PSG vs AC Milan: Three key players to look out for

The Hard Tackle lists three players who can singlehandedly influence the result when PSG and AC Milan clash at Parc des Princes on Wednesday.

The UEFA Champions League group stage is reaching its halfway mark, with Matchday 3 ending on Wednesday. The day will feature the marquee fixture of the latest round of fixtures, with PSG welcoming AC Milan to Parc des Princes.

PSG and AC Milan have endured sub-par campaigns thus far in the UEFA Champions League. The two European bigwigs are already lagging in their respective leagues. To make matters worse, they have not been convincing enough in Europe’s top-tier football competition.

PSG began the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League campaign with a routine victory over Borussia Dortmund. But they suffered a shocking 4-1 defeat to Newcastle United on Matchday 2 to drop to second in the Group F standings. As for AC Milan, the Serie A giants have played out two goalless stalemates to start their Champions League campaign.

With neither team impressing much in their first two matches of their respective campaigns, the game on Wednesday is crucial for both. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle lists three players who can singlehandedly influence the tie when PSG and AC Milan lock horns at Parc des Princes this midweek.

Kylian Mbappe

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On his way to deliver three points to PSG? (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Our list starts with the obvious pick. We are talking about Kylian Mbappe, arguably the most eye-catching performer heading into Wednesday’s marquee fixture featuring PSG and AC Milan at Parc des Princes.

The French international has not been at his productive best thus far in the 2023/24 season than a match-winning display against AC Milan? But he still has nine goals and one assist in ten appearances across all competitions this term. That is still an excellent return for most players, but Mbappe will feel he can do better.

What better occasion to get the ball rolling for a memorable 2023/24 campaign. Meanwhile, Mbappe’s PSG future remains uncertain, with his contract with Les Parisiens expiring next summer. That has captured the attention of high-profile clubs like Chelsea, Liverpool, and Real Madrid.

As for the game against AC Milan, the PSG talisman will look to take the game to the visitors and push their defenders into submission. And if he rises to the occasion, the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner will likely singlehandedly deliver the much-needed three points to the home side this midweek.

Rafael Leao

From PSG’s talismanic figure to AC Milan’s pivotal attacker, we move to Rafael Leao. And like Kylian Mbappe, the Portuguese international has not arrived at the party in the first two months of the 2023/24 season.

The 24-year-old was the MVP in Serie A when AC Milan won the Scudetto in the 2021/22 campaign. But his performance levels have dropped since then, with the blow-hot-blow-cold displays proving critical in Milan’s falling stature in the Italian top flight.

Leao’s performances have left much to be desired again this term, with the player managing only three goals and four assists in 11 appearances thus far. But that has not negatively impacted his stature in the transfer market, with high-profile clubs like Liverpool, Real Madrid, and PSG keen on signing him.

As for matters on the pitch, while Christian Pulisic has been the leading light for Milan this term, Leao needs to step up and deliver the goods from the left flank. If he complements his attacking partner from his wing, there is no reason why AC Milan cannot spring a surprise at Parc des Princes and grab three points in a crucial away game.

Theo Hernandez

With AC Milan being the less favoured team in Wednesday’s marquee fixture at Parc des Princes, we have gone with a player from the visiting team who can help them topple PSG. The star in question is Theo Hernandez.

Underperforming star players has seemingly become the theme of our shortlist, and Theo Hernandez is no different. Often letting his game do the talking, the French international has been sub-par for most of the 2023/24 campaign thus far.

But Hernandez’s directness from the left flank can help Rafael Leao express himself better, especially if the left-back makes his rampaging overlapping runs. In addition, his exploits on the dead ball will be critical in threatening the PSG defence. All in all, the former Real Madrid defender is a pivotal figure for AC Milan to get the better of Les Parisiens on Wednesday.

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