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Barcelona vs. AC Milan preview
AC Milan face Barcelona at the Camp Nou up 2-0 on aggregate in their Champions League round of 16 tie on Tuesday. Barca have made it to at least the semis since 2008, but that streak’s in grave danger of ending.
There a couple of selection dilemmas for Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri. In defence, there’s doubts over centre back Philippe Mexes’ fitness as he was taken off at halftime against Genoa on Friday. However, he was included in the match day squad, so there’s optimism in him starting alongside Cristian Zapata. With Mattia De Sciglio playing four days ago and the need for some speed on the wings, Ignazio Abate could be replacing him. Kevin Constant would then feature on the left with Christian Abbiati in goal. Massimo Ambrosini would play in a deep role to help break up any of Barca’s attacks, he’d be flanked by Sulley Muntari and Riccardo Montolivo. The trident front line would be led by Stephan El Shaarawy with M’Baye Niang and Kevin Prince Boateng out wide. It would most likely be a 4-3-3, but could switch to a 4-5-1 or even a 4-6-0 when defending.M
The Catalans will come out with a similar formation, and it’ll be nearly identical to what coach Jordi Roura put out back in February at the San Siro. Victor Valdes in net, then Jordi Alba, Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, and Dani Alves will most likely be the back line from left to right. The usual midfield three of Xavi (carrying an injury), Sergio Busquets, and Andres Iniesta would be in the centre of the pitch. Lionel Messi will be up front with Pedro Rodriguez and Cesc Fabregas (who could switch roles with Iniesta).
Los Cules are unbeaten in their last five home games against Milan at home, but they’ve only won two of them. The visitors have only failed to score once over that span, and with Barca’s leaky defence (23 goals in 17 games since manager Tito Vilanova had surgery), they’ll probably keep that streak going. Barcelona will probably get a couple of their own, but they’ll still fall on aggregate. It’s time for another massive upset in this season’s Champions League, and Barcelona will once again be a part of it.
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