Champions League Quarter-Final Preview: AC Milan vs FC Barcelona

It’s back to the Champions League as Barça travel to Italy to take on seven times European Champions AC Milan in the quarter final first leg at the San Siro stadium. The stage could not be bigger as Barça attempt to take one step closer to a possible Grand Slam six-out-of-six season.

The two sides know each other well after meeting in this season’s group stage. Milan surprised us with a last minute equalizer from Thiago Silva in the 2-2 draw at Camp Nou in September but Barça assured top spot in Group H with a thrilling 2-3 victory in Milan at the end of November.

Milan will have to make do without Thiago Silva after he was injured in Milan’s 2-1 win against Roma on Saturday. With Abate also missing coach Massimiliano Allegri may go with a defence of Zambrotta, Mexes, Nesta and Antonini though there could be a place for Daniele Bonera. Van Bommel is suspended so the midfield should see the experience of Clarence Seedorf alongside Nocerino and either Ambrosini or Aquilani, while further forward Kevin Prince Boateng will fit in behind the front pairing of Robinho and Ibrahimovic in a 4-3-1-2 formation.

Pep Guardiola may well choose the Barça team with this Milan formation in mind. In November he opted for a defence of three which seems to make sense given Milan’s lack of width in attack. However, without Eric Abidal’s speed at covering I’m not sure whether the back three is so advisable. Adriano is still injured so the logical choice would appear to be a back four of Alves, Piqué, Mascherano and Puyol with Alves being the defender with most freedom to get forward. If Piqué plays it will be the first time he comes up against his buddy Ibrahimovic in what should be a fascinating battle.

In midfield I think we will see Xavi, Busquets and Fabregas though with Keita and Thiago both fit there is plenty of healthy competition for these places. I think Iniesta will continue to play wide on the left while our main striking threat will come from Alexis and Messi. Pedro would be the other option and if he plays his work rate in pressing defenders could be very important as Milan without Thiago may struggle with the ball at the back.

Barça are obviously the favourites to reach the semi-finals but the fact that we got the better of the group games counts for nothing. We all remember beating Inter in the group stage two years ago before losing out in the semi-finals to a volcano, a dodgy ref and a packed defence. A lot of things can happen in 180 minutes but it is not much time to make up for mistakes, Milan showed how lethal they can be when they knocked four past Arsenal in the last 16. That night they were allowed to get into their rhythm so I feel it is vital we get off to a good start. As long as we don’t concede an early goal I am confident we can come away with a victory which will allow a little bit of breathing space for next Tuesday’s 2nd leg at Camp Nou.

Possible starting teams:

AC Milan: Abbiati; Zambrotta, Mexes, Nesta, Antonini; Seedorf, Ambrosini, Nocerino, Boateng; Robinho, Ibrahimovic.

FC Barcelona: Valdés; Alves, Mascherano, Piqué, Puyol; Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas; Alexis, Messi, Iniesta.

My prediction: AC Milan 0 Barça 2

Date: Wednesday 28 March. Kick off time: 8.45pm local time.

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11 Responses to Champions League Quarter-Final Preview: AC Milan vs FC Barcelona

  1. Geoffrey says:

    Barca seems to be slowing down a bit, wonder whether it is because of too many games played

  2. mithuhassan says:

    Thanks for sharing !!

  3. Xavi says:

    The last two months of this season could be incredible, if we get it right, win all our games and see Madrid crumble it will go down as the greatest season ever from the greatest team ever.

  4. Caleb says:

    Big game.!! Can hardly wait!!!!!

  5. layibiyi says:

    really big game…the fact that milan already got a draw at nou camp should make for a very interesting 180 mins.

  6. bc9jaCulé says:

    Welcome back Nic, I’m sure u had fun in London.
    Tonight’s match is actually the most anticipated of the quarters and should make for an exciting match-up. All I want is for us to be on top of our game and with adequate luck too. We shouldn’t have much problem grinding out a win especially as we have Iniesta and Alves ready for this. These two comrades will make a huge positive difference because, if my memory serves me right, they both missed the 2nd leg we won in Milan during the group stages and Iniesta had to be subbed of early in the 1st leg. Here’s to hoping we don’t record any more injuries in this last stretch of the season.

    Milan 1 (Ibra)
    Barça 4 (Messi 3 Fab 1)

    Visca Barça!!!!!
    Força Barça!!!!!

  7. mjmare says:

    Super excited for this one!!!

    The team has been playing well for the past couple of weeks,
    Without Silva, I think the Milan defence may struggle and no Van Bommel, means that we should control the middle of the park.

    Want to see Messi break the CL goalscoring record tonight…

    My team would be: Valdes-Alves-Pique-Masch-Puyol-Busi-Xavi-Iniesta-Sanchez-Messi-Cesc

    Barca 2 – 0

  8. barcacentralnic says:

    Glad you are all looking forward to it, just over six hours to go now. Other news just in is that Thiago has had his second yellow at Mallorca cancelled so he can now play against Athletic

  9. Fredegar says:

    I’m very excited too. A win would of course be welcome, but as long as we don’t get out of it beaten I will be glad, as I couldn’t stand to witness another game of the kind we had against Inter at Camp Nou two years ago. If they can beat us in our own ground then fair enough, but losing in Milan and then having a bus to confront in the return leg, my god, plus that would come quickly enough in an eventual semi-final against Chelsea!
    Well, I don’t think many will argue the fact that we have the best team, now is time to prove it! Visca Barça!

  10. FCB-Parbo says:

    Oh man, I can’t wait, a little nervous I guess, but soooo excited. I’m so confident that we will win, coz our team is at their peak right now and they won’t drop it. Thinking about Messi to break a record yet again. It’s funny how Ibra is speaking positively at the moment about our club. well I guess that’s the reaction you get when Pep and his old teammates aren’t talking nonsense about him. But I know our guys will beat you all up on the field. What if, yeah what if, the volcano wasn’t our enemy 2 years ago.

    Som Hi Barça!!!!
    Visca Barça!!!!!
    Força Barça!!!!!

  11. FC Barcelona starting XI: Valdes , Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Puyol , Busquets, Xavi, Keita , Iniesta, Alexis, Messi
    FC Barcelona bench: Pinto, Montoya, Muniesa, Pedro, Thiago, Tello and Cesc
    Out: Cuenca, Oier and Afellay

    VISCA EL BARCA !!!!!!!

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