FC Barcelona VS Inter Milan | UCL Match Prediction

FC Barcelona VS Inter Milan | UCL Match Prediction

UEFA Champions League: FC Barcelona will be without their No. 10, Lionel Messi as they take on Inter Milan at Camp Nou. Will Icardi steal the show tonight?

On 24th October, Wednesday, FC Barcelona host Inter Milan for a mammoth Group B clash on matchday 3 of UEFA Champions League 2018/19. Both Internazionale and the Catalans boast a 100% record so far in Group B, which will be on the line as the two sides go head-on at Camp Nou.

Barcelona and Inter Milan have a rich history when it comes to European competitions. The Catalans have faced against the three-time European champions, Inter, 10 times, with Barça having registered 5 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses against the I Nerazzurri.

Inter are on fire, winning seven consecutive games in Italy and Europe and having just beaten their biggest rivals, AC Milan, with a last-minute goal on Sunday. As for Barcelona, a very solid performance and a great victory to reclaim the top of La Liga against Sevilla was spoiled by an injury to Lionel Messi last Sunday. However, Barca looks keen to make it 3 out of 3 against Inter, as they are sure to consider this clash as a warm-up to the El Classico this coming weekend.

Ernesto Valverde’s men looked in good spirits despite Messi’s absence and Barca full-back Jordi Alba is confident his side can come away with the three points nonetheless. ‘Inter are a very hard team to beat and they are playing well at the moment. But we think we can win this, especially with our fans behind us,’ he told the club’s official website. ‘His absence especially affects my own game’ he confessed. ‘But he’s important for all of us because he makes us all play better. We’ll have to do our very best, and I’m more than certain that we will.’

In Messi’s absence, Barcelona will start with Luis Suarez up front supported by Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele of either side. Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets will assume their traditional positions in the midfield alongside the heir to Xavi’s throne, Arthur who has made a big impression since arriving at the Nou Camp and will be trusted in the Champions League once again. Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen are ruled out of the clash, meaning Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet will start in the heart of defence. Sergi Roberto will be preferred to Nelson Semedo at right-back, with Jordi Alba on the left side.

Inter have collected maximum points through two matches, topping Tottenham and PSV Eindhoven to open Champions League play in a difficult Group B. The Italian club topped Tottenham 2 – 1 at the San Siro to open the competition behind goals from Icardi and Matias Vencino before defeating PSV in the Netherlands by the same scoreline in their second match.

The man Barca should worry about is Inter’s Talisman Mauro Icardi who has scored six goals in nine games so far this season. Against AC Milan at the weekend, Mauro Icardi did not have the greatest game with fewer than 20 touches throughout the 90+ minutes. On Wednesday, Icardi is likely to once again spend large periods of time off the ball with Barcelona pressing, but he has shown he only needs one touch to score.

Inter has faced a tough start to the season as the I Nerazzurri remain 3rd in the Serie A. However, things are changing for the better at San Siro as Internazionale have recorded 7 wins in the last 7 games with their fine form starting with the win against Tottenham Hotspur in the first Matchday of this season’s Champions League. With this, Inter is sure to take the fight to Camp Nou as the fans will be gifted with an exciting fixture.

AC Milan 2 – 1 AS Roma: Post-Match Review

AC Milan 2 - 1 AS Roma: Post-Match Review

On 31st  August, AC Milan and AS Roma played it out under the floodlights of Sam Siro as the home team emerged victorious in a nail-biting fixture that saw the Rosseneri clinch a late winner.

Following the opening round’s 3-2 defeat at Napoli when they threw away a 2-0 lead, Milan appeared set to suffer another disappointing night before Patrick Cutrone converted a defence-splitting pass by Gonzalo Higuain in the death of  stoppage time moving Roma’s record to 1-1-1.

Milan might not be in the reckoning as genuine title challengers to Juventus this season, but they showed exactly why they are very highly rated. A team with a wonderful balance of experience and youth, flair and grit, this Milan side have genuine potential to challenge for the league soon.  Gennaro Gattuso has Milan playing wonderful passing soccer — in many ways the opposite of how Gattuso himself played — and he would have been proud of the character showed by his team last night to hand Roma their first defeat in over three years at the San Siro. With rumours aplenty that former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was being lined up to replace Gattuso in case of a prolonged poor start to the season, the Milan Manager had a lot at stake as he went in the game with the pressure on him.

 Determined to make amends for the slip-up at Napoli, Milan laid siege to Roma’s goal in the opening half.  Ivory Coast midfielder Franck Kessie opened the scoring in the 40th minute, after good work by left back Ricardo Rodriguez, who turned his marker and delivered a clever pass across the face of goal. The pressure was building on Milan with a breakthrough coming in the 59th minute as Roma equalised unexpectedly just before the hour as centre back Federico Fazio unleashed a stinging volley from inside the penalty area after Milan failed to clear a corner.

Gonzalo Higuain then thought he had netted his first goal for Milan after dispatching his effort in the 61st minute. Nevertheless, his goal was chalked off for offside, after replays showed he had strayed fractionally beyond the last defender as he raced clear on goal. N’Zonzi was the next man to fall foul of technology, although the shaky set piece defending on display from the hosts made Roma appear the most likely winners. Cutrone had other ideas. Alisson left sizeable gloves to fill at Roma. Olsen might lack the flashy footwork of his Brazilian predecessor but he is proving an instantly reassuring presence and chipped in with fine saves in either half. Gattuso, famously a combative midfielder during his playing days, was impressed by his team’s willingness to battle through some heavy weather when Roma were in the ascendancy after half-time. “We worked on our mentality and on knowing how to suffer. We can’t think that we can control the game for 90 minutes. Sometimes you need to play with a knife between your teeth”, he said.

And just when it looked as if both sides would take a share of the spoils, Milan’s hard work paid off as Cutrone latched onto a Higuain pass to fire past Robin Olsen. The ex-Juventus striker expertly found the youngster in the centre of the box, who guided his effort into the bottom right corner, much to the delight of the 60,000 Rosseneri fans in San Siro.

Roma dominated the second half. That much was certain. In many ways though, it was this domination and pursuit of all three points that cost them the game. Eusebio Di Francesco will be pleased with the effort put in by his players in the second half, after being thoroughly outplayed in the first, but maybe a little tactical naivety came into play right at the end for his team.

 Roma could have gone to the top of the Serie A table with a point, while Milan picked up their first victory of the campaign after suffering a last-gasp defeat against Napoli last time out.