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OzzyCFC

Non Chelsea: Champions League

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You're not very impressed with Ancelotti's successes this season in a tougher leaguer (as Cameron implied) yet Mourinho's routine success in Serie A was impressive for you? Oddly enough the most impressive performance in Serie A was by Claudio Ranieri. He took a struggling Roma side to within 45 minutes of winning Serie A. Plus the Juventus he managed the season before imploded spectacularly this season.

As I said - it is not one (Serie A is not a great standard) or the other (the CL requires some luck, and beating a better team on tactics invariably requires some assistance from the opposing manager). It is doing both together which creates an awful demand on players - especially given that Inter were in a close race to the finish. Just look at the league performances of teams when they get knocked out of the CL - they nearly always improve dramatically.

Ancellotti may be in a tougher league - but he has a much much stronger team, and still only improved on last year's result by 3 points. Last season, remember, the main manager was so crap he got sacked, and when we did well later on we were also competing to the last seconds of the CL semis (and we also won the FA cup!).

Last season we had 6 big CL games against Juve, Liverpool and Barca - losing none of them and going out on away goals 9that's without mentioning the ref). This season we had 2 big CL games - and lost both to Inter.

Oddly enough despite having a better squad at Chelsea he couldn't get us to the final (2005/06 was a real blot on his CL copybook). Essentially he was outdone by Benitez in two semis in the same way he won this season's competition.

At Madrid it won't be a problem for him as such. They already have a strong squad and the top two in Spain are miles ahead of everyone else in La Liga. Simply a case of outdoing Barcelona and attempting to win the CL.

Yes. Jose seems to have had his luck at Porto and Inter, and little at Chelsea. And yes - much as I dislike Benitez as a person and as a club manager, he is excellent in head to head duels with top teams - so long as he is allowed to sacrifice league position.

(Generally, clubs like Barca who approach the CL as they do the league, in the expectation that they can steam roller any club, and therefore need make no adjustment to their basic gameplan, will often lose out to weaker but specifically prepared clubs like Porto or Inter or Liverpool. That is the trap CA fell into this year with Inter (and Wigan amongst others)).

In Spain - as far as I have seen, the big two don't even try to compete in La Liga (except head to head games). It is seen as a consolation prize for the club that gets knocked out of the CL first.

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Moro   

Last season we had 6 big CL games against Juve, Liverpool and Barca - losing none of them and going out on away goals 9that's without mentioning the ref). This season we had 2 big CL games - and lost both to Inter.

We lost to the eventual champions last season, and we lost against the eventual champions this season. Thats really all you need to know.

And your constant propaganda about Inter being an average team is quite frankly hilarious. They have a top 5 squad in European football, there is no denying that. Maicon, Julio Cesar, Milito, Etoo, Sneijder, Lucio, Samuel, Chivu, Cambiasso, these players are arguably at their peak, elite standard. The defense is second to none. To even start to compare such a team to Porto is bonkers.

Edited by Moro

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We lost to the eventual champions last season, and we lost against the eventual champions this season. Thats really all you need to know.

We lost to Monaco who lost to Porto in 2004. So you'd say Porto in 2004 was better than Chelsea or Arsenal that year?

Your whole concept of what is best is wrong.

And your constant propaganda about Inter being an average team is quite frankly hilarious. They have a top 5 squad in European football, there is no denying that. Maicon, Julio Cesar, Milito, Etoo, Sneijder, Lucio, Samuel, Chivu, Cambiasso, these players are arguably at their peak, elite standard. The defense is second to none. To even start to compare such a team to Porto is bonkers.

Well thanks for being someone who is willing to put the opposing point of view, rather than just say that mine is silly. It is very helpful because it gives me something to counter.

Lucio could come. Sneijder is good, but don't pretend he is a better player than Lampard. That Milito is better than Anelka, Samuel, Chivu or Cambiasso better than any of our first choice players would be nonsense. Eto'o and Sneijder have already been allowed to leave by richer Spanish clubs.

