AC MILAN v JUVENTUS – Match preview by Anton Ebdon

The last time these two Italian football clubs played against each other on the pitch, it was at the San Siro for the first leg of the 2012 Coppa Italia semi-finals and unfortunately for AC Milan and the faithful fans of the Rossoneri, Juventus once again showed their dominance over the defending Italian Serie A champions this season with a 2-1 win. AC Milan looked inferior when compared to the Bianconeri for most of the fixture as the visitors of the San Siro were controlling the tempo of the football match, taking it to the Rossoneri with the fluidity and precision that brought them so much success this year. Football fans at the San Siro witnessed firsthand the Juventus side that continues to surprise football pundits, the group that has grown to dominate everybody else in the 2011-12 Italian Serie A season with running, pressing, and some sweet and swift passing. The Rossoneri’s, much to the dismay of their home fans, never had a chance.

RossoneriAC Milan were barely holding the fort as Juventus came close to scoring in the first half,  if it wasn’t for Marcelo Estigarriba shooting narrowly wide of the right post, twice. In the second half, the Rossoneri just couldn’t hold off the determined Juventus attack any longer as Martin Caceres came up with a goal in the 53rd minute to give Juventus the 1-0 lead and stun the hostile crowd at the San Siro. Sure, AC Milan came up with the equaliser nine minutes later to give their fans something to cheer about, thanks to Stephan El Shaarawy and his goal from close range, but after Caceres came up with yet another one with just seven minutes to go in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semifinal encounter to put Juventus ahead for good, the Rossoneri fan base knew that it was over.

These same two Italian football clubs would have to meet each other again on February 26, this time on the pitch of the Italian Serie A. And with the way the Bianconeri have been rolling in their 2011-12 campaign, I have a feeling that February 25th won’t be a day AC Milan will like very much. You see, in case you haven’t been following Juventus lately, this football club has just been a force. After dropping their very first game of the football season, losing to Sporting Lisbon way back in July, the Bianconeri got into a mean streak and they have never looked back since. And in case you didn’t get that, Juventus just began to outplay football clubs standing across them on the pitch since losing their very first fixture of the football year. So much so that the Bianconeri found themselves at the top of the 2011-12 Italian Serie A table, looking to capture the league championship again since the 2002-03 season and win what would be their 28th national title.

The fact that AC Milan hasn’t beaten Juventus yet this season is reason enough for the Rossoneri’s fans to be a little concerned. Yeah sure, the AC Milan side are still champions of the league, but if they can’t beat Juventus, they can pretty much kiss the idea of a successful title defense by season’s end good bye. You see, before Juventus and AC Milan got into the first leg of the 2012 Coppa Italia semifinals at the San Siro, the Bianconeri already scored a win over the defending Italian Serie A champions, holding the Rossoneri scoreless en route to a 2-0 win back in October. That was Juventus’ first victory over AC Milan this season and their fifth win of their last seven matches at the time.

I don’t know about you but it seems to me that Juventus definitely figured out something about their Italian Serie A rivals that the Bianconeri just can’t seem to lose to the defending champions. For what it’s worth, at least AC Milan will have the support of the loyal Rossoneri fanbase when the top dawgs of the 2011-12 Italian Serie A season comes to town again. Unfortunately for them, Juventus already proved that they can beat them on their own turf and my gut tells me that February 25th will just be more of the same with the Bianconeri standing tall.

What can we find interesting from the betting markets in this clashdown? For sure I will take a risk and back over 2.5 goals @ around 2,20 which is delicious to take, both teams to score @ around 1,80 and maybe Robinho to score anytime @ around 3.75.

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