Wednesday, 20 February 2013

AC Milan v Barcelona Preview

Tonight sees two of Europe's biggest clubs go head to head in the San Siro in a huge Champions League clash.  AC Milan and Barcelona are two of the biggest names in European football and it promises to be a fantastic spectacle.

Milan have the better history in this competition but Barcelona will be favourites when you consider the two sides current standing in world football.  Milan have been on a downward slide in recent times as their players ages have caught up with them.  They are now bringing in some younger players in an attempt to build another great Milan side but surely it's too much to ask a transitional Milan to beat one of the best club sides of all time. 

This Barcelona team are without doubt the best club side I've ever saw but maybe if I was just a few years older I might consider the great Milan team of the early 90's a rival to them.  I remember that team in flashes and even watched the 1994 Champions League Final as a nine year old when Milan battered Barcelona 4-0.  I was a little too young to truly appreciate that team and the only other rivals to Barcelona in my generation would be the Galactico's.  It is no doubt tight but in my opinion this Barcelona team are better.  Older readers may point to old Ajax, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid teams but I'm too young to consider them. 

Milan and Barcelona met four times last year in this competition after being drawn together in the group stages and the Quarter-Finals.  Barca got the better of the battles last year with two wins and two draws in the four games. Since then Milan have lost Gennaro Gattuso, Clarence Seedorf, Alessandro Nesta, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva.  Gattuso, Seedorf and Nesta were all getting a bit old but Ibrahimovic and Silva are players that are irreplaceable.  If a team that included those five were unable to get one over Barcelona I can't see this current team doing the job either.   

For tonight's game, Milan's new star striker, Mario Balotelli, misses out as he is cup tied.  Barcelona are also without one of their strikers.  David Villa misses out but Barca have plenty of other attacking options and his absence will not be as crucial to Barcelona as Balotelli's is to Milan.  Both sides are in good form however.  Both are unbeaten in six games and after a slow start Milan have lost just one of their last thirteen Serie A games.  Barcelona's league form has been terrific and even at this early stage it looks as though it's just a matter of time before they officially take Real Madrid's league crown off them.   

I am looking forward to this game as I watch Barcelona on a regular basis so know exactly what they are capable of.  I don't watch a lot of Milan so I am eager to get a look at this new team but I would have to say that in the little I have saw of them I don't think they are close to being on the same level as Barcelona.  I think we could see another Champions League mismatch similar to last night's tie between Arsenal and Bayern Munich.  I have no doubt that Barcelona will come out on top in this tie and I would be quite surprised if they don't go home to Spain with a lead.

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