Champions League: Halftime At Fulltime – England vs. Italy

33-ibrahimovic-ronaldoIt has been an eventful first set of fixtures with Bayern Munich setting a record margin of goals and going through to the next round in an emphatic fashion. While things went very well in Germany, the English cheered on as an atmospheric Anfield saw one of the most resounding victories on the European stage, with Real Madrid being handed their worst European Cup defeat till date.

Chelsea went through due to goals from Essien and Drogba, while Juventus will rue the injury to their retiring midfielder Pavel Nedved, as well as playing with only ten men for the last 20 minutes of the game.

Presently, both English teams that played their respective second leg matches have gone through to the next round, and the scales of the Anglo Italian debate has just tipped the Premiership way.

However, two games still remain. The Gunners will take on Roma at the Stadio Olimpico, and an interesting game is in prospect. The North London club has not put out a formidable performance this season, and has promptly been reduced to one among the chasing pack, with no chance at lifting the Premier League title this season. However, a more worrying factor is that they are in danger of not finishing in a Champions League spot for the next season. This may be their last shot at European glory for some time, should they fail to finish the race outside the fourth place. Wenger would have emphasised enough to his squad that this remains as the last form of salvaging some glory to a season that is best left as a footnote in the history of the prestigious club.

On the other hand, the Lupi are no mug with the ball, and playing in front of their home fans, combined with the hope of playing the final on their home ground should spur Spalletti’s men enough to grind a result out of this game. Should they emerge triumphant at the end of the second leg, a flurry of missed chances at the Emirates will be the talking point for the critics of the Holloway based club.

Meanwhile at Old Trafford, the pinnacle of each of the leagues will meet in an encounter that is a must watch for any fan of the game. Jose Mourinho will return to one of his favourite haunts and will pit his brains against those of Sir Alex Ferguson. Interestingly, it is the Special One who has had the better of the United boss till date.

Inter had already won the Scudetto when the Portuguese manager was hired. Therefore, his objectives would be to secure the next higher glory. Although he has built up an enormous amount of respect in the Serie A, he may come under some pressure from his bosses if he fails to get past an evenly matched opponent.

The Nerazzurri were lucky to get away with a goalless draw at the San Siro, but now have the daunting task of facing the Red Devils in the presence of one of the most formidable crowds in the world. This is by no means easy, but the former Chelsea boss may turn it into an advantage. Another thing that may prove to be an advantage for the Beneamata boss is that his star-studded striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is grossly underrated by the English media, and may prove to be the difference between the two sides. The same stands for SuperMario as well.

The Big Grass Snake is rumoured to be playing the same formation, while Fergie is expected to play Ronaldo behind a lone striker, so that he can make his way on both sides. This is a game that is expected to go down to the wire.

As the lip smacking encounters continue, there can be only one team that progresses from each game, and the beauty of the Cup will unveil which league is currently the better one.

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