Chelsea-Inter Milan: Can Chelsea Overturn the First Leg Deficit?
Chelsea suffered a 2-1 defeat when these two teams met at the San Siro in the first leg of the Round-16 knockout tie.
It was a typical Jose Mourinho style of play and in the end Inter managed to hold on to the lead after weathering the Chelsea storm in the final minutes of the game. That lead will be crucial today when Inter comes to Stamford Bridge.
Jose Mourinho is expected to hog all the limelight and why not? He's been one of the most successful managers in world football and the man behind the success of Chelsea. Even now the Chelsea supporters are praising the efforts of Mourinho and they're well aware of his tactical brilliance. But it's not a good feeling to be on the receiving end.
The "special one" is well known for his arrogance on and off the field, but when it comes to trophies and consistency, there aren't too many managers as good as the former Chelsea mastermind.
Meanwhile, Carlo Ancelotti faces a tough test of his character today. He actually failed against Mourinho in the Serie A when he was the manager of AC Milan, so he's obviously seeking revenge and he won't get any better chance than this.
Roman Abramovich is apparently frustrated with his side's constant failure in the Champions League, and his prime target this season is the Europe's elite trophy.
However, Inter are one of the toughest opponents you could ever get in the first knockout round, especially when the Nerazzuris are leading after the first leg.
Home advantage is crucial. Chelsea are rock-solid at the Bridge, but Mourinho's presence may give Inter the upper hand. He's adored by most of the Chelsea fans, but in the end the success of the team is more important than supporting your former manager, no matter how successful he was.
However, Chelsea are the in-form team. The blues thrashed London rivals West Ham last weekend and they're in good goalscoring form, whereas, Inter lost at relegation-battlers Catania and are not looking in great shape.
Just like Chelsea, Inter are also vying for the much coveted Champions League as they failed to progress into the later stages of this competition for the past few years.
This is a vital day for both the managers because losing out in the Round-16 wouldn't be tolerated by the owners of both teams. Also, Chelsea are badly in need of the Champions League trophy to stamp their authority on the Europe's elite group.
Florent Malouda's man of the match performance against the Hammers is a clear indication of his current form. He's breathtaking on the left side of the pitch and more importantly is providing assists as well as scoring some important goals for Chelsea.
Didier Drogba is terrorising the defenses with his raw power and skills. He's been in scintillating form and he's dangerous on any given day.
Wesley Sneijder is a key player for Inter. He's a typical old-fashioned play maker who's very much capable of dictating the mid-field with his passing range and wild runs. He has great vision and is the No. 1 threat for Chelsea today, especially on the counter attacks. If Ancelotti succeeds in tying Sneijder down, then he would in turn push Inter onto the back foot.
Diego Milito is a poacher in the penalty box, and he's one of those underrated players in world football. But he has an unusual knack of scoring important goals.
Brazilian defender Lucio is the invisible wall between Chelsea strikers and Inter goal. He's been in superb form and the right player to lead the defense. Moreover, he's the major reason behind Inter's first leg triumph over Chelsea.
Chelsea have a crisis in the goal-keeping department. Ross Turnbull will come under the microscope, and he's not experienced enough to play in a big European game, so Inter will take advantage of this weakness.
If Inter manages to score the first goal then Chelsea would be out of the race against a tactically disciplined team. On current form Chelsea looks to be hot favorites, but Mourinho knows anything and everything about Chelsea.
A 1-1 draw and Inter will be through to the quarterfinals on aggregate.
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