Celtic v AC Milan preview: 5 key battles

Balotelli 2

HITC preview Tuesday's Champions League match-up between Celtic and A.C. Milan. A.C. Milan are incredibly out-of-sorts and desperate to save their season to fend off protesting fans, Celtic could leap into the qualification places with a home win.

1): Efe Ambrose V Mario Balotelli

The most watched man on the field during the game will be 'Jekyll and Hyde' front man Mario Balotelli. Efe Ambrose is likely to be the man to keep an eye on the charismatic former Manchester City star and will be hoping for mad Mario turning up, rather than the striker that could hold himself with the best in the world.  The striker has come under-fire recently from Milan fans, having not scored since the start of October and missing a key penalty in his last outing against Genoa. It is needless to say, underestimate him at your peril. 

2): Joe Ledley V Kaka

The Celtic midfielder was playing in the lower reaches of the Championship for Cardiff City when his competitor picked up the Ballon d'Or trophy in 2007, but now they go head to head in a desperate game for both sides. Kaka has been pin-pointed as the shining light for Milan this season, and scored their early goal in their one-all draw on Saturday. Joe Ledley will have dreamed about playing on the same pitch as Kaka, and will hopefully take the oppourtunity to try and better him on the night.

3): Kris Commons V Ignazio Abate

The former Derby County midfielder comes up against one of the best full-backs in the world on Tuesday night, but Abate shouldn't take this game so easy. Kris Commons may not physically the most impressive specimen in the world, hamstrings of cheese and would struggle to outrun a milk-float. However, he certainly has a knack of pulling it out on the big occasion. The 30-year-old midfielder has a wand of a left foot and Abate will need to keep an eye out for that. 

4): Charlie Mulgrew V Valter Birsa

The Slovenian international will go head to head with former Wolverhampton Wanderers flop on Tuesday night, which looks on paper a fairly straight forward battle for him. Charlie Mulgrew has proven on occasion that he has an extra-gear to his game that could frustrate the former Genoa midfielder. 

5): Neil Lennon V Massimiliano Allegri

In perhaps the most intense battle of the game, the under-fire manager Allegri will match whits with short-tempered Neil Lennon. It's a game that could have both managers at the height of their passion, and a game that could end up seeing Allegri being sacked from his post as A.C. Milan. The ever-compassionate Lennon will not give that a second thought as he will send his side out to battle like warriors to put themselves back in contention for another final 16 qualification. 

What do you think will be the battle to watch in the game on Tuesday? 

images:  © drabikpany

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