Arsenal-Roma & Inter-Manchester: The UCL Battle Begins Tuesday

Premiership vs. Serie A: Let the fight begin!!

It turned out to be a tough draw back in December, when the remaining Italian sides in the UEFA Champions League were all paired against English opposition.  The Premier League clubs may have dominated the competition in recent seasons but there is a lot of quality in Serie A and I for one am excited by the prospect of an Anglo-Italian showdown

Marco did a great post at the time taking a Preliminary Look at Our EPL Opponents, but a lot has changed in the rankings & rosters since then, so I thought I’d run through the English teams involved and give you a little update.

Arsenal's Dutch Striker Robin Van Persie (L) celebrates scoring his second goal with Spanish Midfielder Cesc Fabregas during their Premier League match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, London, on November 30, 2008. AFP PHOTO / Glyn Kirk.




Arsenal are Roma‘s opponents and this should be an intriguing contest. With neither side performing as well as expected domestically (their chances of winning their respective leagues are minimal to say the least) both teams will be eager to progress in the Champions League in order to claim some silverware at the end of the season.

The Giallorossi should go into this game full of confidence as Arsenal’s form has been fairly poor as of late: they’ve drawn their last three league games 0-0 and the team currently seems to have a real problem when it comes to scoring.  Their injury list is massive and with Cesc Fabregas, Eduardo da Silva (yes, he got back and got injured again!), Theo Walcott and Tomas Rosicky all out of action the Gunners are missing some of their best players.  Emmanuel Adebayor has also been struggling for form (his presence is in doubt for Tuesday) while Nicklas Bendtner is, in my opinion anyway, just not good enough for this level of football.

On the other hand, Arsenal have embarrassed some Serie A sides in the past which should tip the odds in their favor, but this particular Gunners side is perhaps their worst for some time and Roma will perhaps go into this fixture as favourites.

The Gunners do have a few players to watch out for though.  Andrei Arshavin made his full debut against Sunderland at the weekend and I was very impressed by how quickly he adapted to the English game:  the Russian maestro has exceptionally quick feet and he will cause even the meanest of defences problems. Fortunately for Roma, he is cup-tied for the competition after having played with Zenit St. Petersburg.  Frenchman Samir Nasri and Dutch international Robin Van Persie are also blessed with exceptional skill and could cause the Roma defence all kinds of problems.

The first leg at the Emirates Stadium will no doubt prove a tricky test for Luciano Spalletti’s men but if they can ensure the two teams are level for the return visit to Rome they will have a very good chance of getting past this particular Arsenal side.

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo (R) celebrates with Wayne Rooney (L) and Anderson after scoring during their English Premier League soccer match against Newcastle United in Manchester, northern England, January 12, 2008.




Current title holders Manchester United face Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan and I have to say I think this will be a massive test for the Nerazzurri.  United are on fire at the moment and they now have a seven point lead at the top of the Premier League.  They also have a brilliant defence with a long unbeaten record (over 800 minutes of football!), which was only broken last Saturday by Roque Santa Cruz in their 2-1 win over Blackburn.  However, that goal was scored against second-choice keeper Thomasz Kuszczak and first choice Edwin Van der Sar is still yet to concede since way back in November.

I don’t think too much needs to be said about Ballon d’or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.  He is one of the most exciting talents in world football and if Inter are to win this tie they will need to keep Ronaldo quiet.  He does have a tendency to disappear in the big games though and his petulance is a concern for United fans.  In the league he has gotten away with kicking out at players but whether or not he will get the same kind of treatment to his unsporting behaviour in Europe remains to be seen.  Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney are also both fantastic players and the Internazionale defence will need to be on top form too keep both centre-forwards quiet.


If you’re thinking of doing any online football betting for Tuesday’s Champions League ties I quite fancy a draw in the Inter Vs United game at the Giuseppe Meazza.  Personally I’ll be leaving the Arsenal Vs Roma tie alone purely because the Gunners are so inconsistent at the moment and when they are at their best they can beat anyone.  My final betting tip is for Barcelona to beat Lyon in France, the French champions have some good players and play some fantastic football but Barca have been unbelievable this season and I think they will easily brush aside Lyon.  That’s it from me for now, I will return for an eye on Chelsea soon ahead of their tie with Juventus.

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Posted in English Premiership, Inter, Roma, UEFA Champions League |

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  • 4 Responses to “Arsenal-Roma & Inter-Manchester: The UCL Battle Begins Tuesday”

    1. Boon says:

      The game is really hard to call, both teams are really good, but I have to side with Man United in terms of technical quality. However, Inter are playing at home and if United’s defensive crisis is as bad as the media makes it out to be, I have no doubt that Inter’s deadly strike force will be able to grab a goal or two.

    2. My sentiments too Boon. Despite José seems to be quite happy with 1-0 wins lately, I certainly don’t expect a boring 0-0 draw that’s for sure.

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