Inter Milan vs. Manchester United: The PLAYERS


So remember that great “Serie A vs. EPL” section on La Gazzetta which I promised I’d partially translate?

Here’s the first batch of pink-goodness: a look at ALL THE PLAYERS from tonight’s Inter Milan vs. Manchester United UEFA Champions League match.

Boy I can’t wait for game-time. Meanwhile, feast your eyes on this. (oh, and credit goes where credit is due of course: the original)

Our impression is that the Seleçao keeper will have a lot of work on his hands (no pun intended), especially at Old Trafford. It will be his big opportunity for consecration at the highest European level, to show that he does not possess any more weaknesses (defending free-kicks included).
After his unlucky experience at Juve, the Dutch giant managed to bounce back many times. His biggest accomplishment perhaps is the penalty save on Nicolas Anelka last May, which allowed Manchester Utd to claim the biggest European trophy again. This season he has just claimed the record for longest unbeaten streak in the Premier League for a keeper, and is just a few hundred minutes shy of claiming the world record. At 38 years of age, good old Edwin is still in fine form.

He already is the strongest right-back in the world at the moment, so now he will looking to demonstrate it to the current world champions. Power, ball control, character, pace: the ex-AS Monaco wing-back has no weaknesses. With that said, when you have to contain players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Giggs, Rooney and Tevez, running forward to attack is permitted, yes, but with prudence.
The injury-nightmare which kept him away from football for over a year is over, and Neville has been reborn since then. After many already considered him dead & buried, the 33 year-old Mancunian captain took back the armband and his starting spot, and although he may not have as much pace and agility as Rafael da Silva, experience and defensive ability make well up for it. He’ll be very useful to Ferguson, especially at Old Trafford (he’s missing the San Siro fixture).

When you’re dealing with a horde of uncontrollable Red Devils, pace is one of the biggest requirements for a defender. At 32 years of age the Colombian center-back has still got loads of it, including an innate jumping ability to reach even the highest aerial balls. When the likes of Berbatov, Vidic, and other towering-header specialists come roaming forward on set pieces, Córdoba will need to prove the springs in his legs are very far from being rusty.
With Nemanja Vidic suspended in the first leg, it was very likely Sir Alex would bring Brown back to the starting eleven at San Siro. Unfortunately, Wes is injured and will also miss the trip to Italy. With that said, the Mancunian center-back has improved considerably since last year, and this despite just recovering from a long injury himself. One has to wonder on his condition for the return match however, and if it will be at 100%: for a match like this one anything but full fitness is bound to create the entire defensive line-up considerable problems.

Power, character, positioning ability: the best version of Walter Samuel will be absolutely fundamental in order to thwart Berbatov’s scoring, alongside making the Manchester striker “feel the physique” of Inter’s backline. Anticipation will be one of his main weapons, especially against speed-demons like Cristiano Ronaldo. Even though he will skip the first leg for injury, his recent fine form is nothing but good news for Mourinho.
A main column of Man Utd and the English national team, Rio couples with Vidic to make one of the most impenetrable Premiership backlines of recent years. Domestically, the World and European champions accumulated a streak of 13 consecutive matches without conceding a goal, and although everyone is talking about Van der Sar’s record the Dutch keeper owes a lot to the pair of defenders in front of him, particularly Rio. The precision and timing of his tackles are his main strength, alongside the concentration required to clear the danger when the situation warrants it.

Assuming he will be placed on the left side of the Inter defense, the Romanian defender will have the very simple task of keeping Cristiano Ronaldo at bay. Piece of cake right? With that said, when his sometimes-too-fragile physique (as evidenced by his recent injuries) cuts him some slack, Chivu shows high qualities of technique, class, and experience, stuff which so far as earned him a lot of José’s good graces. At 100%, even Ronaldo will have some trouble getting by him.
Much like the rest of his defensive teammates, the French wing-back has also been struggling with injury problems this year. His condition will have to be re-evaluated. In perfect health however, he is among Europe’s best in his role: a real dynamo of pace & agility, capable of running up & down the field many times during a game and providing an never-ending supply of overlaps and crosses. His defensive abilities have also considerably improved.

Could Inter’s captain miss out on such an important encounter? There is just no way José Mourinho will do without the charisma and tactical versatility of the experienced Argie: when there is defending to do or support the playmakers in midfield, Zanetti’s always ready. In addition, it’s a safe bet he will try one of those classic runs forward which drive the San Siro wild.
When in the Summer of 2006 Ferguson gave ₤17m to Tottenham, some football “experts” were laughing their ass off. Two years and a half later the laughs have considerably subsided, as Michael Carrick has become the pillar of this Red Devils team. He’s got vision, shooting, and a sometimes deadly ability to move through defenses like butter… the only thing he’s missing is a little bit of pace, but hey: no one’s asking him to be Ronaldo are they?

An irreplaceable piece of the Inter chessboard, he’s the main reference of José’s midfield. He does everything: cover the D-line, start his team’s counters, move forward, and hit when it hurts on dead-ball situations. His compass is always working and he never gets lost on the field: Inter will need his presence like crazy at Old Trafford, especially since defensive midfielders with good feet are a rare commodity these days.
He’s the eternal ginger Mancunian warrior, one that Ferguson can always count on at the right moment. His semi-final cannonball effort sank Barcelona and sent Man Utd through to the final last year. With the absence of Owen Hargreaves and the not-quite-ripe aura surrounding Anderson, it’s very likely Scholesy will be once again called into action. And it’s something Nerazzurri fans don’t remember too fondly, especially those who were around for the 1999 encounter at San Siro.

