Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Who are AC Milan and how do we stop them?

AC Milan's formidable three-pronged attack will have to be subdued if we want anything out of this game. Harry Redknapp said we will play attacking football as it's served us well so far but all three are well-regarded hitmen - so our defence is still going to have a huge job on its hands.

Who is Robinho?
The pacy Brazilian striker was once hailed as "Pele's successor" by Pele himself and has notched 10 goals in 29 appearances so far this season, to add to his 25 career international goals in 84 caps.  

How do we stop him?
Robinho's most likely to be employed down the left, so Corluka or Hutton will have their work  cut out. I fear that Hutton could struggle to contain his surging runs towards the penalty area. Once behind the back line Robinho is devastating, so Corluka is better equipped to stifle his largely selfish game by standing him up and pushing him towards the channels. 

From his Man City days, we know that Robinho is temperamental and drifts in and out of big games. The Sun report that the forward says it would be a "disaster" for AC to lose to us. They may be feeling the pressure of being strong favourites, which could work in our favour.

Who is Zlatan Ibrahimovic?
The lanky Swede is one of the world's highest-paid players and his record this season reads 18 goals in 31 games - in addition to 13 assists, which means he's just as dangerous creating as he is finishing. The British press have made much of the fact that Ibrahimovic rarely scores against British sides. But his brace for Barcelona knocked Arsenal out at the quarter-final stage last season.

How do we stop him?
Concentration and attacking the high balls. The majority of "Zuperman's" goals come from his quick feet inside the area, and his technique in bringing down a high ball in the box is second to none. At 6ft 5in, he's far taller than Gallas, so he needs to be closely marked by Dawson/Bassong to discourage the ball to feet, whilst keeping tabs on his wide colleagues at all times to stop him bringing them into play.

Who is Alexandre Pato?
Relatively unknown, when compared with the other two but the Brazilian has scored 45 senior goals in his Milan career thus far, made even more impressive when you realise he's only 21 years old. He missed the cut for the Brazil squad for the 2010 World Cup and has been criticised for his recent lack of Champions League goals.

How do we stop him?
It's sods' law that if a striker's been misfiring, then they'll find their form against us. But Goal.com charts his assists this season as zero, indicating another striker with a selfish strea. And reports suggest he is struggling to gel with his strike partners. Pushing him wide and isolating him from cutting inside or linking with his Ibrahimovic may be enough to keep him quiet.

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