BBC BLOGS - Phil Minshull
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
« Previous | Main | Next »

Ibrahimovic and Robinho prove me wrong

Post categories:

Phil Minshull | 19:13 UK time, Monday, 14 February 2011

Every so often, a blogger has to put their head above the parapet and admit that he or she was wrong about something they have written in the past.

That's what I'm doing right now.

At the start of the season, I expressed a lot of scepticism about whether Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho were going to have a positive impact on AC Milan after their summer moves from Barcelona and Manchester City respectively.

In stark contrast to my original prognostications, both players have not been the divisive force I suspected they might be and, thanks in part to the duo's efforts, Milan are looking like they might take their first Serie A title since 2004.

Having seen a few of their recent games, I also have a feeling that Champions League opponents Tottenham will find out just how influencial the pair have become at the San Siro when the two teams meet on Tuesday.

Ibrahimovic has scored 13 goals in Serie A alone this season, bagging another four in the Champions League before the New Year. Robinho has added another nine to Milan's tally of 44 goals this term, including two in Saturday's 4-0 win over Parma, the first time he had been on the scoresheet twice since he moved to Milan.

Ibrahimovic and RobinhoIbrahimovic and Robinho have put Milan in sight of the Serie A title. Photo: AFP

World Soccer magazine this month called Ibrahimovic and Robinho "a strike partnership of terrifying possibility" - and I cannot do anything other than endorse that assessment.

Both players seem to have matured at Milan under the guidance of coach Massimiliano Allegri. Ibrahimovic, in particular, has added a few strings to his bow since his return to Italy's second city and has become a lot less greedy with the ball, providing his team-mates with opportunities rather than bidding only for personal glory, a facet demonstrated perfectly when he set up the evergreen Clarence Seedorf for Milan's first goal against Parma on Saturday.

It is this aspect of his game that has helped endear him to the Rossoneri fans, who, like me, had placed question marks against his name at the start of the season.

It would be a surprise of massive proportions now if Milan do not exercise their option to purchase the former Inter Milan striker from Barcelona at the end of the season. It could turn out to be the bargain signing of next summer - and Allegri certainly expects Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani, the right-hand man of club owner and under-fire Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, to write a cheque for 24m euros.

"There is no better player in the world than Zlatan Ibrahimovic," said Allegri last week. "Alongside Messi, he is the absolute strongest. He has character, determination and this year he has been decisive on many occasions."

The victory over Parma also extended Milan's unbeaten run to eight games in Serie A - although it came after two draws against Lazio and Genoa - and maintains their three-point lead over surprise challengers Napoli.

It is a slender advantage and certainly not insurmountable with 13 games still to play, especially when you consider that Milan are fallible, having tripped up at the end of last year at home to both Ajax in the Champions League and Roma on the domestic front.

The prevailing opinion is that Milan can be punished by fast men down the wings, so Spurs are certainly going to miss the injured Gareth Bale. However, in a season when Inter Milan - undergoing a resurgence under former Milan coach Leonardo - and Juventus have failed to offer any sort of sustained domestic challenge, there is the growing feeling that this could be Milan's year.

Allegri sounded more optimistic about his side's title chances after Saturday's game and issued a mild rebuke to some of his critics over the last few weeks.

"I think it's important to analyse the performances," said Allegri. "We didn't play poorly against Genoa, apart from a certain stage of the second half. We deserved to win against Lazio, so it's not like we were in crisis. The players did well (against Parma) and this makes me happy. We were aggressive again and this is important. Aggressiveness is fundamental. Seedorf played a great game, especially in terms of intensity."

Robinho was even more bullish on Saturday night. "Bring on Tottenham," he said. "We want to win everything. If we carry on doing well then we can win this Scudetto."

Ibrahimovic and Robinho have hit it off so well under Allegri that he has amended the 4-3-3 tactical formation he preferred at the start of the season to either a 4-4-2 or 4-3-1-2.

Milan also have Alexandre Pato, who has scored nine league goals but has had an erratic season after seemingly having his nose put out of joint by the arrival of high high-profile new team-mates. They also strengthened their strike force with the acquisition of Italy's controversial bad boy Antonio Cassano. After a few mediocre games, he finally sprung into life against Parma and scored his first goal since joining from Sampdoria during the January transfer window.

"I'm thrilled to have got my 100th Serie A goal," said Cassano. "This is the start of a new chapter in my career. From now on, I want to win everything - and with the team and this club, we can do it. If we continue to play like this, then nobody can stand in the way.

"I'm learning at Milan that you have to be 100% all the time and the objective is always to win. If someone makes a mistake, I try to comfort them. After all, they can misplace a pass because they work so hard, whereas I am not exactly the hardest runner."

