AC Milan have been a team searching for an identity this season, with key players leaving in the summer, but Massimiliano Allegri has done remarkably well to keep the club competitive. Milan’s most regular system is a 4-3-3 variation, with a designated holding midfielder and a narrow front three. Mario Balotelli has recently starred as the central forward but will be cup-tied, so either Stephan El Shaarawy or Giampaolo Pazzini will play in his place. Kevin-Prince Boateng is likely to start on the left in place of the injured Robinho to offer defensive solidity, while Allegri can choose between Riccardo Montilivo, Sulley Muntari, Antonio Nocerino and Mathieu Flamini for midfield positions. With Nigel De Jong injured, Massimo Ambrosini will probably play in the holding role.
Milan face Barcelona, the team that have defined the 4-3-3 shape more than any other in recent years. With manager Tito Vilanova recovering from cancer treatment in New York, assistant Jordi Roura will continue to take charge of the team but has no major injury concerns… (Read more)