Manchester United - History Is On Milan's Side But We're No Outsiders
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History Is On Milan's Side But We're No Outsiders

The most frequently heard stat these days is that Manchester United never managed to knock AC Milan out of the European Cup. In four attempts and eight games United registered three wins and five losses and lost every duel on aggregate.

Of course games played in the 50s and 60s are absolutely irrelevant but our capitulation by the hands of Milan in 2005 and 2007 is a not so distant memory - indeed, there will be many who were there on both occasions.

Milan still have Massimo Ambrosini, Dida, Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo, Clarence Seedorf, Filippo Inzaghi and Kakha Kaladze - all of them wore their colours in 2005.

United also have many players remembering both recent double headers: Wayne Rooney, Darren Fletcher, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Wes Brown, John O'Shea and Rio Ferdinand were all there.

So it's not just ancient history that is on Milan's side, key playes in our squad are all too aware what a huge obstacle they are. We could even say it's a kind of a jinx: in the Champions League era, United met Italian clubs on seven occasions in the knockout stages and progressed five times - but Milan always seem to be just too good.

This time, however, it can be different: Fergie is right when he argues that it's a good time to play Milan. His reasoning is sound: they lost Kaka, Pato is short of match fitness after injury but he'll probably play anyway, they are not in great form.

However, we also have injuries (Vidic, O'Shea, Giggs, Hargreaves), other absentees (Anderson), we have out of form players like Owen and we've been quite inconsistent this season. Still, this time we're not outsiders, even though Clarence Seedorf argues that we are - not outsiders to progress but outsiders to win the trophy, with which I actually agree. But he forgot to mention that, unusual though it is for Milan, they are also outsiders, extreme outsiders, to win the competition.

History is on their side against United but pace and power are not. We'll see which one is the more important.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday February 15 2010

Time: 5:02PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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I hate AC Milan and I only support them under one circumstance... when they're playing Man United!
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15/02/2010 17:07:00

The previous results have no real bearing. In 2007 we faced a milan team with many great players at their peak as well as the worlds best footballer in Kaka. At the time we had terrible injuries at the back (although by this seasons standards we were in good shape) and the lack of cohesion that brings cost us dearly. I would say that result was actually a turning point for us in europe. Apart from the barca final (where we just didnt have the available personnel to match them in midfield), we have never again looked so naive in europe. That milan team was almost a blueprint for how a professional european performance should be conducted and our recent european record shows that we embraced it whole heartedly. Rooney, Fletcher and Ronaldo came on leaps and bounds in the years since that loss and if milan are expecting to see the same level of performance they will be in trouble - as Rooney and Fletch are almost unrecognisable from the green youngsters who played at the san siro. VDS, Rio, Evra with any other two is far stronger than what we had in 2007 and should be able to cope with ronaldinho and borriello. Pato will have to be watched and it wouldnt suprise me to see park on the left. If scholes has an anonymous game, things wont be easy for us in the middle, but with the way fletcher and carrick have played recently we should still be ok. Any of our wingers are good enough to trouble their full backs and Rooney vs Nesta and Silva will be the truest test of his claim for "worlds best striker". Im not underestimating Milans ability to turn it on when they have to, but we will have to play very badly to lose this tie over two legs.
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15/02/2010 18:39:00

I agree with most of what you say but that Milan team had few players at their peak - indeed, I would say that only Gattuso and Kaka were at their absolute peak. That win for them was the last hurrah of that once great team. And on that occasion they could prepare for the game for weeks as they had no interest in the league while we were on the back of exhausting battles and had a lot of half-fit players that night at the San Siro.
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15/02/2010 19:04:00

be nice to see both Milan sides go out this round as the English teams march on!
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15/02/2010 19:40:00

Merlin- nah I won't be doing that English teams BS, I want Chelsea out as soon as possible! :)
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15/02/2010 20:13:00

Not forgetting the 2 occassions milan triumphed over man utd the 2nd leg was in san siro.
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16/02/2010 00:39:00

ForeverUnited,u guyz should win this one comfortably,lets face it AC "Pensioners Paradise" MILAN do not stand any chance against roo and co,u guyz should win it comfortably by 4-0,5-0 over two lages
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16/02/2010 10:46:00

My Predicted lineup is:

Van der Sar
Brown, Rio, Evans, Evra
Carrick, Fletcher
Valencia, Scholes, Park
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16/02/2010 11:38:00

no offence kishaloy but that is a very naive view fair enough their players lack pace but they're pretty much still very good in the other departments but i do agree that we should beat them.
One United 23
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16/02/2010 18:33:00

The tactics were ridiculous. We played as badly at points as I have seen us in a LONG time. If it werent for Milan just being truly woeful, we'd have got spanked tonight. You would think with Carricks red, that the team picks its self for the second leg - fletcher, scholes, anderson, valencia, park and rooney. But we'll probably end up playing with rooney in goal and vidic as second striker! We won and got three away goals so we *should* get through, but if we insist on impairing ourselves we wont go much further than the next round. We are the only top team in europe who absolutely insist on discarding their own style of play to cancel out their opponents. Our formation and tactics have no relevance to us playing well in or in a familiar style - instead we allow the other team to dictate the game and then hope we luck our way through. It was embarrasing enough against barca the last two times but against a ***** milan team - its bloody annoying!
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16/02/2010 21:50:00

We were lucky at times tonight - but fair play to Rooney, his chances came AFTER Nani got subbed, Valencia made a welcome change tonight - I thought we were gonna get wupped tonight especially when Milan came VERY close 3 more times after their goal, and it took a flukey goal for us to get back into it - very uncomfy at back for our defenders - and WTF was Evra trying to do with that overhead clearance??
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16/02/2010 22:03:00

You were lucky tonight, Milan deserved to win but fair play to Rooney hes class. Ronaldinho showed hes still one of the greatest players of his generation.
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17/02/2010 01:22:00

the high scoring match wasn't really a surprise considering the way milan play all their games in serie a, ultra-offensively. They did really well do beat Milan at their own ground.
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17/02/2010 07:15:00


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