Antonio CassanoCassano has vowed to change his ways following his move from Sampdoria. Photo: Getty

At least Spurs will not have to worry about Cassano, who is cup tied after playing for his former club in the preliminary rounds last summer.

"Watching the Champions League from outside will be tough for me," added the Italian international. "I would like to have played against Tottenham. Anyway, I'll be there to root for my team-mates as a fan."

Comments on this blog in the space below. Other questions on European football to: europeanfootball@hotmail.co.uk. I don't need your full address but please put the town/city and country where you come from.

Q) Why do Palermo not call back Edinson Cavani from his loan at Napoli given his exceptional goalscoring form? Some of the loan and part-ownership deals in Serie A seem quite puzzling to me given how often lesser clubs loan out top talent to clubs above them in the league standings.
Amyn Merchant, Toronto, Canada

A) Cavani took his total to 20 goals in Serie A on Saturday with both of Napoli's goals against Roma and he currently tops the Serie A scoring charts. But my understanding is that Palermo cannot recall Cavani. Cash-strapped Napoli wanted to sign him permanently last summer but it made more financial sense to defer the payment of a 16m euros transfer fee. Champions League football next season should help them find the cash. The loan and part-ownership deals among Serie A clubs are really just a way of helping the 'lesser clubs' manage their cash flow better, although, as you say, sometimes the deals are puzzling to say the least and don't help give many Italian clubs the financial transparency that Uefa wants to implement.

Comments

or register to comment.

  • 1. At 8:29pm on 14 Feb 2011, Aziz wrote:

    Tottenham won't offer a sustained challenge on anything and they'll be comfortably overcome by AC Milan who boast within their ranks a rich wealth of attacking talents, experience and clever operators in European combat. Tottenham will badly miss the influential presence of Gareth Bale, his constant left-wing surges and flawless deliveries entice neutrals...I think considering the immense physical presence of these AC Milan midfielders will bully and subdue Van Der Vaart and Luca Modric, except Tottenham to be starved of any real ambition.

    The moment that could be defined as a measure of Tottenham's qualities and credentials was that 45-minute almost comeback against Inter, that's why there's renewed optimism.

    AC Milan are still an ageing team, a club that needs to recycle its players, bring in a fresh era of young talents and riches, Inter Milan would have been stronger if only they had appointed Leonardo earlier.

    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 8:31pm on 14 Feb 2011, Nathan Bowles wrote:

    I am a spurs fan and i would like to know what you think of the imminent champions league fixture between the 2, who do you think will get their noses in front if at all and why? Who do you think will win the tie overall?

    Thanks

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 8:39pm on 14 Feb 2011, I Love Simon Cowell_SAVE 606 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 4. At 8:57pm on 14 Feb 2011, nitchee wrote:

    Tottenham showed great character in both games against Inter, but that was all thanks to Bale. Now that he is injured, and not going to the match, I see Tottenham struggling without his pace, even with Lennon. Tottenham's defence is so unpredictable, that it is difficult to imagine how well they will fare against Ibra and Robinho. They will either succeed, or fail miserably (the display against Fulham a few weeks back was absolutely atrocious).

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 8:58pm on 14 Feb 2011, Zeemo wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 6. At 10:22pm on 14 Feb 2011, DATB wrote:

    The one thing that has impressed me with Tottenham this season is their total lack of fear and commitment to attack at every opportunity. However I feel this is precisly why they will be knocked out by AC Milan. Spurs must understand they are in with the big boys now and Milan won't allow them the freedom that Inter and others, who perhaps were taken by surprise, gave them earlier in the competion.

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 10:29pm on 14 Feb 2011, Magic_Arsenal_thefinalcountdown wrote:

    I can't call a winner here. Would be at all surprised to see AC take a 2-1 lead from the first game. If any team folds and let's in 3 or 4, it'll be Spurs. I have a feeling AC might just scrape this one, maybe on away goals, but it'll be a very close run contest.

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 11:03pm on 14 Feb 2011, GigiBuffon1 wrote:

    I can't believe the question at the bottom of this blog. Does this person seriously think Napoli would allow Palermo to have a recall clause in a deal for Cavani, who they've built their attack around?

    A lot of deals are done this way in Italy as a way of spreading the cost, and lowering the risk, as the club can simply opt not to purchase the player should his loan spell not work out. Juventus have done quite a few of these for this season, and it's comforting to know that the club hasn't committed to buying one or two of those players yet.

    #5 If that is the case then why didn't Platini stop 3 English teams reaching the semi-finals? Platini has been brilliant for Uefa, and has looked to improve the future health of the game. It't not his fault that a lot of the immoral behaviour in football occurs in England. It's also not his fault that the xenophobic English media twists his words, and doesn't mention criticism he's made of clubs in Italy and Spain, in addition to English clubs.

