The injury-hit Magpies will hope to regroup for a seismic European clash in which Milan, who are level on five points with Newcastle, also need to leave England with a victory to have any chance of making the last 16 after another unconvincing performance on MD5. Stefano Pioli’s side were outclassed in a 3-1 defeat at San Siro as Dortmund booked their place in the next round of the competition after goals for Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and Karim Adeyemi proved Samuel Chukwueze’s first-half response to Marco Reus’ penalty-kick opener redundant.
Both Newcastle and Milan could leapfrog PSG on the final matchday, although the two teams are also reliant on Luis Enrique’s Ligue 1 champions not winning against Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park. A victory for Howe’s side would secure second if PSG lose or draw, with Newcastle boasting a better head-to-head record after the 4-1 hammering at St. James’ Park on MD2. Milan must win to progress and hope Dortmund triumph in Germany as PSG would qualify due to their head-to-head decider if both teams are level on points. An unwanted draw would send the Rossoneri out and Newcastle into the UEFA Europa League, too.
Preparations for Wednesday’s crucial European tie for Newcastle were far from ideal as they were beaten 4-1 at Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday, adding further misery after Thursday’s 3-0 defeat against Everton at Goodison Park. Howe at least welcomed Callum Wilson and Sean Longstaff back to the bench at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but he still remains without Harvey Barnes, Joe Willock, Sven Botman, Elliot Anderson, Dan Burn, Jacob Murphy, Nick Pope and Sandro Tonali.
Newcastle goalkeeper Pope is expected to be out for up to four months, which is a cruel blow having performed so well heading into the Champions League’s final matchday. The former Burnley man conceded just five goals from an expected goals (xG) on target conceded total of 9.9, preventing just under five goals (+4.9) based on the quality of shots on target faced – the most of any goalkeeper in the competition after MD5.
Milan aren’t in great form either. Pioli’s side were defeated by a last-gasp Luis Muriel goal in a 3-2 reverse to Atalanta in Saturday’s Serie A clash, despite strikes from Olivier Giroud and Luka Jovic. Rafael Leão sat out of that match but is expected to be fit to play at St James’ Park, although Malick Thiaw, Marco Pellegrino, Marco Sportiello, Noah Okafor, Pierre Kalulu and Simon Kjær will likely be absent.
Newcastle vs AC Milan Head-to-Head
Milan will be the first Italian side to visit St James’ Park to face Newcastle in Europe since their fierce city rivals Inter, who triumphed 4-1 in a Champions League group stage match in November 2002.
The only previous European encounter between Newcastle and Milan was a goalless draw on MD1 of this season’s Champions League, in which the Italian side had 25 shots – the most attempts a team have had without scoring in a single game in the competition so far in 2023-24.
However, Milan have won just one of their 21 away major European matches in England (D7 L13), a 1-0 success at Manchester United thanks to Hernán Crespo’s goal in February 2005. They are winless against nine other teams – Ipswich Town, Chelsea, Tottenham, Everton, Manchester City, Leeds United, Arsenal, Portsmouth and Liverpool.
Newcastle followed up a battling point on MD1 in Milan with a 4-1 thrashing of PSG at St James’ Park before a 1-0 home reverse against Dortmund was compounded by a 2-0 defeat in the return meeting against the Bundesliga club at the start of November.
Howe will head into this clash with some confidence, though, as Newcastle have never lost consecutive home games in major European competition, while the only season they have lost more than one game on their own soil in Europe was in 2002-03 (three).
Meanwhile, Milan’s only Champions League win this season came in a 2-1 victory over PSG at San Siro, a rare bright spark alongside goalless draws with Newcastle and Dortmund and convincing defeats in the reverse fixtures against Edin Terzić and Luis Enrique’s respective sides.
Indeed, Milan have only scored three goals in the Champions League this term – in a 3-1 defeat to Dortmund and that home win over PSG – with no side scoring fewer through the opening five matchdays. They are the team with the biggest negative difference between their goals scored and expected goals this term (-4.9 – three goals from 7.9 xG), too.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off on Wednesday, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Newcastle vs AC Milan Prediction
The Opta supercomputer predicts Newcastle will secure the victory they need at St James’ Park, with the hosts triumphing in 54.9% of 10,000 data-powered scenarios compared to a Milan win in just 22.6%.
A draw is rated at 22.5%, which would definitely send both sides out of the Champions League, though Newcastle would have the consolation of Europa League involvement to come.
PSG are still ranked as the favourites to quality from Group F, progressing in 67.2% of simulations, while Newcastle’s 26.1% chance of snatching second spot and a place in the knockouts is far greater than Milan’s 6.6% hopes of staying in the competition.
Newcastle vs AC Milan UCL Squads
Newcastle: Martin Dúbravka, Loris Karius, Nick Pope, Kieran Trippier, Paul Dummett, Sven Botman, Fabian Schär, Jamaal Lascelles, Matt Targett, Tino Livramento, Dan Burn, Sandro Tonali, Harvey Barnes, Lewis Hall, Miguel Almirón, Sean Longstaff, Bruno Guimarães, Joelinton, Callum Wilson, Anthony Gordon, Alexander Isak, Jacob Murphy, Joe Willock.
Head Coach: Eddie Howe.
Milan: Mike Maignan, Marco Sportiello, Antonio Mirante, Davide Calabria, Theo Hernández, Pierre Kalulu, Fikayo Tomori, Simon Kjær, Malick Thiaw, Mattia Caldara, Alessandro Florenzi, Yacine Adli, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Tijjani Reijnders, Tommaso Pobega, Rade Krunić, Yunus Musah, Olivier Giroud, Rafael Leão, Christian Pulisic, Luka Jović, Noah Okafor, Samuel Chukwueze.
Head Coach: Stefano Pioli