Chivu, Zanetti and Pandev do not qualify as special players nowadays. And if you really do mean squad (which I doubt) - how do you explain Sulley Muntari coming on as sub?

Inter's players only become a powerful force under their manager - much as Porto's did - that is the comparison (and they play the smart game of underdog).

"A Top 5 squad" is in anycase misleading. For squads - there is a clear top 3 : 2 Spanish, & Chelsea. Man U are a closish 4th. Then a big gap to a biggish group - Arsenal, Liverpool (both in decline after last summers sales), Citeh, Inter, Milan, Bayern, Lyons.

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Moro   
We lost to Monaco who lost to Porto in 2004. So you'd say Porto in 2004 was better than Chelsea or Arsenal that year?

Your whole concept of what is best is wrong.

My point was that we faced the winner in the first knockout round this season. Last season we faced the winner in the semi. Why is one achivment better then the other? Just because last years team beat some very inferior sides to get so far, and this years team didn’t have the same opportunity?

Sneijder is good, but don't pretend he is a better player than Lampard.

Lampard is arguably the best midfielder in Europe. Sneijder doesn’t have to be Lampard, he just has to be better or equal to most of the midfielders in other top clubs. To me, he is exactly that.

That Milito is better than Anelka

46 games, 30 goals. 6 of those in 11 CL games. Don’t just look at the goals, but look at the teams he has scored against. Munich, Barcelona, Chelsea, almost every single top club in Italy. Not to mention that he did it in a team that scored 75 goals in the league vs Chelsea who netted 103 in the league. Who would I have in my team? I would take Milito. I can see the reasoning in taking Anelka though.

Samuel, Chivu or Cambiasso better than any of our first choice players would be nonsense.

Cambiasso has been superb imo. 29 years old, in his absolute prime. Would you pick Ballack over him? I wouldn’t. Ballack is living more and more on his name, Cambiasso is living more and more up to it.

As far as defense goes, they have Maicon and Lucio. Both would fly into this team. We have Terry and A.Cole. I don’t see any notable advantage for either team in the back four.

And if you really do mean squad (which I doubt) - how do you explain Sulley Muntari coming on as sub?

How do you explain Kalou not coming on as a sub, but actually starting?

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How do you explain Kalou not coming on as a sub, but actually starting?

Because we have a stupidly planned squad - blame either the manager or someone else in the hierarchy. The other players are brilliant though.

My point was that we faced the winner in the first knockout round this season. Last season we faced the winner in the semi. Why is one achivment better then the other?

If you can't see why - that is a wrap.

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Well done José and Inter on a fantastic achievement - Portugal conquered, England conquered, Italy conquered. Next up, Spain.

The guy is unique in every way. Some say that he's arrogant, but the truth is, he's a born winner, a special one for sure. Football is a game, if you can't win then you're not going to be recognised. José does everything in his power to get recognised, to protect his players during nine months of a football season, knows how to get his particular team to beat another. In Italy they are jealous of his power, he doesn't care about the authorities, he doesn't care what other managers think of him, and if he upsets them in the same breath along the way. How many friends did he have in English football? You can't say he was a friend of Wenger or Benitez. In Italy everyone hated him apart from those at Inter - now José is King of Italy and Europe, he's shown that he cannot be beaten.

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cii99mn1   

These billionaires are destroying football, it's the same with Inter. I think it's unfair!

The article says Moratti has spent 800m euros since 1995, isn't that roughly the same amount as Roman has spent so far?

Edited by cii99mn1

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Wherever Mourinho will go next, I will support him and wish him the best, as long as it doesn't affect Chelsea.

Well said Orange Blue.

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Karan   

1. As I said - it is not one (Serie A is not a great standard) or the other (the CL requires some luck, and beating a better team on tactics invariably requires some assistance from the opposing manager). It is doing both together which creates an awful demand on players - especially given that Inter were in a close race to the finish. Just look at the league performances of teams when they get knocked out of the CL - they nearly always improve dramatically.

