Waking up on a Red Day

by Chris Bertram on May 23, 2007

Well, “here we go”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/6669039.stm . An open thread for pre-match speculation and post-match analysis. Me, I’m feeling confident. Milan are a great side, but they’ve been doing all the talking and I think their desire to avenge 2005 will work against them. They were terrific against Man U, but profited from suicidal defending, and great performances are often followed by average ones. Hold on tight.



Bongob 05.23.07 at 10:58 am

I’ve been trying and failing to calm and soothe my scouser workmate – he’s already jittery and snappish and it’s not even noon yet. Obviously, anything could happen, but the signs aren’t good for Milan. They have the same team minus Crespo and Shevchenko, Liverpool have the same or better in pretty much every position. If it were Brazil v Argentina, I’d back Mascherano to mark Kaka out of the game. Where are Milan’s goals going to come from? Seedorf? Gattuso? Nesta sprinting into the Liverpool penalty area and launching himself into a swandive?

My fear is that it’ll just be a horribly nervy, tense self-cancelling-out packed-midfield affair, like the wretched FA Cup Final just gone by. Which would probably mean penalties. Which Milan think they’d lose.


Ray 05.23.07 at 11:19 am

I think Liverpool’s only hope is to drag the game out to penalties. You ask where Milan’s goals are going to come from – who’s going to score for Liverpool? Crouch? Kuyt?
The unfortunate thing for neutrals is that Liverpool have become very good at stifling games, and they may just manage to do it for 120 minutes. Or until the rest of the world kills itself out of boredom.


Dan Karreman 05.23.07 at 11:43 am

It’s the enginge room that’s going to decide this one. It is really about Gattuso vs Gerrard (and they know it). Milan is the better team, Gerrard the better player, and Gattuso the most motivated (his performance against Manchester is still vivid in my memory). My head says that motivation and class beats class. My heart, well I don’t have any skin in this game, but I just can’t be on the same side as Berlusconi.


a diddy 05.23.07 at 1:01 pm

Unfortunately, it sounds like Zendon is going to start. Reports say it will be a 4-5-1 line-up with Gerrard playing right behind Kuyt.

As for who will score for Pool, Ray … Gerrard, Kuyt, Riise, as well as Crouch and Bellamy as subs are all proven Champions League scorers.


glenn 05.23.07 at 1:12 pm

Live in Italy
Work in Milan
Hate Berlusconi
Would pay (alot) for anyone to beat Milan
Prefer Liverpool anyway
Yet think Milan prevails …

but wish it weren’t so


abb1 05.23.07 at 1:18 pm

English fellas here tell me: unfortunately Milan probably is not gonna fuck up this time.


christian h. 05.23.07 at 1:57 pm

Am I being evil if I say – as a neutral – that I hope Milan wins on a bad call by the referee just so I can see the UK press reaction?


Bongob 05.23.07 at 2:14 pm

Yes, you are : )

Will Paolo Maldini really be playing in his eighth Champions Cup/Champions League final?

Will Peter Crouch win headers against Nesta?

Will any goal actually be scored by a striker?

OK, now I’m fretting too.


Stuart 05.23.07 at 2:31 pm

Probably be won on an odd goal from a speculative strike from midfield that finally hits the net.


Sam 05.23.07 at 3:15 pm

I’m with Ray. If Liverpool can smother Kaka, neutralize the superior speed and skill of Milan, somehow hold on for penalties, I expect Milan to melt under the unspeakable stress and adrenaline deficit. Liverpool wins on penalties. Anyone in Austin, head to Fado at 1:00pm. It promises to be a raucous affair.


reuben 05.23.07 at 3:16 pm

Italian speakers in the UK press – James Richardson, Gabrielle Marcotti – are saying that this “Milan’s doing all the talking” meme is a gross exaggeration by the British press. (Simplification followed by exaggeration would of course be quite out of the norm for the British media.) Richardson’s a Roma supporter and Marcotti in Inter, so I somewhat trust them to not twist the facts for the sake of Milan. Remember, in the Gatusso/Gerrard dialogue, Gerrard (or his ghostwriter) was the first to be critical.


Bongob 05.23.07 at 5:18 pm

The British press’ reporting of any other nation’s press leaves an enormous amount to be desired, and sports coverage in particular is so one-eyed as to be piratical. On any topic, when demand exceeds supply, there’ll be nonsense.

A format in need of revival, here and everywhere else: Derek Jameson used to host a BBC2 show called “Can They Mean Us?”, composed entirely of foreign TV coverage of the UK, from news reports to documentaries. I was no fan of Jameson, but it was always a fascinating show.


trane 05.23.07 at 5:45 pm

I am with us… at least for the first half. (Then I’ll switch over to us.)

Is Ian Rush still playing for Liverpool? Then, I’ll cheer for them…

I hope Agger will be up to speed with Kaka, and think that Crouch will win a quick header in the first half.


ejh 05.23.07 at 5:50 pm

I shall be supporting Liverpool, on the basis that they are neither Chelsea nor Manchester United and I’m grateful for that.

