Lovers of the Premier League miss the brooding presence of Jose Mourinho. Even if you are no Chelsea supporter, you can admit the league is lacking something since the Special One’s departure. Imagine watching the Stars Wars films sans Darth Vader. It’s a lot less fun without the super-villain. Like facing Thierry Henry, one fears the threat Mourinho posed, but it was still sad to see him leave the EPL.
Anyone who agrees with me can relive the old days in a couple of hours. Inter host Manchester United in the first leg of the Champions League knock-out round at 7:45 GMT.
Sir Alex Ferguson claims he is going to attack today, but a draw would suffice with the leg at Old Trafford still to come. With Wayne Rooney back in action and scoring, United will have a great chance to secure the coveted away goal. Lately, United have had many close (arguably unconvincing) wins, but these have largely come against sides who have parked behind the ball, trying to draw with the English giants. There were few chances to be had. Inter will be expected to attack in their home ground, and the visiting title defenders should have more space and create more opportunities than they’ve had against sides like Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United.
With much experience playing against top English sides, Mourinho the tactician will no doubt have schemes to gain a serious advantage over United at San Siro. If Mourinho can come to Old Trafford with a goal or two ahead, he may feel this round will be his to win. Especially if Inter can maintain a clean sheet today. A tall order against United who are, despite their close matches, bursting with momentum. The English teams have been hard to beat in Europe in recent years, but Mourinho’s strategic brilliance and Premier League experience could give Inter the advantage.
Among others, Inter will be without Vieira, who has been left from the squad, and Materazzi, who is with injury. Look to Ibrahimovich, hailed by many to be one of the best strikers in Europe at the moment, to continue his great season. Adriano will also be a serious threat on goal.
Apart from Rooney, Man U will be looking to Cristiano Ronaldo and probably young Nani to exploit the space Inter leave in the wake of their attacks. With Vidic suspended, Rio Ferdinand will be the pivotal defender, warding off Inter’s in-form strikers.
No matter the result, it should prove a tense, exciting contest between two European giants.