Monthly Archives: January 2010

Inter v Milan – what did we learn?

Watching the Milan derby is always a pleasant experience; it is an important match to both sets of fans and more so this year as a win for Milan would put them with touching distance of Inter going into the end of the season. This year, however, the game took on extra significance as both teams would be playing English opposition in the Champions League. Inter will face Chelsea and Milan will play Man Utd. With Sir Alex Ferguson watching on what will he and Carlo Ancelotti make of their opposition.


Leonardo started with a 4-3-3 and it become evident early on that the middle three of Gattuso, Ambrosini and Pirlo were being overran. Sneijder, before being sent off, was finding too much space. There is an imbalance in those three players as all three are naturally deep players but all three seemed to compensate for the others by going forward. This left too bigger gap between the defence and midfield and Inter exploited it.

Going forward the two full backs did not offer any quality but could easily get up and down for overlapping runs. Pirlo was disappointing as the creative player in the midfield. Beckham, when he had the ball on the far right provided some trademark crosses but Borriello was too isolated and easily picked up by the Inter defence. Ronaldinho will cause Ferguson the most problems. Although not on top form tonight it was clear that he was a handful for Maicon. Man Utd have problems at right back and these could be exploited by Leonardo.

Overall it should be an easy win for Man Utd but with a note of caution. An orthodox 4-4-2, giving support to Borriello could see a tougher game.


Inter played a 4-3-1-2 system, a change for Mourinho which I think has been made with one eye on the Chelsea game. He knows that they don’t play with a lot of width so is getting used to packing the centre channel of the pitch. The three central midfielders were all very defensively minded and this enabled not only Sneijder, Militio and Pandev to play without fear but either full back could go forward and have suitable cover. I am particularly looking forward to seeing Maicon against Ashley Cole. There is also a solid centre to Inter’s defence; Julio Cesar (best goalkeeper in the world in my opinion), Lucio, Samuel and Materazzi.

Inter certainly have the better team and with Eto’o to return from duty in Africa Chelsea should be concerned about their chances. Mourinho will be spot on with his tactics against them and who knows Chelsea’s weaknesses better than him.



Filed under Cups, Premier League, Tactics board

Managers; Burnley, Bolton and the Old Lady

A subject close to my heart is that of managers. Every aspect of a manager fascinates me; what makes them take a job, what makes them leave a job, what makes a Chairman sack a manager, what makes a Chairman hire a manager and obviously all of the training, tactical and player relationship issues.

The points I want to make tonight involve the employment of managers. Owen Coyle has recently crossed over to Bolton. I have to say that this could be a huge mistake as the realistic failure far outweighs the realistic success. Bolton may have fantastic facilities (training ground, academy, ground etc) but there is not a lot of money available for transfers, compared to those Coyle expects to be challenging. Bolton are very likely to be 10th at a maximum because other teams have just got a lot better.

However, it is very possible that they will go down. So far there have been no clean sheets and a lack of goals. Any team in the relegation zone is a bad run from being a drift and Coyle has an unquestionably tough job. His stock would have risen more at Burnley by staying up that it will at Bolton by being 10th.

On Burnley, congratulations to Barry Kilby, Burnley Chairman. He has looked at the situation and will look to appoint experienced Championship managers. The thinking is great; either Burnley stay up and they’ll have a manager that is unlikely to jump ship immediately or Burnley go down and there is an experienced man to get them back up at the first attempt.

Finally, and touching on a subject which really gets my goat; massive clubs appointing young managers. Ciro Ferrara is on the cusp of losing his job at Juventus because they are third and on a bad run of form. The honeymoon period for him is over and he is struggling to turn it around. Why? Because he is inexperienced – it’s not his fault. Managers need to learn the ropes at a team that doesn’t have grandiose expectations and then move into a large club. Pep Guardiola has been the exception to the rule but then he has / had Messi, Henry, Eto’o, Inista, Xaxi to call on…I’d be able to win most of the games.

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Filed under Premier League, What's he up to?