AC Milan-Barcelona Preview: Allegri's side set for Blaugrana test
The in-form Rossoneri face one of the most intimidating challenges in European football as they prepare to do battle with the Catalans at San Siro on Wednesday
By Karthick Arvinth
Abate, Zapata, Mexes, De Sciglio
Montolivo, Ambrosini, Nocerino
Boateng, Pazzini, El Shaarawy
Alves, Pique, Puyol, Alba
Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas
Pedro, Messi, Iniesta
AC Milan will assess forward Stephan El Shaarawy (knee) ahead of the Champions League last-16 clash against Barcelona.
Mario Balotelli is cup-tied and Nigel de Jong is sidelined with an ankle injury, but Giampaolo Pazzini (hamstring) is available.
Elsewhere, Daniele Bonera (thigh) and Robinho (knee) are doubts, while Philippe Mexes returns after serving a one-game European ban.
Barcelona are boosted by the return of playmaker Xavi, who has recovered from a hamstring problem.
However, Adriano (thigh), Eric Abidal and David Villa (both illness) have not made the trip to Italy.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- AC Milan are on a seven-game unbeaten run in Serie A and have won their last six matches at San Siro in all competitions.
- The Rossoneri faced Barcelona four times in the Champions League last season, drawing two and losing two. Their overall home record against Spanish opposition is W11, D6, L6.
- Bojan Krkic (pictured, right) made 163 appearances for Barca between 2007 and 2011, scoring 41 goals.
- Barcelona have won eight of their last 11 away matches in the Champions League and are targeting a sixth straight quarter-final appearance.
- The Catalan giants are on a seven-match unbeaten streak against Milan. Their overall record on Italian soil is W6, D7, L5.
- Lionel Messi has scored 56 goals in the Champions League, level with Ruud van Nistelrooy and behind only Raul (71).
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Top 3 Predictions
AC Milan 2-1 FC Barcelona
- 17.17 %
AC Milan 1-3 FC Barcelona
- 16.14 %
AC Milan 1-2 FC Barcelona
- 10.02 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Nov 6, 2013||FC Barcelona 3 - AC Milan 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Oct 22, 2013||AC Milan 1 - FC Barcelona 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Mar 12, 2013||FC Barcelona 4 - AC Milan 0|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Feb 20, 2013||AC Milan 2 - FC Barcelona 0|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Apr 3, 2012||FC Barcelona 3 - AC Milan 1|
|Dec 7, 2013||Livorno 2 - AC Milan 2||ITA1|
|Dec 1, 2013||Catania 1 - AC Milan 3||ITA1|
|Nov 26, 2013||Celtic 0 - AC Milan 3||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||AC Milan 1 - Genoa 1||ITA1|
|Nov 10, 2013||Chievo 0 - AC Milan 0||ITA1|
|92||Stephan El Shaarawy||Striker|
|2||Mattia De Sciglio||Defender|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
Milan look a much weaker side than the one that bowed out in last season’s quarter-final, while Barcelona have arguably gotten stronger since then. Nonetheless, the Rossoneri are still quite capable of packing bodies in the Barca midfield and stifling their flowing football in heavy traffic, while the likes of El Shaarawy and Pazzini can catch the Catalans’ suspect rearguard on the break.