PREVIEW – BARCELONA vrs AC MILAN

Tactical recap of the first leg: Barcelona were poised to beat Milan at San Siro but the occupants of the fashion capital of Europe had other ideas; they watered the pitch meaning it was going to be difficult for Barca to demonstrate their tiki-taka football. Pep Guardiola presented a ‘hidden’ 4-3-3 formation which sometimes looked like a 3-4-3 formation with CARLOS PUYOL joining MASCH and PIQUE in central defence when Barca had the ball whilst DANI ALVES joined the midfield.
Max Allegri on the other hand opted for a 4-3-1-2 formation, three central midfielders working hand in hand to curtail Barca from dominating in midfield. The Milan midfield orchestrated by a certain Clarence Seedorf PRESSED very hard especially high up the field when Barca tried to ‘play from the back’. Both sides did not take their chances although MILAN could have easily won on the day. MASSIMO AMBROSINI did a great job by sticking to LIONEL MESSI like a glue whilst PHILIPPE MEXES was also on hand to deal with the Lilliputian when he escaped the challenge of AMBRO. LUCA ANTONINI was colossal for Milan making last minute tackles and generally defended well. MILAN dominated he midfield and should have won.

Things will be very different at the Camp Nou however. Barca playing at their favourite ground and having the support of the fans, it’s highly expected that the Catalans will carry the day BUT Milan can spring a surprise. Pep will definitely continue with his 4-3-3 formation and with Xavi missing in action due to injury, it will be very difficult to replace the dimunitive regista. Adriano is also back in the team and may get the nod at right back meaning either Pique or Mascherano will pair up with captain fantastic, CARLES PUYOL. Up front, Iniesta will not be pleased to play high up the pitch again (he did not perform in that position the last time out) and will favour dropping into central midfiel and so either the impressive Tello or another natural wide forward will slot in whilst Messi and Sanchez are likely to complete the attacking triumvirate.

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For Milan, Mark van Bommel is out injured and would have relished snarling at the feet of Lionel Messi at his former stomping ground and so that means Ambrosini will be given that almost unsurmountable role….again. Ignazio Abate is back for Milan and will replace Bonera whilst Mexes and Nesta are likely to pair up in central defence with the impessive Antonini at left-back. Emmanuelson flopped considerably over the weekend against Catania and so Allegri will have to consider Kevin-Prince Boateng as the trequartista. Up front, he reports i’m hearing indicate that PATO is back but it will be difficult for him to find his way straight into the starting 11 as Robinho scored over the weekend and Ibrahimovic is also in the form of his life. Nocerino and Seedorf together with Ambrosini will have to work their socks off if Milan is to keep Barca at bay.

PREDICTION: Milan’s best will be a score draw (which will see Milan qualify) but the fact that they are missing some of their key players will go against them. Barca on the other hand have the upper hand. There will be goals in this game, i can guarantee that. Milan is my second club and i don’t really like Barca but i think BARCELONA will win this tie (90 per cent sure). So what’s your prediction?

This guest article was written for foetbal247 (@Foetbal247) by Emmanuel Ekow Firmer Ampiah (@donfirmer).

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