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So... here comes Manchester United's biggest challenge in a long while... one which is definitely a mammoth task to accomplish... one which would require a majestic performance by each and every of those who steps out at the famous San Siro to succeed.

Why? Because the opponent of the day is no other than AC Milan, the famous Rossoneri in red and black, who have won 3 times as many European Cups/Champions League as our very own beloved club, and will look to add to that tally this season.

Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed that it will be a tougher task than the one in Turin in 1999. On that day, a younger Roy Keane turned in a fantastic, even out-of-this-world, individual performance, and was tremendously inspirational throughout. At that time, the Juve coach was none other than Carlo Ancelotti, the current Milan coach. He himself has learned from that heartbreaking experience and will seek to not commit the same mistake again.

Of course, with age, Keane's game has changed. Slower, and less mobile, he has also matured a lot, receiving much less bookings than in his heyday. However, his determination, drive, spirit and influence over the team hasn't changed, and without him, United never look the same force.

Keane's opposite number in Milan is none other than Paolo Maldini, the legendary defender who has spent almost 20 years at the club. Like Keane, he is much slower nowadays, but his influence remains the same. He has moved from left-back to centre-back in recent times to form a partnership with the superb Alessandro Nesta and this combination has only been breached 3 times in the Champions League all season.

Milan will look to exert their dominance in the return leg, and possession football would probably be what they seek. Ancelotti has came out stating that they will continue with the same tactics they used in Manchester, however it means that the game would be fairly open, and Rooney & Ronaldo would be given far more space to roam. I highly doubt Ancelotti's words as he should know that on their day, the two talented youngsters can wreak havoc in any defence, and that's not exactly what Milan would want, eh? I believe that their approach would be of a more defensive one, with man-marking on the two youngsters and also the likes of Van Nistelrooy, Scholes and Giggs. Upfront, they have players like Kaka, Rui Costa and Crespo, waiting for the chance to counter-attack. They have had to cope with the loss of Shevchenko in the last few matches and I feel that they have just about done that.

United will seek to raise the tempo of the game, and using the pace of their players, outpace the experienced but relatively slow Milan defenders. They will attack, attack and attack, but must be careful not to leave space at the back for Milan to counter-attack and exploit. Heinze's and Brown's, in for the injured Gary Neville, forward runs will be restricted, and I believe they should play a little inner to help out Ferdinand and Silvestre. The seniors in the team like Keane and Scholes are also responsible for leading the younger charges, and not let the hostile environment of 80,000 'Milanistas' affect them.

Overall, it would be a extremely close tie which would leave you hanging by the edge of your seat. Especially if the game is into the closing stages, and United are still 1 (or 2) goals away from winning the match. Don't say I didn't warn you of a heart attack!

A game full of passion and competitiveness, with nerves definitely required in a match of such stature. A feeling in me tells me that the Red Devils CAN overcome the defending Italian champions, signalling to the world that they were not finished yet - and far from it.


Team News
Milan - Kaladze, Shevchenko doubtful
Man Utd - G.Neville, Saha, Solskjaer out

Probable line-up:

Milan
4-3-2-1

---------------------------------Dida----------------------------------
Cafu----------------Nesta-------------------Maldini------------Pancaro
--------Gattuso-----------------Pirlo-----------------Seedorf----------
---------------------Kaka-----------------Rui Costa-------------------
-------------------------------Crespo---------------------------------

Man Utd
4-2-3-1 :D

--------------------------------Howard--------------------------------
----Brown---------Ferdinand--------------Silvestre----------Heinze----
--------------------------Keane--------Scholes------------------------
Ronaldo-------------------------Rooney--------------------------Giggs
-----------------------------Van Nistelrooy----------------------------


Prediction:
Milan [1] - [2] Man Utd
 

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Mourinho & Cassano!!
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Nice post dude

it should be a game for the ages
 

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Xtratime's Head of Humour 2007
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will he really play all Ronadlo, Rooney and Giggs altogether ? :eekani:

that would be a big mistake IMO,.
 

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It would be slightly lightweight if he did that - then again we need the win.

