Clash of the Titans, Battle Royale, BattleGround, StarWars, As Good As It Gets etc etc. One could go on endlessly. It is a field day for movie buffs, well rather football buffs all over the world.
By saying so I'm not sensationalizing this terrific matchup between the League leaders in Italy and their counterparts in the English League, who also happen to be the holders of the UEFA Champions League glory currently.
Most football fans around the world would be smacking their lips at the thought of such an event.
This is where these Good Fellas stood in their version of Catch Me If you Can in their respective league tables (Midweek results not included)
P W D L F A GD PTS
Inter 24 17 5 2 42 17 25 56
Utd 24 17 5 2 41 10 31 56
Well seems fishy, doesn't it. To spice things up further, it is a Mourinho Vs Ferguson once again, yes the never ending love saga continues, after the two met during the 2004 Cup, when Mourinho lead Porto to Champions League glory.
Mourinho will be hoping to do the same with Inter who have not won the Champions
League since they won consecutive titles in 1964 and 1965.
As far as Manchester United, the Big Red One, are concerned, they carry the extra burden of being the holders. But if their position in the league is anything to go by, where they are the holders as well, the pressure seems to mean nothing at all.
Though they might not be firing on all cylinders as far as their attacking play is considered, they have put in rugged, Jose Mourinho's Chelsea style performances and have been setting new records on the way.
They would like to believe that the Champions League is no different. But this one wont be a walk in the park, in fact far from it. T.I.A Fergie, This is Azzurri Land, rather Nerazzurri Land.
Here are a few reasons on why Ferguson's men will be In the Company of Men, not boys.
1. Enter the Dragon
If you are still wondering what the dragon is—it is the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza—better known to many as San Siro.
United face a uphill task in facing Inter, yes, this one's tougher than scaling Monte Bianco. If this was not reason enough, Utd play Inter, in their own backyard, which Mourinho has more recently upgraded to a fortress.
Mourinho has already over a century of games unbeaten at home with three different teams so far, and the record only seems to get better.
Playing in front of packed stadium which seats 86,000 fans, saying that United face a Herculean task seems an understatement. Inter have not lost at the San Siro in the league since they lost to Juventus last season.
The statistics speak for themselves. This will be To Hell and Back for Fergies Warriors.
Advantage Inter, sooo obvious...
2. I know what you did last summer...
Well maybe not the last summer, but for a few seasons before that. Mourinho and SAF are no strangers. It may not be a When Harry met Sally scenario, but it's far from
Cant see one in the Eye syndrome.
They have been at each other for the little more than three seasons Mourinho was in charge of Chelsea and briefly when Mourinho was in charge of the Porto side that beat United in the Champions League second round, 2004.
As far as the league goes, Mourinho has the better record of the two. Knowing SAF's tactics on and off the field, will no doubt be an advantage for Mourinho.
SAF on the Other hand, though has watched Mourinho's management style from close quarters during Mourinho's time in the league and maybe familiar with the way Mourinho operates, in the Inter side, United face a relatively unknown entity.
Besides, Italy has not been a happy hunting ground for United, apart from the Roma aberration (United did lose to Roma the first time they met at the Stadio Olimpico during the Champions league 2007 though.)
Advantage to the Home side, on a Hattrick...
3. Mind Games
This game will be played as much off the pitch as much on it. Both Mourinho and Ferguson are both Masters of Disguise. The plotting for this one would have begun weeks ago in the boardrooms and the War rooms, as they are aptly called.
As if the two old war horses being at loggerheads was not sufficient, the likes of Ibrahimovic and Ronaldo, the Dumb and Dumber, have jumped into the fray kicking off unnecessary debates about who the best in the world is.
Mourinho would be eager to create Trouble in Fergie's Paradise, specially when things have been going so well for The Man of All Seasons.
The wily Matador though would be planning to bring down the Raging Red Bull to his feet. But SAF is no novice to oversee this plot and will be counter-plotting to counter his counterpart's ploy and make it counter-productive. Complicated? Not really.
Love-All. Sorry Jose, not this time...
4. First Blood - Who draws, Wins...
Come Tuesday, Mount Vesuvius will not be the only active volcano in Italy. The San Siro will explode when the stars on both sides clash.
But will the game really live up to its expectations. Well...With United playing the second leg at home, Fergie will be keen not to lose this one.
He will put out a defensive line up with five in the midfield and a lone striker upfront. This lineup will, however, not be short of attacking prowess. Rooney and Berbatov will both start, with Rooney playing on the right flank and shuffling positions with Ronaldo on the left.
The midfield trio, Scholes, Carrick and the ever energetic Fletcher will be a key in deciding the game. The back line will be predictable with only Vidic missing out.
Fergie will be Saving Private Ryan for the bench along with the likes of Tevez, Rafael, and O'shea among others.
Mourinho, on the other hand will be keen not to concede at home. He will put out the tried and tested 4-3-1-2 that he played in the Milan Derby. In Adriano and Ibrahimovic, Rio Ferdinand and company will have a torrid time, Evans being relatively new to such big games.
United will face a tough physical test at the San Siro, something reminiscent of the Chlesea side that Mourinho built at Stamford bridge. Stankovic will be at his belligerent best playing behind the front men.
The engine will be run by the likes of Zanetti, Cambiasso, Muntari and
Viera with a couple of them warming the bench. The back four will be relatively consistent, a feature of most Mourinho sides.
With the side put out by United, the game has every chance of turning out to be cagey. However, there will be goals. Fergie will be happy to play out a hard fought 0-0 draw, as he did last season against Barcelona, but the atmosphere at San Siro leaves most Dazed and Confused.
United, will be lucky if they manage to score, with an individual piece of brilliance/ Goal Line Scramble/ Set Piece, producing their solitary goal.
5. What's my Verdict...
This one will be a closely fought contest with a narrow win to the home side. As always, I reiterate that my stance is based on simple logic and past experiences, but that alone doesn't decide games. So my call is as good as yours.
United will be satisfied with a draw and delighted with a scored one. A mediocre day for Inter, with the odd mistake will be just about what United will want.
But the home side will enjoy the Sweet Smell of Success, for the time being, as they will block any routes for United to make The Great Escape. Justice will be done come March 11 and this result will be Gone with the wind.
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