    As for the main blog, that was a bad call Phil to question Ibrahimovic's potential impact at Milan. As the great Luciano Moggi said, whoever has Ibrahimovic wins the title.

    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 11:05pm on 14 Feb 2011, The United Way wrote:

    Think although Spurs have been great to watch, this Milan side will walk all over them. Aggregate score: 4-1.

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 11:15pm on 14 Feb 2011, 1980s_Midfield_General wrote:

    "I think considering the immense physical presence of these AC Milan midfielders will bully and subdue Van Der Vaart and Luca Modric"

    You must be joking. Gattuso and Ambrosini are ancient. If anything, Palacios and Sandro are going to be bullying Milan's midfield.

    I'm happy for Spurs to face Ibrahimovic because he's done nothing outside of serie a in his whole career. Expect the usual Champions League choke job from Ibra.

    With Milan's defense being so slow, Spurs have a good chance of winning this tie even though Milan are slight favorites

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 11:29pm on 14 Feb 2011, herbieking wrote:

    Spurs are nothing if unpredictable. I wouldn't be surprised if we were leading 0-3 at half-time; similarly if we were losing 3-0 I'd see it as another rollercoaster ride through Europe with the Spurs. We've a proper squad now though...losing Bale is a blow, but given our injuries this season it was bound to happen. Lucky that Nico has come in and done a job just in time. All to play for, no fear COYS

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 11:42pm on 14 Feb 2011, St3v13G wrote:

    #8...
    "It't not his fault that a lot of the immoral behaviour in football occurs in England. It's also not his fault that the xenophobic English media twists his words"

    The suggestion that most of football's 'immoral behaviour' comes from England is naive and stinks of the band wagon.

    Consider the problems with racism in Spain and Italy - with Balotelli coming under attack as recently as May 2009 from Juventus fans, and Dani Alves of Barcelona recently reporting that 'racism in spanish football will never go away' - infact the manager of the Spanish national side was fined in 2005 for racist remarks made about Thierry Henry.

    And what about the Italian match fixing scandal of 2006?

    Also, don't forget about the 11 Man Utd fans who ended up in hospital in 2007 following a clash with Roma?

    There's a lot more that's 'morally wrong' with football than a couple of billionaire owners and disputes on financial 'fair play'.

    Take the blinkers off.

    P.S "xenophobic English media" is interesting conjecture, but it's both slanderous and lacking in specificity.

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 11:42pm on 14 Feb 2011, Stroke of Luka wrote:

    I'm expecting close matches in both legs of the tie. As long as Milan don't lead by more than one goal going into the match at White Hart Lane, then I think Spurs will win it, but it will be close.

    Hopefully the pace of Lennon and the ability of Modric to work in tight situations (if he plays) can threaten Milan. Ambrosini must be older than Bruce Forsyth!

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 11:44pm on 14 Feb 2011, A Hoser wrote:

    10. At 11:15pm on 14 Feb 2011, 1980s_Midfield_General wrote:

    I'm happy for Spurs to face Ibrahimovic because he's done nothing outside of serie a in his whole career. Expect the usual Champions League choke job from Ibra.

    ---------

    He's only won 7 straight league championships with 4 different teams. Name me one other player that has done that?

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 11:45pm on 14 Feb 2011, whats love gotta do with it wrote:

    It has been a pleasure watching Tottenham play the last couple of seasons. usually champions league have been of seasoned teams who just shift through the gears and ultimately win it.

    With Spurs it is different. They play without fear and disrupt the rythm of the so called seasoned teams (who are in the competition year in and year out).

    Have a feeling Spurs will beat AC milan. They certainly have the quality to do so.

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 11:53pm on 14 Feb 2011, Talorcan wrote:

    Both teams are currently suffering injuries to key players but Milan the more so.
    While Spurs can be very exciting this season has shown them to be unpredictable and inconsistent. Milan on the other hand while not dominant as in years past still has the experience to pull off the win.
    The return fixture will be critical but mostly due to who will be fit and able to play.
    IF CL has taught us anything; the team that has the better and deeper bench will prevail. EDGE Milan

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 11:55pm on 14 Feb 2011, HolteEndVillan wrote:

    Ibra and Robinho are good, but they can't hold a candle to former Milan striker Ronaldo in his pomp.
    www.threematchban.com/videos/ronaldo

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 00:09am on 15 Feb 2011, Harry Hotspur wrote:

    14. At 11:44pm on 14 Feb 2011, A Hoser wrote:

    10. At 11:15pm on 14 Feb 2011, 1980s_Midfield_General wrote:

    I'm happy for Spurs to face Ibrahimovic because he's done nothing outside of serie a in his whole career. Expect the usual Champions League choke job from Ibra.

    ---------

    He's only won 7 straight league championships with 4 different teams. Name me one other player that has done that?

