UEFA Champions League Group H. Kick off: Tuesday 7.45pm. Live on Sky Sports 4.
Fixtures like this are what the champions league is all about.
The San Siro plays host to two of the most glamorous teams in the world but the bookies reckon there’s only going to be one Winner. The best odds you’ll get on a Barca win are 13/20 with Sportingbet, whilst the Rossoneri are a massive 11/2 with Bet365.
To be fair though that’s probably a true reflection of the form of both sides. Barca are riding high at the top of La Liga, dropping their first points of the season on Saturday in a 0-0 draw at Osasuna. Milan though, are treading water in Serie A. A 1-0 win at home to Udinese kept them in the top half but performances have been uninspiring to say the least. They’re already 13 points off the pace-setters Roma who have made a sensational start to the season.
Injuries haven’t helped coach Massimiliano Allegri so far and he looks set to be without the enigmatic Mario Balotelli and ‘keeper Christian Abbiati for the visit of Barca. Allegri will be hoping to improve on previous performances in the Champions League where they’ve laboured to a 2-0 win over Celtic in the San Siro then stole a point away to Ajax in injury time. Milan’s possession in both matches doesn’t bode well for this match either at just 53% (v Celtic) and 41% (v Ajax). We all know how good Barca’s ball retention can be so don’t expect Milan to see too much of the ball as Messi and co. attempt to wear them down.
Speaking of Messi, he’s back in action after a lay-off due to injury. He and Puyol look set to start in the San Siro, meaning the Spaniards will be more or less at full strength.
It’s hard to disagree with the bookies assumption that Barca should walk this one. 13/20 might be short but trying to make a case for a Milan win is very tough so if you’re looking for a bet on the outright market then it really needs to be on Barcelona.
However, an interesting stat from Group H is that 8 of the 9 goals scored so far have come in the second half. Barca have the patience to keep knocking the ball about until the goals come and Milan have shown a lack of urgency, until it really matters, in their two games to date, in fact 4 of Milan’s last 7 goals have come after the 89th minute. A stand-out bet looks like Ladbrokes 11/10 that the half with most goals will be the second half.
Selectabet’s Best Bet
Highest Scoring Half- Second Half 11/10 (Ladbrokes)