Just a few days before the first Clasico of his reign, FC Barcelona head coach Gerardo Martino must prepare his side to play what should be the toughest match of the UEFA Champions League group stage -- an away fixture with the group's second seeds, AC Milan. Hardly ideal preparation for a pivotal clash with Los Blancos is it? Or is it? Barcelona will be given a stern examination tomorrow by the Rossoneri -- and still get one extra day to recover compared to Real Madrid, who host Juventus on Wednesday. Maybe this means that Barca can find out their weaknesses before Real ruthlessly exploit them on Saturday evening?
Or perhaps more likely, it places Martino under more pressure after a 0-0 draw with CA Osasuna saw the Argentine tactician subjected to a barrage of criticism from some vocal Cules, who seemingly forget that demi-God Pep Guardiola actually lost in Pamplona a couple of seasons ago. Call me cynical, but I don't remember this much outrage being directed at dear old Pep.
Tomorrow's match also risks fatiguing our players, who must already be drained after a long international break. On the other hand, there's no better "pick me up" for tired legs than a morale-boosting win, especially in enemy territory and given Milan's injury crisis, Barcelona will be relishing the chance to visit the San Siro now, rather than in two weeks time. Will they be celebrating by the end of the night though, or will Milan engineer another sensational win over the Blaugrana? Comment with your prediction in the comments section below to be in with a chance of winning a brand-new Barcelona jersey at the season's end. Best of luck!