Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Champions League: AC Milan - Real Madrid: San Siro Preview By Muna

As all of you can see, I have been very very irregular in updating my blog, and it's been a long time since I have written anything, but not to worry, I had talked to Munachismo a long time ago about contributing on the blog, he too unfortunately was kept busy by his school work, so even he couldn't contribute, but now he's free so he's willing to help me out, and I'm greatly thankful to him. You might see a post or two from me soon enough, but in the meantime enjoy this one from Muna.


Mourinho and his men put up a very thrilling display in the first leg tie against the Italian giants. An encounter that sent the Madrid faithful home with a lot to be proud of. Well, the second leg is at hand and as usual, we’re going down to Italy.

It’s going to be a more tricky encounter considering that the players would be up against a very emotional Milan crowd and more importantly, some tactical changes would be expected from Milan coach, Massimo Allegri.

AC Milan

Here’s AC Milan’s squad list for the game: Abbiati, Zambrotta, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Antonini, Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf, Robinho, Pato, Ibrahimovic, Amelia, Sokratis, Jankulovski, Abate, Flamini, Ronaldinho, Ambrosini, Inzaghi, Boateng.

In the first game, the Italian club began with a formation that looked like this:

Zambrotta --- Nesta -- Bonera--- Antonini
--------Gattuso --- Pirlo --- Seedorf-------
Pato ------------- Zlatan -------- Ronaldinho

The biggest concern Milanistas had with the midfield trio of Pirlo, Gattuso, and Seedorf was their age and level of speed. Fortunately for us, their fears were made a reality because our rather young midfield outran them throughout the game.

However, I expect Allegri to make some crucial changes to this line up. I’d expect one of the three central midfielders to be replaced with Kevin Prince Boateng ( probably Seedorf) and Robinho to make the cut; he would probably replace Ronaldinho or Pato. Pato is the most likely one to be replaced because his form as of late has disconcerting. Besides, he was marked out of the game by the Madrid defense in the first game.

Thiago Silva will also make the cut after missing the first leg of tie because of an injury. He might give our attackers a run for their money.

Then again, there’s also the issue of motivation. AC Milan came out of a very disappointing loss against Juventus during the weekend and there are two things that could result from that. The first one is that they could lose some confidence in themselves which would lead to sloppy football on their part come Wednesday.

The second one is the direct opposite to the first. They could be more motivated than ever and want to give it to us hard, just to prove a point.

Quite frankly, I think the second one is the case because from what Massimo Allegri has been saying to the press, I can tell he’s pretty confident. Here’s one of his most recent quotes:

"We made too many mistakes in the Bernabeu, and they scored lucky goals."

Yes, they made many mistakes, but blaming luck for the goals we scored is laughable. I think this guy is a good coach, but if he comes out with the same tactical set up he had in Spain, hoping for luck to change sides, then he's in for a very unpleasant surprise.

Real Madrid

Squad list for the game tomorrow : Casillas, Dudek, Adan, Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Albiol, Marcelo, Mateos, Carvalho, Khedira, Alonso, Ozil, Diarra, Canales, Granero, Pedro Leon, Di Maria, Benzema, Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Kaka, Gago, and Garay are still injured; with Gago being the closest to full recovery and Lass was left out for "coaching decisions." If I were to take a wild guess, I’d say Mourinho is punishing him for his comments during in France during the last international break. For those of you who don’t know what he said, here’s a quote from him:
“I seem to play one in every two games. I want more minutes, and if I am unhappy, then I will draw my own conclusions. I’m not willing to be a spectator. I want to play.”

Well, if this is what he really said, then he cannot say he did not see this coming.

Last time against Milan, Mourinho set up the team like this:

Arbeloa --- Pepe -- Carvalho --- Marcelo
Di Maria--------------------------Ronaldo

Two defensive midfielders with Khedira playing a more attacking role than Alonso. By my judgement, Arbeloa had a relatively poor game, considering that every other person was on fire. Sergio Ramos would most likely start tomorrow, but I must say, Sergio’s form has been disheartening recently. I was not impressed at all with his performance during the weekend against Hercules. We can only hope for his form to improve.

I don’t expect too many changes, but rumors have it that Mourinho might be playing the formation he used against Auxerre, which is playing three defensive midfielders with two wingers and a striker.

This would mean Ozil would have to make way for one of M. Diarra or Estaban Granero. This approach would be a more defensive one than our previous games but I won’t complain a lot since this is an away match against one of the big boys in Europe.

But if that formation is not adopted, then expect to see the same players we’ve been seeing for some games now.

I hope I’ve done a decent job here. It’s definitely not one of the best previews you’ve seen, but I think it’s good enough to keep the blog rolling. Hopefully, this would be the first of many other posts from me. I’m predicting a 2-1 win for Madrid. Finally, we can only wish the players a safe journey back from Italy and a good game to embellish it. Hala Madrid!


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