Barcelona Vs. AC Milan, 2011 UEFA Champions League: Rossoneri's Absences Limit Max Allegri's Options

When at home at the Camp Nou, FC Barcelona are favorites to win against any team in the world. It was always going to be a tall order for AC Milan to go away to Barcelona and get a result. Despite that, AC Milan has an extremely strong squad that proved their credentials as an elite team in the 2010-11 season, winning the Scudetto. Their talent, previous form, depth, and the tactical acumen of their manager should give them a chance to get a result in theory.

Unfortunately for them, one of those key assets - depth - has been taken away from them. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robinho, Phillipe Mexes, Mathieu Flamini and Gennaro Gattuso are all unavailable. Taye Taiwo is coming back to fitness but is not expected to start. Most of Max Allegri's big decisions have already been made for him. Pato and Antonio Cassano will start up front, while Thiago Silva and Alessandro Nesta will start in the back.

Still, Allegri could alter the game with his midfield selections. Unless Allegri pulls a rabbit out of his hat and decides to play some odd variation on a 4-3-3/4-5-1 setup, he has to pick four of these men to play in midfield: Mark Van Bommel, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Clarence Seedorf, Alberto Aquilani, Antonio Nocerino and Massimo Ambrosini. All of them present very different options, and based on his game plan, Allegri could conceivably pick any four of them. It sounds like strength in depth, but the leadership of Gattuso, as well as the athleticism of Flamini will be sorely missed.

The world expects a Barca win on Tuesday night, while Max Allegri likely expects otherwise. If he had a full squad available, the world might believe in his team's ability to get a result.

For more on Barcelona and this match, head over to SB Nation's Barcelona blog, Barca Blaugranes and be sure to visit AC Milan Offside. Keep it on our Barcelona vs. AC Milan StoryStream for updates leading up to the match, during the match and post-match. Check out SB Nation Soccer for news and updates on all of the UEFA Champions League action.  

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