Marzia Hazra On January - 11 - 2010

Does Inter Milan Have What it takes to Defeat Chelsea?

The last time Inter Milan tasted the sweet glory of Champions League triumph was during the Grande Inter era back in the mid sixties. After repeated failures of replicating the success, winning the world’s finest club competition has become something of an obsession for Inter patron Massimo Moratti who has clearly made it the club’s highest priority.

Inter is widely believed to be one of Europe’s greatest clubs, but despite their domestic dominance, things haven’t quite worked out on the European scene where they have been knocked out in the first knock-out stages for the past three years.

Moratti is growing more and more desperate to get his hand on the trophy for each passing season and didn’t shy away from splashing the cash during the past summer where he brought in the likes of Diego Milito, Samuel Eto’o, Thiago Motta, Lucio and Wesley Sneijder. All quality signings that has proven to add a lot of quality and depth to Inter’s squad which has already forgotten how heavily reliant they used to be on one Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

After getting through a tough group consisting of all domestic champions Barcelona, Dynamo Kiev and Rubin Kazan, José Mourinho’s men finished second in a very tight group which wasn’t decided until the final matchday.

As the supporters speculated about their eventual opponents in the first knock out stages there was one club they hoped to be spared from; Chelsea.

However, in an ironic twist of fate, that was exactly what happened.

On December 18th Inter Milan were paired against Chelsea in the first knock-out stages of the Champions League in a draw that will see both José Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti return to their former grounds.

Despite a nice reunion awaiting the former Chelsea-boss, the Portuguese mastermind couldn’t really be excited about the draw. With their physical style of play, sheer strength and mobility, the Blues could cause quite an upset for the Milan side as they seem to finish excruciatingly close to the prize each passing season.

The Nerazzurri have been the undisputable dominant force in Serie A for some years now where their displays – independent of their performance – always ooze of confidence. It doesn’t matter if they’re going into the stoppages down one goal, they almost always fight their way back with a never-say-die attitude and a great deal of luck.

However, despite their impressive showings in the domestic league, they are huge underachievers once they step out on to the European. It’s almost like watching a deer caught in headlights. Suddenly it doesn’t matter that they actually possess enough quality and depth to make a genuine push for the title. For some reason there seem to be a mental block that doesn’t quite allow them to test their strength against Europe’s powerhouses. To put it plain and simple; there is a clear sense of inferiority.

‘The Special One’ has already won this tournament once with Porto back in 2004. The furthest he has managed to get since then is to the semi-finals with Chelsea. Despite sporting a team which was heavily reliant on the brilliance of Ibracadabra for the past season, this time around he has a handful of stars that can turn around the score with their individual performances.

Inter has lacked a creative midfielder for some time now, but since the Dutchman’s arrival he has added another dimension to the Nerazzurri’s game with his outstanding playmaking abilities, great technical skills and not to mention his lethal set-pieces.

Add Mario Balotelli to the fray and you get divine skills, lightning speed and a great deal of unpredictability. Let’s not forget players such as Samuel Eto’o, Diego Milito, Julio Cesar and Maicon either.

Carlo Ancelotti hasn’t refined Chelsea as much as he would have wanted to and in the past month the West London side has showcased that they are far from unbeatable. As I see it, Inter has every chance of beating the Blues – but only if they start believing in their own abilities.

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