2013 UEFA Champions League: AC Milan vs Barcelona Live Streaming
You could have almost guessed this fixture when the draws were being pulled out. AC Milan and Barcelona are two of the most historic heavyweights in European football, with the latter seeing more success recently.
While AC Milan have considerably changed over the last few seasons, Barcelona have maintained a consistent squad — a golden generation of stars which include Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Carles Puyol.
Milan, who lost the likes of Alessandro Nesta, Clarence Seedorf, Gennaro Gattuso, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva last summer have had a stop-start season built around the emergence of young Stephan El Shaarawy and most recently, Mario Balotelli (who is cup tied for this match).
The two teams make for a mouthwatering clash in Milan when they meet tonight.
Milan and Barcelona have clashed 10 times since the turn of the millennium and a total of 15 times in European competition. The first time they met was in 1959, in the European Champion Clubs’ Cup.
Their latest encounter was in last season’s Champions League quarterfinal stage, where Barcelona won 3-1 on aggregate.
Head-to-head, Milan have won four times, drawn five times and lost six. Barcelona have scored more goals — 22, while conceding 19.
Barcelona are 13 points clear at the top of the La Liga table and will consider this season’s domestic league won. Do not expect them to slip from such a position.
Milan are fourth in the Serie A, 11 points behind Juventus, but their recent form has been remarkable — recording just one loss in 13 matches (most recent matches last).
Barcelona form guide: W-L-W-L-D-W-W-W-D-W
AC Milan form guide: W-W-D-L-W-W-D-D-W-W
Philippe Mexes vs Lionel Messi: The superlatives for Messi are too few. With Pedro and Andres Iniesta to control the wings, Messi will revel in a more central role and will go head on against Mexes. Tight marking will not help, nor will zonal. Closing him down also doesn’t help. But Mexes can physically dominate the Argentine, only hoping that he doesn’t sell himself with a silly tackle.
Massimo Ambrosini vs Cesc Fabregas: To be fair to him, Fabregas has done very well at Barcelona since his departure from Arsenal. But tonight, he comes up against an enforcer of the highest quality. We’re pretty sure Ambrosini will be egged on by the home crowd to stay tight on the Barcelona man, stopping him from entering those striking areas which he so beautifully does. The only place where the Milan player will lag in is pace. Fabregas has 10 years on him and should exploit that fact.
Ricardo Montolivo vs Sergio Busquets: Montolivo was a star at Fiorentina and has quickly risen as Milan’s No.1 attacking midfielder. He is agile, tricky, and has the ability to find the right pass. If El Shaarawy can make those cross-field runs, then Montolivo will be the man Barcelona need to stop. Busquets himself is quite efficient in doing that, and will use his imposing height to stop Montolivo. This will be an interesting battle.
Stephan El Shaarawy vs Dani Alves: 17-goal Shaarawy will be a handful for Alves. For one, he will not allow the right-back to make attacking forays — because that will leave Barcelona’s left-wing exposed. Both players like playing with some flair and this will be a personal battle of tricks, flicks and crossing. We believe Alves might have a hard time tonight. Advantage El Shaarawy.
Mattia De Sciglio vs Pedro: Pedro is underrated and probably overshadowed by Messi’s astronomical stats. But he will come up against a very impressive young fullback. Sciglio is known for his reliability at the back and Pedro cannot take anything for granted. Pedro creates a lot of chances and loves to take up a striking role when Messi strays wide, so it will be important to see the interchanging that happens if Sciglio starts having an influence on the game.