Italy – Super Cup – Milan catwalk in China
By David, bettingexpert.com | Edited
In an attempt to get into the Asian market sporting a more bullish attitude than adopted thus far the Italian football federation has opted for exporting this competition, once again, to the emerging Asian giant. The Chinese fans will be able to enjoy the talents on show by the two Milan-based teams in a contest that is sure to be much more than a simple catwalk ahead of the Serie A kick off.
Milan – Inter
Just as happens in countries like Germany and England the two contestants for this trophy are the winners of last season’s league and the winners of the domestic cup. Unlike what usually is the story in England though, Italian teams take this final seriously and do what they can to field the best first eleven possible. This will most probably be the frame of mind which the English Community Shield should take this year, however, given that it will be pitting against each other the two bitter Manchester rivals.
All around it will be big derbies in the top European leagues with Germany already having watched the champions Borussia Dortmund lose out on penalties against their city rivals Schalke. In Spain it will be the usual two who meet again for another of a series of clashes after those in last year’s Champions League, Copa del Rey and Liga. The next one should be the sixth meeting in 2011.
As in these other encounters the fierceness will only be matched by the apparent equilibrium of the match. So far both teams have not been bright enough in their first runs on the football pitch. Inter are coming from a thrashing at the hands of ex-manager Mancini, now spearheading the Manchester City troops. Milan managed to match Brazil’s unenviable record for 2011 with four missed penalties in a shootout. Their defeat was against International whilst Brazil’s was against Paraguay. The common denominator was Pato, present in both games.
The young Brazilian is yet to regain his sharp form although he was not one to rubbish in the Copa America. Given the right balls he can do the damage and usually is in good mood when facing Inter. His partner in crime, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, has been in exceptional form. After the tumultuous end of season with match suspensions inflicted on him and causing him to miss out on important games, and the continuation of his misadventures in the Champions League, he looked more determined than ever to kick off this season well.
The defence of Milan has looked less brilliant with Nesta being the more focused, although not always so. Taiwo is, as expected, raising serious doubts about whether he is Milan material and Yepes is growing slower every time. The short holidays have not been healthy for him, just as much as they have not been for Thiago Silva.
All in all, however, the team can patch up something good with enough talent and a good mixture of quality in midfield. The story is different for Inter though. Milan already know how the team will be for next year. Cassano may be the only player helped to the exit door. The Nerazzurri are still unsure about whether to trade the likes of Eto’o or Maicon for Tevez. Both would gladly leave as the Brazilian has been on the lookout for more money since the Champions League victory a year ago whilst Eto’o keeps insisting on playing in a more central role in attack so that he can score more goals.
New signing Alvarez has been proclaimed a good signing too hastily after just a few games against Italian teams from inferior divisions. Now that Inter are playing tougher sides it is clear that he needs more time to settle in the squad, just like new coach Gasperini’s philosophy of play.
At the back the new three-man defence needs even more time to get right. So far it has only been Samuel, back for good from his anterior cruciate injury, who has acclimatized to the new tactics. Maicon would have been welcome but when recalled for early training after Nagatomo’s injury he had preferred the beach to helping the team prepare for this final. Obi will therefore be played in an unusual full-back role.
Given the less changes that need to be undergone Milan are the better team for this match. Zlatan is in excellent shape and eager to start inflicting the damage. At Inter there are far too many uncertainties. Things still need to start rolling. Goalkeeper Julio Cesar has been called up after the ligament injury to Viviano and the concussion suffered by Castellazzi. However, far too many Argentine players are still enjoying their holidays after the Copa America exploits.
Milan will be missing Mexes, Flamini, Inzaghi, El Shaarawy and Oddo, all of which have not travelled with the team to China. No big losses. Inter’s Gasperini will not be able to count on Nagatomo and Maicon for the flanks.
Verdict: Milan to win
Unfortunately for Milan fans this game may be the one to give the illusion that they are equipped well enough to challenge for the Champions League this season. They should win but more due to the shortcomings of their city rivals rather than their own merits.
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