Well, it's come round fairly quickly this time, but tonight is the return leg of the Champions League match between FC Barcelona and AC Milan. Mourinho's Inter made the trip a couple of years ago but it's the Rosserini who have been on the up and up this season, and already hold a very comfortable 2-0 cushion against les cules.
Tonight's match remains vitally important to the team and the fans, after crashing out of the copa del Rey to Madrid, this is a cup competition that Barcelona would love to win back from Chelsea - who knocked them out last year. I've been reading already about rallying cries from the likes of Iniesta and Pique who are well aware of the difficult task facing the team. A loss would mean Barça will not qualify to the quarter finals - something unthinkable at the beginning of the season. All eyes will be on Camp Nou tonight.
So where is at all going wrong ? Well, there's no denying that Tito Vilanova's absence is an upheaval and disturbance to the team - like an orchestra without a conductor no less - as he continues to receive treatment in New York (God bless, and good luck). Losing a manager at any stage of the season must be a difficult situation, but I was quick to think (obviously wrongly) that such a strong dressing room would have no problem coping with a little shake up - after all, the team almost picks itself, and has hardly had a huge overhaul since the appointment of Vilanova. So it just goes to show how important these things are, and in my book, raises the stock of absent ex-manager Pep Guardiola. In a similar way, I thought that the team Guardiola inherited was amazing, and that in effect, once they were playing at full force they could have beaten anyone anywhere - that any old manager could have ground out those results, right? Well, it just goes to show how important the role of manager is and it'll be really interesting to see how Pep fairs in Germany next season.
So, prediction? I'd love to be positive but can't see it happening. Despite a couple of important injuries to the Milan team, they still come into this game off the back of a league win, and can perhaps give a little more importance to this game over the league which Juve look like running away with. Anyone disagree? Let me know in the comments!
Fancy a trip to Barcelona this spring to watch Barça ? Why not rent a group apartment instead of a stuffy hotel room, and save some money too? And for a quick look at the hot spots in the city, see this Barcelona Guide.