Clash of the titans
Will there be a "Rather good goal at the San Siro?" Dean Mears previews tomorrow's clash of the titans. CHELSEA face a massive battle in Milan as Chelsea take on Serie A champions Inter Milan managed by former Blues boss Jose Mourinho. Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti who won the Champions League twice with Inter rivals AC Milan, once as a player and the other as manager in 2006, returns to the San Siro after leaving in the summer to become Chelsea manager. In last season's Champions League campaign, Chelsea were denied the opportunity of a successive final by a last-minute Iniesta goal, while Inter were knocked out by Manchester United in the quarter-finals.Jose Mourinho is a god-like figure to the thousands who pack the stands at Stamford Bridge every week, and The Special One returned to watch his former team last month and started the war of words, which was ever common in the Italian press last year, with Ancelotti by claiming Chelsea were still his team. But Ancelotti has a wise head on his shoulders and Jose's former players will know all about the mind games. Both teams currently sit top of their respective leagues, although Inter haven't been able to win in their last three games, while Chelsea's away form has been their Achilles heel this year, they've yet to lose at home in the league but have lost 4 games away from Stamford Bridge this season. Chelsea have not played in Milan for more than 10 years - it was that game against AC Milan when Dennis Wise scored a rather good goal with around 10 minutes to go, so fondly remembered by all Chelsea Fans, while the last time Inter travelled to England they were knocked out by Manchester United last year. The two teams met in a pre season friendly before the start of this season, with Chelsea running out comfortable 2-0 winners. Ancelotti will be hoping for a similar result with those vital away goals so they have some security going into the return leg in two weeks time. Ancelotti faces a huge selection headache at left back, with Ashley Cole and Yuri Zhirkov injured and Paulo Ferreira not registered to play, it may be up to youngster Jeffery Bruma to fill in, however they have been boosted by the returns of Carvalho, Belletti, Alex and Lampard who all sat out the 2-0 win at Wolves on Saturday. Inter 'keeper Julio Cesar is expected to miss the clash after he suffered minor injuries in a car crash. They will also be sweating on the fitness of Chivu, Materazzi and Santon after they trained separately from the rest of the squad on Monday. Spaniard Manuel Mejuto Gonzalez will referee the game, he was the official for the 2005 Champions League Final between AC Milan and Liverpool.Chelsea will be hoping for a positive result in Milan with one or two vital away goals to bolster their chances on reaching consecutive quarter finals. However with huge pressure on Jose Mourinho to win the Champions League with Inter Milan, a defeat at this stage would not be acceptable amongst Inter's hierarchy. Jose got the better of Carlo last year by winning the Serie A title, but Chelsea fans will be hoping they have a manager in which they can hold in the same regard as The Special One and Guus Hiddink, and a manager that can lead them to their first Champions League success.
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