Predictions for the 2nd Leg of Barcelona vs. AC Milan
Ladies and gentlemen, your first upset of the 2012-2013 Champions League.
On March 12, Barcelona will have the chance to take on the Rossoneri one more time at the Camp Nou. Barcelona will need to win by the same score to take the game to overtime or beat AC Milan by an even larger score (3-0, 4-0, etc.) to advance to the quarterfinals.
If AC Milan scores one goal, Barcelona will have to score four. In short, Barcelona – regarded by some as the best team in the world—has one very difficult task ahead of them.
Here are five predictions for the second leg of Barcelona vs. AC Milan.
AC Milan: 10 Players Behind the Ball
To AC Milan, the key to victory is so simple it hurts: do not concede a goal.
A task easier said than done against a team that features Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas and David Villa (not to mention Pedro, Tello and Sanchez).
So, there is no doubt AC Milan will have 10 players behind the ball in every single possession. Oh, and you can expect the Rossoneri to surround Messi with (at least) two or three players, too.
The strategy can lead to some potential pitfalls. For instance, AC Milan will allow Barcelona to have the ball at their feet for most of the game. That is a dangerous thing, as Xavi, Iniesta and Dani Alves are more than capable of finding open players in impossible positions for goals.
Of course, there is always Messi, who has the ability to dribble past defenders to create a shot for himself with ease.
With all that being said, it is still in Milan's best interest to adopt the defensive mentality. They will be pounded for 90 minutes, yes, but that is still a better alternative than going after the goal and inviting Barcelona to have space on Milan's side of the field.
For AC Milan, a 0-0 tie at the Camp Nou is equal to a victory.
Messi Will Score One Goal
Still, you just know Messi will score one goal, right?
We are talking about a player who has score more than 300 goals in his career, 56 of those in the Champions League.
He will be more than comfortable at home and will rise to the challenge of getting past AC Milan's barriers.
Messi is one of those players who loves the spotlight and prefers to play with his back against the wall. He has shown to be clutch for Barça time and time again, being the most important player on the pitch during important games.
The Little Giant will add another goal to his extensive list on March 12.
AC Milan Makes Barcelona's Life a Little More Difficult
You didn't see this coming, did you?
Even with 10 players on the defensive side of the ball, AC Milan will find a way to score in the Camp Nou.
Boateng is on fire lately, and one quick AC Milan counterattack can be fatal to Barcelona's hopes.
Besides, all the Italians need is one goal. By scoring one tiny little goal, they will make Barcelona's life that much harder.
Also, the team from Milan seems to be one of those miracle teams that come along every once in a while. A team of destiny, so to say, just like Chelsea was in the last edition of the Champions League.
To further explain the term "team of destiny": When everything goes right for a team and they become the crowd favorites to win the title.
Unfortunately for Barcelona, the Champions League's "team of destiny" often happens to beat them.
Barcelona Will (Maybe) Suffer a PK
As mentioned before, the ball will spend a large portion of the game in AC Milan's half and at Barcelona's feet.
Barça will most definitely push, push, push the ball as close as they can to their opponent's goal. The ball will travel back and forth through the left and right side of the field until one of Barcelona's midfielders finds the best alley to enter the box.
In at least one of those opportunities, you can bet one of AC Milan's defenders will come at the Barcelona forward with force to steal the ball. The Barcelona forward, on his part, will fall down and try to get a PK. Whether the ref will blow the whistle is a whole different story.
Since we are betting on stuff, let's bet on this, too: If the referee lets the play go, at least one sports journalist will remember this play the next day and argue that it should have been a penalty kick.
If the opposite (the ref decides to call the PK) happens, yet another sports journalist will rage in his publication on how the play was an absolute non-call and how the man with the whistle played favorites with the home team.
Whatever happens, one thing is for sure: Some AC Milan defender will desperately tackle a Barcelona forward with a little more force, and the Catalonian will fall down and roll in pain.
That's just what happens when the ball is constantly on only one side of the pitch.
AC Milan Will Upset Barcelona
Sorry, Barcelona. You're just in too deep of a hole to get yourself out of this one.
In the end, AC Milan's defensive strategy will prove to be the correct mentality for this game. They might be scored on once, but ultimately their two goals at San Siro will be enough.
If these predictions are correct, one quick and fatal counterattack will find a AC Milan player poised to score at an unexpected time of the match.
Barcelona can wave bye-bye to the Champions League. At least they still have La Liga.
As said before, meet the first upset of the 2012-2013 Champions League.
What are some of your predictions for the 2nd leg of AC Milan - Barcelona? Leave your comments below!