Two European giants meet up in this glamorous Champions League quarter-final. Check out who we’re backing with our soccer picks.
This Wednesday we see the first leg of what should be a cracking last eight affair.
Barcelona takes on Milan at the San Siro and are the favorites in the soccer odds at the moment. They can be found anywhere from +370 to +453, which seems like great value for a team as talented as the Rossoneri.
The Catalan powerhouses are at -145 at in places and -148 at others, which again could be interpreted as good value on Messi & company. This is a team that not only doesn’t lose, they have a tendency to win big.
Visitors favored in first leg
Barcelona has won nine straight matches across all competitions and currently sit six points behind Real Madrid for the top spot in La Liga. There’s still plenty of time for Pep Guardiola’s squad to mount a serious challenge for the league title.
In Europe, Barcelona have been fabulous. They breezed through the group stages and then smashed Bayer Leverkusen 10-2 on aggregate in the round of 16.
The only real trouble posed to Barca in this competition has come from their quarter-final opponents AC Milan, who were also in their group. The Italians drew with Barcelona 2-2 at Camp Nou and then lost 3-2 at home during that stage of the competition.
Milan currently resides in first place in Serie A, four points clear of Juventus. In the Champions League the Rossoneri survived a spirited comeback from Arsenal to win 4-3 on aggregate in the round of 16.
The Italians were, however, dealt a serious blow recently with the news that Brazilian defender Thiago Silva will miss a month due to a thigh injury.
Regardless, Milan has plenty of firepower, namely in the form of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede has 29 club goals in all competitions this season and just bagged a brace in his team’s latest win over Roma.
Can Ibrahimovic pick up the slack?
Ibrahimovic is the golden man and will be counted on in a big way considering Milan is without a host of their most influential players. Pato, Silva and Robinho among others are all banged up, while Mark Van Bommel is suspended for the first leg.
How does that affect my pick?
Call me crazy, but I think Barcelona may be a bit overvalued for this match. Even with health problems mounting, I don’t think Milan should be such big underdogs at the San Siro, especially since they’ve proven they can hang with Barca already this campaign.
However, I’m not going to go too crazy. A draw seems like a plausible result and wouldn’t be too detrimental to either side’s chances of moving on to the semi-finals. Milan got a point out of the Spaniards back in September and would be eager to prove they can do it again.
But, with Milan’s growing injury list plaguing the team and Barcelona finding their form again, I have to back a narrow victory for the visitors here. Messi is simply unstoppable right now and is sure to influence proceedings again on Wednesday.
Milan is going to need a perfect defensive performance to keep Barcelona at bay for the full 90 minutes and I just don’t think it’ll be possible in the end.
My Pick: Milan 1 Barcelona 2
Thanks to Steven Suarez (sbrforum.com)