It seems strange to be saying that this current, usually infallible Barcelona team have lost three of their last five but that’s how the land lies as the La Liga leaders prepare for the second leg of their Champions League tie against AC Milan.
One of their losses of course, came in the first leg in the San Siro and as a result Tito Vilanova’s charges have a 2-0 deficit to claw back if they are to stay in the hunt for European glory.
On the face of it that looks like a big ask but bookies certainly aren’t writing off Lionel Messi and co, who are still just 5/4 at bet365 to qualify.
With a two-goal advantage to protect, Milan are favourites at 8/11 (Blue Square) to move into the quarter final but with home advantage this time around, Barca are just 1/3 courtesy of Coral to win the match.
The worry for the hosts is that they might get picked off on the breaK as they push forward to get themselves back in the tie and with no away goals of their own, conceding could prove costly.
Indeed it’s easy to see Milan qualifying by virtue of nicking a goal in a 3-1 reverse, an outcome BetVictor price at 10/1 but ultimately, while Barcelona look set to win the game itself, it’s far from a foregone conclusion in terms of who will reach the next stage.
The Rossoneri will obvisouly attempt to keep things tight and frustrate Barca, just as they did on their own patch and that tactic could ensure that punters backing the hosts to prevail following a drawn first period pays out at odds of 4/1 via bwin.
Messi meanwhile, has struck three times in the four matches since Vilanova’s troops were beaten in Italy and he’s 2/1 at Paddy Power to break the deadlock.
Draw/Barcelona in HT/FT betting – 4/1 (bwin)