The football season however ceased meaningfully to exist when Oxford United went out of the play-offs having blown a two-goal lead in the penalty shootout, having previously blown a two-goal lead in the second leg and having previously blown an eight-point lead earlier in the season.

This renders corporate affairs like the Champions’ League entirely meaningless by comparison.


Randy Paul 05.23.07 at 6:25 pm

I’m supporting Liverpool as well (for the same reasons that Glenn and EJH are), but really believe that they will have a tough time.

I really believe that Mascherano is not up to the task against Kaká. Kaká’s performance against Man U was nothing short of breathtaking.


notsneaky 05.23.07 at 7:03 pm

Liverpool are not looking bad so far.

Let my class out five minutes early so we could all go watch the game (lots of international students in my class).


monkey.dave 05.23.07 at 7:14 pm

ESPN commentators are going on about Kaka’s brilliance and they show a clip of him over-elaborating a move and giving the ball away. Brilliant.


notsneaky 05.23.07 at 7:32 pm

Ugh, cheap.


ejh 05.23.07 at 7:40 pm

Fifteen minute advert break on Spanish TV…


Chris Bertram 05.23.07 at 9:06 pm

Damn, damn, damn.


Amanda 05.23.07 at 9:28 pm

Condolences Chris. NSW lost the State of Origin last night so I know how you feel. ;-)


christian h. 05.23.07 at 10:21 pm

God, what a terrible game. This happens when a team like AC gets an early lead… yuck.


leinad 05.23.07 at 10:52 pm

Yeesh, if ever there was a case of scoreline =/= match…


Ben Saunders 05.23.07 at 11:07 pm

Obviously, losing a Champions League final (or any final) is never good, but at the end of the day Milan only did to us what we did to them in 2005. I’m happy to have been there – something Chelsea or Man Utd would have loved. And I hope that we have a core of players who, with some squad re-building, can win us this trophy again…


ejh 05.24.07 at 8:21 am

a team like AC

I can’t believe people are still calling Milan “AC”. It is not their name. It is like saying “FC”. Their name is not AC, nor AC Milan, or Milano – it’s Milan.

Meanwhile, over at the cricket season, what in God’s name was the pitch like at Swansea yesterday?


mollymooly 05.24.07 at 11:31 am

#25: or Calling “Manchester United” “United”. Especially when they’re playing Leeds or Newcastle.


des von bladet 05.24.07 at 11:42 am

EJH: The pitch was soaking wet, is how it was. The sun came out for some of the Middlesex innings. You can listen live, if it floats your boat.

(Re: Names. One time I went to a Gloucestershire CCC match, and the Very Vocal Supporter spent the whole time shouting “Come on, ‘Shire!”. They were playing Yorkshire at the time. D’oh!)

(Re: Big Cup. The Dutch radio commentary was a delight after the jingoistic but content-free crap served up by Five Live’s Alan Green and his co-perpetrators. The Dutch guy spoke both amazingly fast and amazingly clearly, and covered the action on the pitch rather than his own navel.

Oh and I’m looking forward to a refreshing break from the recently-fashionable “Best League in the World” articles from the English press.)


Bongob 05.24.07 at 2:38 pm

Urrgh. Wretched game. Not particularly upset about the result, just disappointed by the event.

Loved Mascherano’s capoeira challenge on Kaka, which somehow scissored the ball from between his sprinting legs.

In my admittedly hazy recollection, Milan had exactly two shots on goal, both of which went in. Is this correct, or did I miss Reina making some saves?


ejh 05.24.07 at 3:54 pm

The pitch was soaking wet, is how it was. The sun came out for some of the Middlesex innings. You can listen live, if it floats your boat.

Ah, cheers. In fact I don’t have sound where Iam (or at home). I’m sure it’s very easy to set up, but I’ve avoided doing so for reasons which are mostly related to incompetence but also involve the likelihood that if I did have sound, I would spend the next twenty years watching clips on YouTube.

Middlesex have a remarkable batting line-up which with the exception of Owais Shah (west London comprehensive) is almost entirely composed of talented but overrated players from top public schools who tend to choose Middlesex on the grounds that that way they can hang out with their mates from the City while taking a few years out to see if they can get in the England team. Hutton, Dalrymple, Compton, Smith, Joyce (and of course Strauss).


jay bee 05.24.07 at 4:36 pm

ejh- whatever about his other faults, I don’t think Irishman Ed Joyce can be bracketed with the others you name on the basis of his schooling – Pres Bray, I believe


ejh 05.24.07 at 4:55 pm

My understanding was that his school was not, shall we say, the least exclusive in Ireland. Is that not right?


Duncan Gardner 05.25.07 at 2:25 pm

EJH exaggerates a little, I think. Presentation College is neither the most exclusive school in greater Dublin south.

BTW E, I understand that Espana will be completing their unsuccessful Euro 2008 campaign in Las Palmas. Not my fave holiday destination, alas.

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