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Champions League • Barcelona vs. Milan: This Too Shall Pass


As if it’s not hard enough to be a Milan fan right now, or even worse, one of the players, now we go to Barcelona on Wednesday to face our favorite European nemeses…. again. But it’s okay, because it’s just like beating your head against the wall. Which is just like watching pretty much every Milan performance this season. So it’s all good. Or not. But whatever, after Wednesday night, it will all be over… or at least until the next time Milan are in a Champions League draw. Which is looking right now to be a very long time in the future. But don’t worry, like everything else this season, this too shall pass.




Just so you don’t think I was trying to be all unique by being the only Milan blogger in the world to embed a three year old Rube Goldberg Machine music video in my Barca-Milan preview, I just figured that we needed something worth watching right now. (Although I’m pretty sure that this is the only Barca-Milan preview with an OK GO Rube Goldberg Machine music video in it, too.) With Barcelona being pretty much like a well-oiled machine and Milan being… well whatever you want to call the opposite of that, and also because there is a giant red and black football near the end of the video, I figured it was a sign. And, unlike Allegri’s Milan, where there seems to be no plan and no direction, I thought you should see what a team of ultra cool nerds and artists could do with a little planning and direction. So if the thought of playing Barcelona at this point freaks you out, just play the video again. You’re welcome.

The machine, as I like to call Barca these days, was frustrated by a 1-1 draw at the San Siro to Allegri’s Milan... ¡Ay caramba! This, after losing to the man with no tactics last season in Milano, I’m sure they are most frustrated. So I’m sure that Tata Martino has been tuning up his machine in the past couple of weeks so that maybe he can repeat the vengeance of Roura last year in the Round of 16, when after losing to Milan at the San Siro, Barcelona fought back for an impressive 4-0 win at the Camp Nou to eliminate Milan from the Champions League. With Milan’s form and more importantly the freefall that is our entire organization right now, it’s honestly very hard to imagine a favorable result in Spain this time around. Although even a draw would help keep our dreams alive of getting through the Group Stage.

A well-oiled machine I'd prefer to look at rather than those Barcelona players again

Since we last met, not even two weeks ago, Barcelona have won all three of their league matches, including beating Real Madrid 2-1 in the first of 328 el Clásico matches this year (that last figure may not be accurate.) Most recently, on Friday, they beat Espanyol in their derby 1-0 at home with a gaol by Alexis Sanchez. Martino lined up Valdes; Montoya, Pique, Mascherano, Alves; Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets; Sanchez, Messi, and Neymar. Martino is still missing Jordi Alba and Affellay, and will also be missing dos Santos due to injury. Rumor has it that Messi is doubtful for this match, but I’m not sure if that is a fitness issue or the media-produced mental injury that is a whopping 4 game league scoring drought for the tiny scoring machine. (He must have caught that from Balotelli.)

As for Allegri, he will line up 11 players. Who they are, whether or not they will all be fit enough is a huge question that I will not pretend to answer. Part of it will depend on how things go at the ritiro slumber party. Abbiati is back fit, and I would guess that he should start given his experience, but that young phenom in goal Gabriel, despite having conceded 6 goals while covering for the veteran, could conceivably start, I suppose. Allegri will have Mexes at his disposal, as his 328 game ban only applies to league matches (that last figure may not be accurate.) However, after some swelling of the same knee that was operated on in September, De Sciglio is almost undoubtedly ruled out for the trip. Also unlikely to make the trip is any sort of game plan, tactics, direction, guidance, or morale. All of those things have been ruled out due to incompetence.

Not sure if it's ritiro or if they're being held hostage

However, having faced Barcelona 328 times (that last figure may not be accurate,) there is always the hope that Allegri’s once a season I-think-I-know-how-to-do-this-one-against-Barca luck will extend to two games. Just don’t hold your breath. And look for Balotelli and possibly his manager, the great Raiola, to spend even more time in Barca’s locker room this time, too. After all, a well-oiled machine is always more fun than a sinking ship. But my heart is sticking with the sinking ship. So whatever happens on Wednesday in Barcelona, I’ll know that at least this too shall pass.


This post inspired by the music of OK Go’s “This Too Shall Pass” and the genius of the science-meets-art geeks of Mindshare


Champions League Group Stage
FC Barcelona vs. AC Milan
Wednesday, November 6 • 20:45 CET (2:45 EST)
This match will be shown LIVE on Fox Sport 1 in the US
Check comments for stream links ahead of the match


Stay tuned tomorrow for a brand new podcast!!