Monday, March 22, 2010

Champions League Draw - Inter Milan v CSKA Moscow

As I stated in an earlier post, CSKA are no pushovers, and Inter Milan will certainly be challenged in this tie, but it will be absolutely shocking if the Italian side does not go through.

The first leg of the tie is at the San Siro, which I think is an advantage for Inter. Maybe CSKA will be confident after their impressive away win to knock out Sevilla, but Inter are an entirely different kettle of fish. Inter's only concern in the first leg will be preventing an away goal for the Russians. And they have just the manager to do it.

Jose Mourinho is a master at frustrating and eventually beating teams that rely on the counter attack. This describes CSKA, who like to get forward with pace, especially after the other side has committed too many bodies to attack. But Inter won't do that. As Mourinho has shown in the past, when he plays a team that likes to counter attack, his side just doesn't attack. With no attack, there can be no counter attack.

As a spectacle, this match will be dire, 180 minutes (possibly 210 minutes) of sheer tactical boredom. The players themselves will be all but irrelevant and the talk will be only of zonal marking and formations. Rafa Benitez should enjoy it immensely, but even the most ardent of fans risks falling asleep should he or she attempt to sit through both legs.

So, it may be dramatic, it won't be entertaining, but Inter will be through to face the winner of Arsenal v Barcelona, a mouth watering tie that I will break down in (much) more detail at a later date.

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