I have a sneaky feeling he will go with O'Shea or Fortune as a defensive midfielder - in both away games in the Treble season at Inter and Juve he employed Ronnie Johnsen as a DM - don't be surprised if he does the same tonight.

Alternatively if he goes 442 then all three will play.
 

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First of all I really hope it will be a great game, I hope the San Siro pitch allows it.
Milan isn't playing very well in Serie A but this is CL and Milan wants to win. We have won our last 7 games and we are very confident but at the same time we know that Manu will do anything to beat us. It is very sad that Sheva can't play because with him I think we would have pass this round for sure but now everything is possible.
I honestly don't think Manu can come and sccore 3 goals at San Siro so we should try to score 2 goals, but with Manu you can never know.
If Milan can put you under pressure it will be very difficult for you becuz I think that you are not very well organized defensively. If you can score the first goal then it will become a great game.
If you come and win in San Siro I will be the first to say that you deserved to pass this round. I would say Manu has 40% chances to get through, good luck you will need some!
 

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Man Utd should go for an attacking formation and put Milan under pressure. Milan employ too many defensive minded players, like Gattuso, Pirlo, Ambrosini. Plus they would find it harder to defend at home!!!!
 

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He has been talking about Rooney, Ronaldo and Ruud rising to the occasion for all week, so he will probably start with all of them.
And even if we might get countered badly, at least we have a chance to put them underpressure if we attack from the beginning. And if we score, then that changes the game totally.

While starting Phil Chuckle/Fortune is just bad luck. They are useless and it would be like playing with 10 man.
 

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Parma thefuture said:
Man Utd should go for an attacking formation and put Milan under pressure. Milan employ too many defensive minded players, like Gattuso, Pirlo, Ambrosini. Plus they would find it harder to defend at home!!!!
Pirlo plays perhaps next to Gattuso but he is surely not defensive minded.
 

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Very impressive preview, zack_manutd. You seem to know more about Milan than most British papers. ;)

Shevchenko and Kaladze are not only doubtful for this match, they haven't been called up. Ancelotti has also been saying he'll start with two strikers up front. That probably means Tomasson and Crespo, although Ancelotti has been known to claim Kaka' and Rui Costa can be second strikers!

I'd like to be sporting and say may the best team win, but I just want a Milan win, best team or not. Looking forward to a great game, and particularly to seeing Tim Howard play. :angel: (mind games, just mind games) :D
 

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Drito said:
He has been talking about Rooney, Ronaldo and Ruud rising to the occasion for all week, so he will probably start with all of them.
And even if we might get countered badly, at least we have a chance to put them underpressure if we attack from the beginning. And if we score, then that changes the game totally.

While starting Phil Chuckle/Fortune is just bad luck. They are useless and it would be like playing with 10 man.
you don't want to be dead after twenty minutes though do you ? there's plenty of time, if i was Fergie i'd concentrate on holding it level for the 1st half then take more chances later and hope the Milan players get nervy.
 

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We have to win this game. Otherwise we will be left concentrating on the FA Cup only. That is not good enough for a club of United's stature.

Saying that, its going to be almost impossible to beat Milan at their own backyard when we cant even unlock the defence of Crystal Palace.

I dont know, I am not feeling that positive. I just hope United use their never say die attitude to good effect and come out of this game victorious.
 

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good luck manchester united...btw u r going to compete with team who r alrady won 6 times champ league... which are the last time they won is in 2003 ... all i can say good luck ...
 

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It wont be too bad getitng knocked by a team of Milans stature. If we give it our best shot and play the best game we can I wont be too dissapointed. Not as upset as last season when we got knocked out by Porto because of Scholes dissalowed goal and that last minute mistake by Howard. That just pissed me right off :wallbang:
 

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FiveMagics said:
It wont be too bad getitng knocked by a team of Milans stature. If we give it our best shot and play the best game we can I wont be too dissapointed. Not as upset as last season when we got knocked out by Porto because of Scholes dissalowed goal and that last minute mistake by Howard. That just pissed me right off :wallbang:
we will go through, have faith man! :D
 

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Fergie has picked a 4-3-3 with Giggs playing in midfield :eekani:

courageous or foolhardy ? we will know very soon. ;)
 
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