Inter Milan vs. Barcelona Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan, Italy Tuesday, April 20, 2010 2:45 PM EST
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Match Odds: Barcelona 2.25 / Inter Milan 3.00 / Draw 3.20
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
Moneyline: Barcelona +120 / Inter Milan +210 / Draw +230
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In a HUGE, major understatement, soccer match on Tuesday night in the first leg of a Champions League semifinal Inter Milan hosts Barcelona. Barcelona is the defending champion and Inter Milan is finally not a disappointment in the Champions League after being bounced out early in the past few years.
The tide has turned for Inter Milan, as in the past 4 years they have won the Italian Serie A league, but have flamed out in the Champions League. However, this season they find themselves in danger of not winning their domestic league, but are in the semis of the biggest club soccer competition in the world.
Inter Milan head coach Jose Mourinho along with Bayern Munich’s Louis Van Gaal are the only coaches to lead teams to the Champions League semis with 3 different clubs.
These 2 teams met in the group stage of the Champions League and in the last match in Milan the teams played to a 0-0 draw.
Barcelona is coming off a performance of Lionel Messi scoring 4 goals against Arsenal in the quarterfinals of the Champions League that many are calling one of the greatest individual matches of all time.
Barcelona has a star-studded squad that is impressive on both sides of the field, but they failed to score this last weekend in a La Liga match and they will be without one of their leaders, as Andres Iniesta is injured.
This season in their respective leagues Barcelona has scored 80 goals and given up 19 in La Liga and Inter Milan has scored 65 goals and given up 30.
Inter Milan Recent Form:
4/16/2010 Inter Milan 2 Juventus 0 (Serie A)
4/13/2010 Fiorentina 0 Inter Milan 0 (Coppa Italia)
4/10/2010 Fiorentina 2 Inter Milan 2 (Serie A)
4/6/2010 CSKA Moscow 0 Inter Milan 1 (Champions League)
4/3/2010 Inter Milan 3 Bologna 0 (Serie A)
Barcelona Recent Form:
4/17/2010 Espanyol 0 Barcelona 0 (La Liga)
4/14/2010 Barcelona 3 Deportivo La Coruna 0 (La Liga)
4/10/2010 Real Madrid 0 Barcelona 0 (La Liga)
4/6/2010 Barcelona 4 Arsenal 1 (Champions League)
4/3/2010 Barcelona 4 Atletic Bilbao 1 (La LIga)
For Inter both Francesco Toldo and Davide Santon will not play in this match, but other than that they are ok. Inter will likely use an attacking formation and a tight midfield.
Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta will not play in this match due to an injury and Eric Abidal has not been given the green light to play as of yet, but is on the traveling squad. It may be interesting to see how the Barca players come out, as they had to take the bus to Milan because of the grounded air traffic with the volcano eruption in Iceland.
Inter Milan MF Wesley Sneijder will be key in this match, as he will be controlling the midfield and try to set up the Inter strikers. If Inter Milan gets the chance to score on free kicks his skills will be of great value.
Barcelona has one of the best offenses in Europe, but in 7 of their past 10 matches they have gone Under 2.5 goals.
Inter Milan will have to key on Lionel Messi and I think that they will learn their lesson from watching the Arsenal tape and keep a man on him all match. Messi may be the best goal-scorer in the world, but I see him getting blanked in this match.
Inter Milan may wait for the opportunity for a counter attack and since Barcelona’s defense is not at 100% I think they will take advantage of it and score.
Look for Milan to try to clog the midfield, especially thwarting the passing of Xavi, which will really limit Barcelona’s chances to have opportunities to find the back of the net.
Jason’s Pick: This one is a hard one to pick, but for some reason I think Inter Milan will come out and really give Barcelona fits. I see this game being very low scoring, but Inter will break through and score one goal to give them the advantage heading back to Spain. A draw is also a good call, but I believe Inter Milan will win 1-0.