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FC Barcelona vs AC Milan
The first step in getting past AC Milan begins with the mindset. Milan has not been their usual selves this year and the world has noticed. But Barcelona must not allow this to affect their approach.
They must enter the game with the mindset that AC Milan is as big as the name suggests. Any kind of downplaying the game could be disastrous. Secondly, the defense will have to be prepared to work harder than usual.
Entering the game, Barcelona will have played so many straight La Liga matches that the defense will not be as battle-ready as they should. La Liga is much easier and the defenders have not had as much to do.
But against Milan, this will have to be addressed. The victory will absolutely start with the defense and stopping the attack of El-Sharawwy. With a strong Milan attack, it may be best for Barcelona to not play with two attacking full-backs. Montoya and Alba lining up may be the smartest move.
But of all the defenders, Mascherano will have to step up the most, unless Pique and Puyol can play both encounters. Next, Barcelona must continue to use Iniesta at the left-wing with Cesc and Xavi in midfield.
It is creating more chances than ever and will be the best way to attack the struggling Milan defense. But this also means that the other winger must be prepared to score. Whether it is Pedro or someone else, goals must be provided. Barcelona cannot hope to place the scoring load on Messi.
Though Milan's defense is not as strong as in recent years, this is still the champions league. Lastly, the team will have to play Busquets in both games. This may mean that he will have to be rested in La Liga action at some point, but he is vital to Barcelona's success.
We have already seen this year how weak the Barcelona build up is with Busquets out of the lineup. He must play a part in both encounters to make the Tiki-Taka offense as strong as it can be, while also giving great cover for the defense with a tough job.