I think Milan will try and attack as they have always done against Barcelona. Look for Ibra to try and expose the Barça back line–in particular the struggling Carles Puyol and the shorter Javier Mascherano.
The first 20 minutes is very critical for Barça’s back line.
In Tuesday’s press conference, Pep said, “We must deactivate Ibra and Milan’s ability to monopolize the ball.”
Gerard Piqué also stated the importance of stopping Ibra from getting the ball at the same press conference.
“(We) need to be attentive and not let him (Ibrahimović) breathe because this year he has been on a roll."
Look for Pep’s defense to put an extra emphasis on Zlatan and try to minimize his actions. Pep knows with a slowed down Ibra, it will be tough for Milan to get any goals in the game.
I’ll be interested to see how Milan defends Messi. With Silva out, we’ll see who Milan Manager Massimiliano Allegri goes with to fill in for the Brazilian. Ignazio Abate is also out with a muscle injury.
With both teams having back-line issues, I look to the midfield and the attack, and it’s FC Barcelona who clearly has the advantage.
I see Barcelona controlling the ball, especially in the second half, Messi teaming up with Sanchez for goals. Milan’s injuries to the back line are more significant (Silva and Abate) than Barcelona’s (Adriano; Abidal’s situation is not considered an injury).
Milan will get their goal but with a shaky Robinho (if he plays), and with no Alexandre Pato to give them that dynamic player they need in order to beat Barcelona, I don’t see Milan having enough offense to win the game. If Milan uses their mids to attack, it could spell trouble for Barcelona. However, it could also lead to many counterattacks by the Catalans.
It will be a good game, but in the end, Messi’s team will leave the San Siro with the away goals they need.
Score: AC Milan—1, FC Barcelona—2
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Don’t forget to check out my other columns:
5 Reasons Why Pedro Has Been Barcelona's Most Disappointing Player This Season
FC Barcelona: La Liga Race Back On! Real Slipping and Barça Rising
Ànims Abidal! Éric Abidal and the Future of FC Barcelona's Back Line
FC Barcelona: Why Sergio Busquets is Barça’s Most Underrated Player
FC Barcelona: Leo Messi: King of the Night. King of Football Kings
FC Barcelona: 5 Big Transfer Rumors Fans Would Love To See Come True This Summer
FC Barcelona: 5 Former Barça Players Who Could Succeed Pep Guardiola