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Depleted Milan will struggle for Seedorf against Simeone’s Atletico

| 19.02.2014

David Villa has an unbeaten record and two goals from three starts against AC Milan in his club career.

Atletico Madrid visit the San Siro and start as strong 11/10 favourites to win their Champions League last 16 first leg, and are odds-on to qualify at 2/5.

Villa, now 32, may play second fiddle to Diego Costa at Atletico these days, but back his experience at a tempting 7/4 to score anytime against the Rossoneri. Brazilian-born Costa, meanwhile, is 5/4 to net in this match.

Clarence Seedorf has made a decent start to his managerial career in Milan, winning three of his first six in all competitions. The Rossoneri have lost just two Serie A matches at home all season, but are 14/5 outsiders to win this contest because of a lack of numbers.

Milan are definitely without injured duo Bryan Cristante and Stephane El Shaarawy, suspended pair Sulley Muntari and Riccardo Montolivo, and the cup-tied Keisuke Honda. Worse still, Kaka and Cristian Zapata are doubts with ankle and thigh problems respectively.

As if that list isn’t lengthy enough, winger Valter Birsa, forward Robinho, defenders Daniele Bonera and Matias Silvestre, and left-sided player Urby Emanuelson have all missed recent matches with minor injuries.

Three January signings are available to Seedorf though. Michael Essien, Adil Rami and Adel Taarabt could all be named in the Rossoneri XI.

Maverick Moroccan attacker Taarabt scored a screamer on his Milan debut. Back him at 6/1 to cap his Champions League bow by grabbing a goal.

Relying on mercurial pair Mario Balotelli and Taarabt turning up is something of a gamble though, both for punters and Seedorf. You can get 23/10 on a draw between the Rossoneri and Atleti, and 6/1 on Balotelli scoring the opener.

Diego Simeone has a much shorter list on the treatment table for this fixture. Former Chelsea midfielder Tiago misses the trip to Milan with a broken wrist. Brazil left back Filipe Luis is out with a groin problem.

Teenagers Jose Gimenez (calf) and Javi Manquillo (back) are also doubtful. Atletico have both winter window signings Diego Ribas and Jose Sosa eligible to play.

Brazilian playmaker Ribas has a goal and an assist from three appearances against Milan from his days at Werder Bremen. He is 15/8 to net anytime ahead of 4/1 shot Sosa.

Given how depleted Seedorf’s selection choices are, the handicap markets are also worth a look. Odds of 9/1 on giving Atletico a two-goal deficit should be taken.



Sam Barnard

Sam has been writing for Coral since January 2014, and is the assistant editor of the news site. As well as the main betting sports, football, tennis and cricket, he covers the likes of golf, F1 and darts too, the latter of which has become a particular favourite. Sam enjoys playing as much as writing about sports, but niggling injuries have limited his participation in recent years, so is happy to mainly watch the pros such as Manchester United, Yorkshire CCC, Raymond van Barneveld and even Gibraltar national football team instead.