Category Archives: Cups

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.

Milan

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

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.

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Eduardo’s ban

So UEFA have banned Eduardo for two matches following his dive against Celtic a week and a bit ago. His offence was trying to take an advantage by deceiving the referee (http://www.uefa.com/uefa/keytopics/kind=512/newsid=881429.html).

 

I echo Arsene Wenger’s thoughts on this subject insomuch that UEFA have opened a can of worms with their decision (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/8223917.stm ). The questions I have for UEFA broadly focus around when will they take action; does it need to be a penalty, a foul or would faking an injury suffice (i.e. Blitc or Rivaldo)?

 

Does it need to be in the Champions League or will those in the Europa League get the same treatment – can you image UEFA taking action against a player from Cluj v Kobenhavn?

 

Whether a player has dived or not is a subjective interpretation. Does the dive need to be completely obvious or does mere exaggeration of a situation make the player suitable for a video investigation. Also, if the referee spots the dive but does not caution the player then he has not been punished – can UEFA then step in?

 

Some of these questions can, I’m sure, be answered by UEFA but we might not find the answer until more controversial situations present themselves.

 

How best then to eradicate diving in the beautiful game? The punishment imposed by UEFA needs to be sufficient to curb the behaviour but not excessive in comparison to the yellow card imposed if found guilty.

 

What I would do is give the player a retrospective yellow card, something UEFA have been shy to do. A retrospective yellow card would only be applicable for the offence of deceiving the referee – no need to open the floodgates.

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