If you are a fan of what Barcelona do these days, i.e., utterly dominating the opposition, revolutionising tactics, feeding the Spanish national team to glory, nurturing the youth, bolstering from within, and constructing a team rather than buying one , then you have to appreciate what Milan have done in the years past, as before the Catalans, it was exactly what Milan offered.AC Milan vs Barcelona live.watch AC Milan vs Barcelona live streaming.
The game bring together two of the biggest names in club football. While Barcelona are going through probably the greatest phase in their illustrious history, AC Milan are in a phase of transition, where they are trying find a new identity for themselves. The game also brings a sense of “deja vu”, as for the second straight year, the path of these two teams in the tournament comes at crossroads.AC Milan vs Barcelona live.watch AC Milan vs Barcelona live streaming.
Barcelona, like in all their games these days, go in as favourites, while finding a reason for Milan to be able to beat all the odds and win the two-legged encounter seems like finding a needle in a haystack. A team that comprises of the leftovers after the fire-sale in the summer at Milan that saw the likes of Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Antonio Cassano leave, coupled with a manager who can hardly be considered a tactical mastermind in Massimiliano Allegri, gives very little chance to be optimistic about the Rossoneri. When the opponent you are up against is Barcelona, the flicker of light in the hearts of all Milan burns with a dimmer flame.
Milan, who last conquered Europe in 2007, held Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at the Nou Camp in their first leg of their quarter-final tie last season in the same competition. But the team that takes to the field tonight has been drained of talent through the years, and a draw at home shouldn’t be enough to help them get past their mighty opponents.AC Milan vs Barcelona live.watch AC Milan vs Barcelona live streaming.
If Milan hope to get anything positive out of this tie, the team in transition will have to perform like the well-oiled machine that Allegri may have envisioned for the future. The likes of Montolivo and Ambrosini will have to play out of their skins.
Barcelona’s frailties at the back should give Milanistis reason for hope, as the the Catalan team has failed to keep a single clean sheet in their last nine games.
The Catalan giants, on the other hand, will try and provide a re-incarnation of the game yesterday between Arsenal and Bayern Munich, where a superior footballing team was the main reason for the result, rather than the home advantage and overflowing emotions.AC Milan vs Barcelona live.watch AC Milan vs Barcelona live streaming.
Barcelona have more than adequate firepower to not only win, but to totally dominate the game in both legs of the competition, and with the season that they are having, it’s hard to put your money against it.AC Milan vs Barcelona live.watch AC Milan vs Barcelona live streaming.
Milan have gathered quite some pace in recent times, as Mario Balotelli has fit in seamlessly into their scheme of things. The early season flutters made them one of the favourites with bookmakers to miss the Champions League, but the Rossoneri have come back impressively, giving fresh oxygen to the Allegri regime that seemed doomed at the beginning of the season.
One loss in their last 13, and unbeaten at home since a defeat to Zenit St. Petersburg in the competition in December sees them sit in 3rd place in the Serie A table. Their recent form has taken them to 6 consecutive victories at the San Siro. Conceding less than a goal a game at home, Milan, as always, will be a hard nut to crack on their own turf.
BARCELONA : WWDDWW
Jan 24 FT Malaga 2-4 Barcelona Copa del Rey (Quarter-finals)
Jan 27 FT Barcelona 5-1 Osasuna La Liga
Jan 30 FT Real Madrid 1-1 Barcelona Copa del Rey (Semi-finals)
Feb 3 FT Valencia 1-1 Barcelona La Liga
Feb 10 FT Barcelona 6-1 Getafe La Liga
Feb 16 FT Granada 1-2 Barcelona La Liga
If you thought AC Milan’s form was impressive, a quick glance at what the Catalan giants have been up to in recent times puts nearly everyone else’s record to shame. The terrifying thing about it is that they have been doing it for the past few seasons with immaculate regularity. A 12-point gap at the top gives testament to the brilliance that has become FC Barcelona.
Having won 21 of their 24 domestic league games, the leaders of La Liga have been in sparkling form this season, with the only blemish being the defeat to Celtic in the Champions League group stages.
AC MILAN :
Milan will be without the services of their enigmatic striker Mario Balotelli, who has struck up quite a partnership with El Sharaawy in his short time with Milan. He remains cup-tied.AC Milan vs Barcelona live.watch AC Milan vs Barcelona live streaming.
El Sharaawy will be assessed before the game after having trouble with a swollen knee tendon. Allegri seems confident about the 20-year prodigy’s involvement in the game.
Giampaolo Pazzini may feature as well after having recovered from a thigh injury, while the same cannot be said about Nigel De Jong, who continues to be sidelines with his ankle injury.
Daniele Bonera and Robinho remain doubtful with thigh and knee problems, respectively. French international Philip Mexes returns after a one-game European suspension.
Barcelona will be boosted by the availability of the stalwart of their midfield Xavi, who was passed fit after being assessed on Monday by team doctors.
David Villa continues to recover form kidney stones, and has remained back in Spain while Adriano’s troubles with his hamstring means that he didn’t take the flight to Milan as well.AC Milan vs Barcelona live.watch AC Milan vs Barcelona live streaming.
STATS & FACTS
0 - AC Milan are the only team not to record a home win in this season’s competition amongst the teams in the last 16. Their last home win the competition was a year ago, against Arsenal (4-0, 15 February 2012).
2 - Barcelona have only lost two of their last 24 Champions League games, both in Britain (at Chelsea and Celtic).AC Milan vs Barcelona live.watch AC Milan vs Barcelona live streaming.
3- This game will feature three of the four players who completed the most passes in the opposition half during the group stages for Barcelona. They are Xavi (551), Messi (303) and Iniesta (302).
5 - This is the fifth time that these two teams have faced each other in the last couple of years.
7 - Barcelona are unbeaten in their last seven meetings with AC Milan, winning 4 and drawing 3.
9 - Its been 9 years since the Milanisti defeated the Catalans. AC Milan’s last win against Barcelona dates back to October 2004 at the San Siro in the group stages of the Champions League (1-0).
17 - Milan have picked up more booking than any other team in the competition so far.AC Milan vs Barcelona live.watch AC Milan vs Barcelona live streaming.
56 - Lionel Messi has scored 56 goals in 74 Champions League games, and only Raul has scored more in the competition (71 goals in 142 games).
75.8 - Barcelona have the highest possession in the Champions League this season, with an average of 75.8%.AC Milan vs Barcelona live.watch AC Milan vs Barcelona live streaming.