What: UEFA Champions League – Group H
Who: Barcelona vs AC Milan 
When: Wednesday 6th November, 2013, at 19:45 UK Time
Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain

Sky High

Few teams are finding better luck at this moment than Barcelona. After three games in the Champions League group stage, the Catalans are top, with seven points from three fixtures. A win against Milan at the Camp Nou will ensure a qualification ticket to the next round, but Gerardo Martino’s men will have to be very careful as they will be facing a wounded side that have nothing to lose.

The Blaugrana enjoy an excellent record against Milan, as they are unbeaten when facing the Lombardi side in ten of the last eleven matches, with the only defeat coming last February at the San Siro. However, club forward Pedro Rodriguez has refused to take the Rossoneri for granted, stating that his side will have to be cautious on the night. 

“We would obviously like to win the match. We are doing very well in the group, but this is a team that always demand a lot from us. We should be very attentive to everything that happens on the pitch”, he said.

At home, Barcelona have been free-scoring against Milan, as they have managed to score at least twice the last three times they have met the Rossoneri.

Disastrous Run

Things could not be any worse for AC Milan. While the Rossoneri are second in their Champions League group behind opponents Barcelona, they are in 11th place in the Serie A standings, with just three wins after eleven league fixtures. With three losses in their last six domestic games, Massimiliano Allegri is under a lot of pressure to turn his team’s fortunes around. Battered and facing an in-form Barcelona at the Camp Nou, the former Cagliari boss will not be doing himself any favours should he return to Italy with a loss.

The seven-time Champions League winners suffered a home defeat to Fiorentina at the weekend, prompting their coach to severely criticise his side as he called for future improvements. 

“I have to find a solution to this situation because we have to do better. The last half an hour was embarrassing. It was the worst in my three and a half years at the club. We did not play well and we conceded goals in their only attack. We have to work harder to improve and look to improve the mentality of the team. The responsibility lies with me and we have to look analyse everything and prepare well for the rest of the season and not only the next important match against Barcelona”, commented Allegri.

 

Recent form

Barcelona:
Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid (26/10; La Liga)
Celta Vigo 0-3 Barcelona (29/10; La Liga)
Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol (01/11; La Liga)

AC Milan:
Parma 3-2 AC Milan (27/10; Serie A)
AC Milan 1-1 Lazio (30/10; Serie A)
AC Milan 0-2 Fiorentina (02/11; Serie A)

Key absences

Barcelona: Adriano; Jonathan dos Santos; Jordi Alba; Ibrahim Afellay

AC Milan: Mattia De Sciglio; Matias Silvestre; Stephan El Shaarawy; Giampaolo Pazzini; Daniele Bonera

Players to watch

Barcelona – Lionel Messi: The star man has now gone three games without finding the back of the net, with his last strike coincidentally being against Milan themselves a fortnight ago. Lucky for Barcelona, Neymar and Alexis Sanchez picked things up in attack, but the Argentine will surely want to get back to his best.

AC Milan – Mario Balotelli: The former Manchester City man was practically non-existent against Fiorentina, which only led to more criticism surrounding his displays and status as a Milan player. At his best, Balotelli is unplayable, and his fans will be hoping for a revival at the Camp Nou.

Match Prediction

Milan are in awful form going into this clash and they lack the proper preparation and will to tackle a team of Barcelona’s stature at the Camp Nou. Martino’s side are enjoying their football at the moment and they will grab another win against their European foes. Barcelona 2-0 AC Milan.

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