I’d be lying if I said I was surprised at the draw. Milan tend to draw tough in the UEFA Champions League and the quarterfinal draw held in Nyon, Switzerland handed us another one.
The Rossoneri will host the strongest side in the world and one of the greatest ever (second to Sacchi’s Milan of course) in FC Barcelona March 28th at the San Siro. Barcelona and Milan finished 1st and 2nd in their group respectively. Having already played a match a piece at each others’ grounds, there will be a sense of familiarity between the two squads. Playing the home leg first might be nice for Milan. Sure up the defense, double up and press Messi, and try to keep Barcelona’s away tally to a minimum. Easier said than done, I know. Considering we already achieved a scoring draw at the Camp Nou, AC Milan are capable of getting a result in Barcelona. This makes the first leg even more important. We must limit the amount of chances they create and the number of touches Messi gets on the ball. If we can limit Barca to a goal at the most, I would be very happy heading back to Barcelona on April 3rd knowing that a scoring draw will give us a chance at progression.
Choosing the right personnel will prove an interesting challenge for Mister Allegri. The biggest problem, as has been the case ever since the immortal Paolo Maldini retired, is at left back. As we have seen, Mesbah will not cut it at this level. Ruling him out, that leaves only two options in my opinion. The fight for the position should be between Philippe Mexes and Urby Emanuelson. I have not seen Mexes play as a left back before, but considering he is a French international who was up for the captaincy, I would like to think he could fill the role. The other, and perhaps the more sensible, answer would be Urby. He has the pace and technique to hold his own at left back, where he did feature for his former club Ajax. With this in mind, my desired formation and personnel at home against Barca would be:
GK – Christian Abbiati
LB – Urby, CB – Nesta, CB – Silva, RB- Abate
CDM – Van Bommel, LM – Nocerino, RM – Aquilani, CAM – Boateng
LS – Ibra, RS – Pato
I could argue for the use of two defensive midfielders, but considering this formation has taken us to the quarters of the Champions League and the top of Serie A, we should stick with it.
The rest will be decided on the pitch. If you’re like me, you are already coming up with a way to get out of work on March 28th so you don’t miss a minute of the action. I will be watching with you 2:45 PM EDT. Until then, stay thirsty my friends. Forza Milan.