AC Milan can seal their Champions League qualification by beating Marseille

AC Milan v Marseille, Champions League, November 25, 2009

AC Milan 4/5; Draw 9/4; Marseille 14/5

Seven-times winners AC Milan will sail into the Champions League knockout stages if they beat visiting Olympique Marseille on Wednesday. The Serie A side top Group C, on the same points as Real Madrid, but the French outfit are one point back with two games to play.

Milan’s season, less than four months old, has been far from plain-sailing. A roller-coaster start to the campaign, particularly in Europe, included a shock home defeat by FC Zurich balanced out by a brilliant away win at Real Madrid. But recent weeks has seen new manager Leonardo begin to steady the ship, and the Rossoneri head into this fixture being unbeaten in nine matches, including six wins in the process.

Milan’s upturn has had a lot to do with the attacking trio of Ronaldinho (15/8 to score), Marco Borriello (9/4 to score & Milan win) and Alexandre Pato (5/1 to score first).

Ronaldinho has been in sparkling form playing wide-left in the attacking threesome, while Pato’s season has started to chug into life with the striker scoring in Milan’s last two matches. Question-marks hang over Borriello’s participation in the match with OM however, the forward picked up an injury to his left knee in the 4-3 win over Cagliari on Sunday and was replaced by veteran Filippo Inzaghi (15/2 to score a brace) in the latter stages of the match.

Experience oozes through the Milan midfield with Andrea Pirlo (5/1 to score & Milan win), Massimo Ambrosini and Clarence Seedorf all capable of prising open the OM backline, and Leonardo will have defender Alessandro Nesta back from suspension after shipping three bad goals at the weekend.

Marseille boosted morale with a 1-0 victory over arch-rivals Paris St Germain on Friday, courtesy of a Gabriel Heinze (12/1 to score) goal.

Although prolific in Ligue 1 this campaign have scored 23 goals in just 12 matches, until the Frenchman smashed six past FC Zurich in round four of the Champions League, Didier Deschamps’ men had struggled to get going in this year’s competition.

Captain Mamadou Niang (14/1 to score first & OM win), having already bagged seven goals in sixteen appearances this term, will pair up with Brandao (9/4 to score) to lead OM’s line, while other attacking options are available with Bakary Kone and Fernando Morientes also on the club’s books.

Further back OM have a multitude of talent to pick from in midfield, as Lucho Gonzalez (10/3 to score), Hatem Ben Arfa(5/1 to score), Benoit Cheyrou and Stephane Mbia all battle for starting places.

A draw would not be a bad result for the hosts considering they take on FC Zurich in Switzerland in the final group match. However, OM will be desperate to claim a win as they face a more challenging game at home to Real Madrid next month.

101predicts: AC Milan 2 – Marseille 0 (7/1)

AC Milan 4/5; Draw 9/4; Marseille 14/5

Full match odds here.