Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Man Utd - Milan (first leg)

Apologies to those EL readers who aren't soccer fans--just keep moving, I'll be back with something else eventually.

How about that semi-final? Another great match between Manchester and an Italian side, this one obviously more evenly matched as the game produced not only some exciting football on individual and team levels, but also was a dramatic demonstration of tactics, mentality, and momentum. Milan were the smarter team but also the more passive one; tonight the assertive offense of Man Utd paid off--it was fascinating to see Milan's coolness under pressure after giving up an early goal, to see that coolness give way to almost intimidating tactical proficiency as they spent parts of the first half utterly dominating Manchester in flow, then to see that coolness turn into something just a little like complacency or even helplessness as Manchester got their spirits up and just doggedly directed themselves at the goal. They really fought & earned their victory the hard way. But Milan's two away goals have to give them some fortitude before the second leg at San Siro, obviously.

So readers--who deserves Player of the Year? Cristiano Ronaldo or Kaka? (Or Drogba? Because if it's a Milan-Chelsea final my only real interest will be to see if Drogba the Scoring Machine will wreak havoc among a super-experienced Italian defense like Milan's.) Tonight was obviously Kaka's night, but as I don't follow Serie A (yet) I can't say I've seen too much of him since the World Cup.

Of course, next season when Henry and Van Persie (and Walcott) are fit again, and Fabregas et al. have a little more experience, Arsenal are going to sweep it all. All.

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