When the Champions League draw was made back in December, Milan were riding high on a long unbeaten run and Manchester United were struggling to get four fit defenders. At that time, this looked like a good draw for Milan and I thought they have a good chance to knock off Man Utd.
We times have changed. The Milan team is aging before our eyes, Manchester United have fit defenders and Wayne Rooney is playing like the best player in Europe. This tie looks very different now.
The background to the game has been all about David Beckham facing his old team. But the two stars who will decide the tie and Wayne Rooney and Pato. The problem for Milan is that Rooney is in the form of his life, while Pato is not fully fit.
I cannot see anything other than Manchester United progressing to the Champions League quarter-finals. Milan will put up a good fit, they are a very proud team, but they are playing a younger, faster team and over the two legs that youth and speed will be too much for Milan. The only way I can see Milan winning this, is if Ronaldinho somehow manages to turn back the clock and dominate the two legs like he used to do five years ago.
Out: Marco Borriello (knee), Gianluca Zambrotta (muscular problem)
Misses next match if booked: Ignazio Abate
Out: John O’Shea (leg), Nemanja Vidić (calf), Ryan Giggs (fractured right arm), Anderson (unknown)
Doubtful: Rio Ferdinand (back)
- Milan have emerged victorious on the four previous occasion the clubs have met over two legs in Europe, winning semi-final ties in the European Champion Clubs’ Cup in 1957/58, 1968/69 and 2006/07 as well as in the UEFA Champions League first knockout round in 2004/05.
- United are seeking a fourth successive quarter-final berth and travel to Milan on the back of three straight away wins in this season’s competition and five in total.