2. Ancellotti may be in a tougher league - but he has a much much stronger team, and still only improved on last year's result by 3 points. Last season, remember, the main manager was so crap he got sacked, and when we did well later on we were also competing to the last seconds of the CL semis (and we also won the FA cup!).

Last season we had 6 big CL games against Juve, Liverpool and Barca - losing none of them and going out on away goals 9that's without mentioning the ref). This season we had 2 big CL games - and lost both to Inter.

3. (Generally, clubs like Barca who approach the CL as they do the league, in the expectation that they can steam roller any club, and therefore need make no adjustment to their basic gameplan, will often lose out to weaker but specifically prepared clubs like Porto or Inter or Liverpool. That is the trap CA fell into this year with Inter (and Wigan amongst others)).

1. To say that it creates an awful demand on an Inter team which hasn't had many severe injuries (Chivu's fractures skull in Jan comes to mind - but he was playing with no problems since March), a midseason break, a cup competiton less, is stretching it abit too far. Inter even had the benefit of playing on Friday evenings, allowing them more time for rest and recuperation prior to big Serie A or CL games.

2. A stronger team which even you admit later on was poorly or oddly planned.

Last season we won the FA Cup and were seconds away from getting to the final but we were out of contention to win PL after the loss at Spurs at the end of March - maintaining 3rd or achieving 2nd was the aim then - (in February it was mainly to achieve CL qualification). We eventually finished 7 points behind ManU despite them losing alot of points in April. Last season we lost 3 games to ManU, Arsenal.

3. I think most clubs play Chelsea with a specifically prepared plan. You still maintain that Wigan outsmarted us at their home, and while to a certain extent you're right I still believe that we were getting the better off them moments before Cech got sent off. Thats why till date I still dispute your claim on that game.

On the Inter game: at the San Siro - we played relatively well going so far as to even controlling Mourinho's attempt to score a 3rd goal. Kalou, in your opinion was allowed too much freedom to no use (for us). I'd agree. But thats the difference between having an A.Cole/Zhirkov at LB instead of Malouda. At the Bridge it was the typical Inter blueprint for the entire competition. We had some good opportunities but their last ditch defending was good. Ballack comes off and Joe Cole comes on and Chelsea's right side of midfield collapses allowing Sneijder the freedom to dictate the counter attacks.

The one thing I learnt from Inter's CL win and our performances in the CL last season - its better to have the home leg first.

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1. To say that it creates ...

1. Yes an awful demand. Inter, unlike JM's Porto, could never relax in Serie A. And while playing Friday is an advantage over English clubs, it doesn't make life that much easier (and it just makes the domestic games harder).

Ditto mid season break - how does crowding games over fewer weeks help?

2. Poorly planned and a poorly balanced squad, yes.

Thanks for reminding me that we didn't really have to try in the PL lst season, because victory was never possible (though is that actually true?).

3. Many teams start games with the hope of exploiting space behind the FBs. But few have the balls to leave their wide men up when they are being overwhelmed in midfield. Man U started the trend against Big Phil nearly 2 years ago, and things got tougher immediately against all opponents. Wigan did it (and were helped by Mikel's injury / loss of mobility - Spurs ditto). Sure with the run of the ball and the odd decision, we could have beaten Wigan, but the aim of the game is to win both games 1-0, not lose one and win the return 8-0 (pace all those who don't count points).

Yes - against Inter we looked good - in fact whenever the ball avoided Kalou we looked bloody fantastic. That is why I refuse to believe that their defence cand be any good, given the way we so often cut through it at the San Siro. If about 50% of the ball hadn't been given away because Kalou was wandering around in midfield, then we would have won easily. Kalou hasn't done that before - or since - but some how he did it against JM who knows him better than anyone. The conclusion seems pretty obvious to me.

The one thing I learnt from Inter's CL win and our performances in the CL last season - its better to have the home leg first.

No I don't believe that.

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