Preview: Newcastle United vs Milan – Team news, Lineups & Prediction

Widely considered the 2023/24 Champions League ‘group of death,’ Group F reaches its climax as Newcastle United and Milan go head-to-head at St James’ Park. Wednesday’s showdown on Tyneside is a textbook definition of a ‘make or break’ clash for both sides, with their European campaigns on the line. 

Both teams are in an identical situation, stranded at five points each, albeit two adrift of runners-up Paris Saint-Germain. With Les Parisiens heading to Signal Iduna Park to take on already-qualified Borussia Dortmund, Newcastle and Milan must hope the Germans can throw them a lifeline by beating Luis Enrique’s star-studded lineup on home turf. 

Anything other than three points would rule both clubs out of contention for an unlikely knockout progression. While a last-16 berth remains a long shot, springtime European fixtures are still on the cards. Newcastle are better positioned to switch to the Europa League knockout playoff round, as they only need to avoid defeat here to seal a third-place finish, courtesy of a superior goal difference. 

On the other hand, Milan must take three points at one of the most intimidating venues in the Premier League to leapfrog the Magpies into third. As the pressure cranked up on Stefano Pioli following a last-gasp 3-2 loss at Atalanta last weekend, the Italians take this trip desperate to atone for another disappointing Serie A matchday. 

With the stakes at an all-time high, Milan and their under-fire manager must treat this contest as a ‘do or die.’ 

Match Preview

Newcastle United

If there’s a silver lining for the out-of-sorts Milan side, it’s Newcastle’s injury crisis. Deprived of ten first-team stars, Eddie Howe has overseen back-to-back thumping league defeats in the build-up to this clash. Following a disastrous 3-0 loss at Everton, the Magpies finished on the receiving end of a 4-1 scoreline at Tottenham at the weekend.

However, Newcastle tend to put on their bulletproof vest at St James’ Park, as witnessed by their outstanding run of eight wins from their last nine home league outings (L1). Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, and PSG are among the sides to have fallen victim to the Magpies’ home prowess in that stretch. 

Speaking of the ‘fortress theme,’ St James’ Park hadn’t capitulated in 15 consecutive European games before Dortmund’s narrow 1-0 win last time out (W10, D5). 


Milan showcased admirable fighting spirit in their loss at Atalanta, coming back from behind twice before conceding deep into stoppages. But it’s no consolation for the impatient Rossoneri faithful as that result left Pioli’s team a whopping nine points adrift of table-topping Inter. 

Bereft of confidence and plagued by injuries, the seven-time European champions take this trip hopeful of defying their dreadful 12-game form against English adversaries (W1, D3, L8). It’s an uphill task, with Milan going winless in 22 of their last 30 Champions League matches, including a dismal 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture at the San Siro.

If that’s not worrying enough, Milan’s away form on continental level paints an even bleaker picture. Since routing Dinamo Zagreb 4-0 in last season’s Champions League group stages, they’ve only scored once in their subsequent five away games in Europe’s elite competition (D3, L2). 

Team News

Elliott Anderson, Javier Manquillo, Dan Burn, Jacob Murphy, Nick Pope, Matt Targett, Sven Botman, Harvey Barnes, and Joe Willock are out injured. Newcastle cannot call upon ex-Milan playmaker Sandro Tonali, whose return from suspension won’t come before August 2024. 

As for Milan, injuries to Simon Kjaer, Malick Thiaw, Pierre Kalulu, and Marco Pellegrino are contributing to a substantial defensive crisis. On the upside, Rafael Leao is back from a lengthy spell on the sidelines, ready to offer Pioli’s one-dimensional attack a massive boost. 

Newcastle United vs Milan Potential Lineups

Newcastle United (4-3-3): Martin Dubravka; Kieran Trippier, Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schar, Tino Livramento; Sean Longstaff, Bruno Guimaraes, Joelinton; Miguel Almiron, Alexander Isak, Anthony Gordon.

Milan (4-3-3): Mike Maignan; Davide Calabria, Fikayo Tomori, Theo Hernandez, Alessandro Florenzi; Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Tijjani Reijnders, Yunus Musah; Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud, Rafael Leao.

Newcastle United vs Milan Prediction 

Another slip-up would see Milan earn the wooden spoon. Pioli can ill-afford to add that unremarkable achievement to his stockpile of problems, but St James’ Park is a tricky place to seek redemption. 

We can’t back Milan to upset the apple cart with conviction, though they should have enough quality and character to give Newcastle a run for their money.

Prediction: Draw

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