Chelsea vs AC Milan: Champions League Preview & Potential Line-ups
Stamford Bridge forms the backdrop for Wednesday's mouth-watering Champions League encounter between Chelsea and AC Milan.
This third UEFA Champions League matchday could be considered a decisive one for Group E, with all four participants heading into proceedings with the potential of ending it at the top of the standings.
Chelsea and Milan were heavily fancied to progress beyond the group stages, but the Blues' malaise could end their European journey sooner than expected.
Following a sub-par 1-0 defeat at Dinamo Zagreb on day one, the Pensioners bid farewell to Thomas Tuchel and took in Graham Potter as his replacement.
However, the former Brighton & Hove Albion boss experienced a faltering Champions League touchline debut as his side spurned a 1-0 lead in an uneventful 1-1 home draw to Red Bull Salzburg.
Nailed to the bottom of the table, the Premier League heavyweights can ill-afford another failure here if they're to reinforce their hopes of reaching the Champions League knockouts for the fourth season on the trot.
In-form Milan may have a thing or two to say about Chelsea's pursuit of a top-two finish as they aim to make it out of the Champions League group stages for the first time since 2013/14.
Top of the group after the opening two matchdays, the Rossoneri bounced back from a frustrating 1-1 draw at Salzburg by thumping Zagreb 3-1 at home last time out.
Given the growing injury list that gives head coach Stefano Pioli a sizeable headache, Milan might even settle for a draw at the Bridge as they make this journey to London severely weakened by high-profile absences.
Chelsea received a massive confience boost ahead of this showdown as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Conor Gallagher inspired the Pensioners to a come-from-behind 2-1 league win at Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Seeking his first-ever Champions League triumph, Potter can draw inspiration from his side's stellar 13-game European home record against Italian visitors (W8, D3, L2).
Moreover, the Blues have turned Stamford Bridge into a fortress this season, going unbeaten in all four competitive home matches (W2, D2) despite conceding on each occasion.
September's international break offered Milan enough time to regroup following a 2-1 home league loss to fellow Serie A title hopefuls Napoli and claim a dramatic 3-1 away win at Empoli last weekend.
Even though the abovementioned defeat to Luciano Spalletti's high-flyers remains Milan's solitary failure across ten competitive outings this season (W6, D3), there's plenty of reason for concern in the visiting camp.
The Rossoneri's 'English soil jinx' has seen them pick up just one of their 20 European fixtures away to Premier League adversaries (D7, L12), courtesy of 2-1 triumph at Manchester United in 2005.
Chelsea vs AC Milan Potential Line-ups
Chelsea (4-3-1-2): Kepa Arrizabalaga; Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell; Mason Mount, Mateo Kovacic, Conor Gallagher; Kai Havertz; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Raheem Sterling.
AC Milan (4-2-3-1): Ciprian Tatarusanu; Sergio Dest, Pierre Kalulu, Fikayo Tomori, Fode Ballo-Toure; Sandro Tonali, Ismael Bennacer; Rade Krunic, Charles De Ketelaere, Rafael Leao; Olivier Giroud.