Straight from the dark heart of Italy
So Jose Mourinho was proved wrong after all.
Manchester United didn't sit back and Ivan Cordoba should not be left out of the starting line-up for the big games, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic still isn’t the man for the major occasion.In his pre-match press conference, the Portuguese was full of how United would have to change their game-plan - it was a shame Inter couldn’t change theirs.
Jose gets a little hot under the collar
They played like they usually play against the likes of Catania and Reggina when they come to the San Siro: pounding away in midfield without actually creating anything up front.
Usually the opposition give in, but this was a different ball game.
We had to wait until early on – in the second half that is - for Inter to create their first real chance, but why oh why did Ibrahimovic remain out on the left flank where even the pedestrian-like John O’Shea had little problem ensuring the striker was forced on to his weaker left foot.A big turnip for the Swede then, who was jeered by a section of the San Siro whinge-bags who, for once, had a point.
Zlatan fails in Europe yet again
There were also groans of disbelief when the name of Nelson Rivas was announced instead of Cordoba.
Jose and the veteran are no longer on talking terms after it was made clear to the vice-captain that he was also to be handed the role of vice-central defender.But even with Walter Samuel missing, the muscle-bound Rivas was still given the nod. And didn’t it show that he was out of his depth? He was everywhere apart from where he was meant to be, and even Mourinho had to relent and remove the unfortunate fellow at half-time.With Nelson lost at sea, thank goodness for a man-of-the-match display from Julio Cesar between the posts.“Ave Julio,” sang the headline in Wednesday’s La Gazzetta dello Sport, with the stopper's saves providing hope where at times there seemed to be none.The Brazilian will no doubt be a busy man when the onslaught starts at Old Trafford.
Cesar saves Inter's bacon
The worst may be over for AS Roma, who emerged from their trip to Arsenal reasonably unscathed, although the suspended Daniele De Rossi is a major absentee for the return leg.
But with another couple of weeks for Francesco Totti and Mirko Vucinic to regain full fitness, we should see a much-more lively Giallorossi approach in Rome.Inter are hanging in there and Roma will feel confident of progressing. Now it’s up to Juventus to give Italian football something to really cheer about.
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So Roma lost, failed to score an away goal, and face a team who seems to play better away from home in second leg. So why do they feel confident of progressing again?
Roma have been in decent enough form in Serie A in recent weeks. And with Totti and Vucinic back to full fitness, their fans would probably be quietly confident of a 2-0/3-1 win in a noisy Stadio Olimpico if things went their way.
Just ask Chelsea.
John O’Shea pedestrian? Thats harsh. He may not be the greatest but look at what he has won and who has been and gone for United while he has been at the club.
I think Roma have an even smaller chance than Inter.
Daniele De Rossi is suspended, and likely Adebayor, Walcott and possibly Fabregas will be back for the second-leg. Roma play a counter-attacking style, but they need 2 goals to progress so will have to come out and play. This will prove fatal against Arsenal.
I predict 2-1 Arsenal.
Inter will lose 2-0 at Old Trafford, I don't care how much the press gush over Mourinho in almost erotic affection. Football is won on the field, and Inter's players lack character and spirit.
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