He’s already tried the taste of English Prem football with Pompey, and it’s something Red Devil fans don’t remember too fondly: his FA Cup goal in the quarter-finals prevented Manchester from hitting the treble last season. He’s got power, shooting, and ball control skills, with one big caveat: temper. This is Muntari’s time to grow up, and he knows it. What better way to demonstrate it than a European encounter with the World champions?
The Welsh magician will not be hanging up his boots at the end of the season. Fresh with a contract extension from Manchester, the Red Devils living legend will be something to behold at San Siro. Although it may indeed be the last time Ryan Giggs sets foot in Italy as a player, so our suggestion is to pay close attention to what he does on the field. We certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see magic.

If anything can be said about the Serbian midfielder it’s that this is Stankovic rebirth-year: José had asked him he was only interested in meeting the great player from the Lazio days, and apparently that was motivation enough for a transformation. Recently providing the match-winning goal against AC Milan in the derby, Stankovic may be repeating himself in European context: long-range shooting and killer header are his main skills, and he sure will be drawing upon them against the Red Devils.
Back just in time from his injury problems, Roo’s contribution to Man Utd’s tactical balance is incalculable. His main occupation is to score goals, but Rooney can do many other things as well and Sir Alex knows it. Don’t be surprised if you see him score a goal and then run all the way back to his corner flag to defend on the next play.

Is Adriano’s rebirth complete? Much has been flowing asking that question in recent months, but the player knows his work can only be complete with European confirmation. It certainly won’t be easy against one of the best European defences of the year: sheer power (Adriano’s main specialty) won’t be enough to break down Rio & friends, but power isn’t all that the Inter striker can provide. This will be Adriano’s time to demonstrate that his technique hasn’t lost an iota of ability, and that all the good progress so far has been building up to this.
He was one of Ferguson’s main targets this Summer, and one can easily understand why: good heading ability, excellent ball control & shooting, Berbatov has become the main reference point in United’s forward line. Not only that, but this guy is also one hell of a passer: would you believe it he’s currently leading the assist rankings in the Premiership? If Inter can manage to block him, a good part of Manchester’s maneuvering ability will be seriously hampered.

The term “perfect opportunity” has never taken its full meaning until today. If there is one thing Ibrahimovic has always been criticized for it’s pulling a Houdini during big important matches, so what better chance than facing the European champions for the tall Swedish striker to prove he will not disappear? Everyone knows (including himself and Sir Alex) that Zlatan can change the course of a match entirely by himself. Now is his chance.
Ballon d’or, FIFA World Player of the Year, a 42-goals season, club trophies here & there (including a Prem title and a UEFA Champions League): year 2008 was, to say the least, a pretty good one for Cristiano Ronaldo. Now Manchester United’s most recognized figure worldwide (and this despite the insisting courtship coming down from Madrid), C-Ron will have the delectable task of leading his team past the San Siro hurdle. The only thing we can say to whoever gets the job of marking him: “Good night, and good luck”.

After a few off-the-mark performances, Burdisso’s picked things up rather nicely after José’s arrival to the point of earning his new manager’s trust & respect. On dead balls his heading ability is very dangerous, and he’s a good substitute to Inter’s usual starters in the center-back position. Provided he does not lose his concentration during moments of high pressure.
He may not be the most refined player technically, but John O’Shea can surely be considered as Sir Alex’s ace-up-the-sleeve. He can cover all playing positions from defense to midfield, and his versatility has come in handy on more than one occasion this year. Especially given all the injury problems the team’s had to face.

Old age seems to be catching up with the ex-Arsenal midfielder, as in recent years Patrick has not been able to play more than 20 or so games per season. When he’s fit however he can still be decisive, with an extensive baggage of experience & character on his side. Not only that, but the past encounters with Man Utd during his Arsenal years may yet prove to be useful.
When the matches get delicate (especially the away encounters) Ferguson pulls his Korean ace out of the top hat. Very disciplined tactically, Ji-Sung Park does not lack in the character department either. He’s not a very “trendy” player for sure (in the sense he is not one of those you expect to feature in starting eleven lists), but so far has always responded present the going gets tough.

The tall Argie is the first alternative to the Zlatan/Adriano duo, and (like many times in the past) has always proved reliable when called into action. With match-winning goals especially. With plenty of UCL experience under his belt, his killer blow is definitely something for United defenders to beware against.
With four world class-level forwards in the team (we’re putting Ronaldo in that same category) and only three spots available, even a guy like Tevez may find himself on the subs bench. But Carlitos is anything but a second-liner, and when on the field he’s definitely someone to keep an eye on: he fights, he battles, he creates, a little “red devil” in his own right.

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Posted in English Premiership, Inter, Player Profiles, UEFA Champions League |

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  • 2 Responses to “Inter Milan vs. Manchester United: The PLAYERS”

    1. ibraheem says:

      i’m sure that we’ll beat them cause Inter don’t have a team better than united

    2. Michael Carrick should definitely be heading to the World Cup after his form for United this year. Good luck to him and England – they’ll need it!