    ---------

    You really defeated your own point there. Yes, he's won league title after league title, but he never seems to manage anything outside of the league. He's great in the Serie A, but apparently that's his lot. #10 got it spot on.

    As a Spurs fan, I really hope we can win this, but realistically I think we'll fall short. Our defence has looked shaky all year, Gomes is his usual erratic self, no Bale, VDV and Modric both lacking full fitness, Crouch injured... I'd happily settle for a goal, maybe two, down coming back to White Hart Lane. Just as long as it doesn't get embarrassing, I think we'd be capable of staging a very entertaining comeback.

    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 00:19am on 15 Feb 2011, Derek wrote:

    Am a Spurs fan but I have a bad feeling about tomorrow night - I think the best we can hope for is an away goal and no more than a 1 goal deficit - I'd be ecstatic with a draw and would gladly take 2-1 now.

    But I fear the tie may be over after the 1st leg - don't see Milan letting us back into the tie like Inter did.

    Which Spurs will turn up ? The one that played the 1st half at Werder Bremen and the 2nd half against Inter,.... or the one that played the 2nd half against WB and the 1st halves against Inter and Fulham.

    Given our injuries I suspect it may be the latter - although I pray I'm wrong; will be watching from behind the sofa !!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 00:31am on 15 Feb 2011, A Hoser wrote:

    18. At 00:09am on 15 Feb 2011, sheffieldharry wrote:
    14. At 11:44pm on 14 Feb 2011, A Hoser wrote:

    10. At 11:15pm on 14 Feb 2011, 1980s_Midfield_General wrote:

    I'm happy for Spurs to face Ibrahimovic because he's done nothing outside of serie a in his whole career. Expect the usual Champions League choke job from Ibra.

    ---------

    He's only won 7 straight league championships with 4 different teams. Name me one other player that has done that?

    ---------

    You really defeated your own point there. Yes, he's won league title after league title, but he never seems to manage anything outside of the league. He's great in the Serie A, but apparently that's his lot. #10 got it spot on.

    ------------

    I'm pretty sure he did well for Barcelona as well, a league outside of Serie A. If I'm not mistaken he scored in the El Clasico in his only season there, something that Ronaldo has failed to do. He's the best central striker at the moment. Nobody else has that run of league championships.

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 00:43am on 15 Feb 2011, Ikechukwu Okoro wrote:


    at number 2, Nathan Bowles wrote: "I am a spurs fan and i would like to know what you think of the imminent champions league fixture between the 2, who do you think will get their noses in front if at all and why? Who do you think will win the tie overall?"

    The answer to your question is simple: I see the fixture as beeing catastrophic for Tottenham;AC Milan will carry the day. I say this because Tottenham and Arsenal have one thing in common: unpredictability. Well, you may say that is what football is all about; however, I must emphasise that Tottenham scores and leaks goals as well. The fixture will bring them to the end of the road of Champions' League football this season, but they will still be there next year because there will be no comeback for Chelsea. Word of encouragement to Tottenham fans out there?

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 00:44am on 15 Feb 2011, Aarfy_Aardvark - bring back 606 wrote:

    @10 - Ambrosini is injured so I would imagine Spurs might find it easy to bully a midfield with him in it. Also Gattuso is the same age as William Gallas.

    Milan can be beaten by good counter-attacking football and crosses out-wide on the flanks which is why I think the loss of Bale will hurt them a lot tomorrow.

    Complain about this comment

  • 23. At 00:50am on 15 Feb 2011, A Hoser wrote:

    Also I'm pretty sure Ibra scored 2 goals at the Emirates against Arsenal last season in the quarters if I'm not mistaken. So no, he's not a complete choke. Wayne Rooney IS a choke though.

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 00:52am on 15 Feb 2011, Drooper_ wrote:

    8. At 11:03pm on 14 Feb 2011, GigiBuffon1 wrote:

    #5 If that is the case then why didn't Platini stop 3 English teams reaching the semi-finals? Platini has been brilliant for Uefa, and has looked to improve the future health of the game. It't not his fault that a lot of the immoral behaviour in football occurs in England. It's also not his fault that the xenophobic English media twists his words, and doesn't mention criticism he's made of clubs in Italy and Spain, in addition to English clubs.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Is that the same morally incorruptible Platini that supported FIFA going to new frontiers in the WC, who in his impartial role as UEFA President, on the eve of the vote to decide the hosts for Euro 2016, didn't afford the Turkish president the audience with the delegates he'd afforded the French president, which he stated had been instrumental in France winning its 3rd Euros, and with the WC in 98, its 3rd major tournament in 32 years, and that it shouldn't be forgotten he is a Frenchman? Maybe Turkey could get the Euros when there was a Turkish UEFA President, he said after the winner was announced.

    That Shevchenko, Ibrahimovic, Ronaldhinho, Robinho, etc, have blossomed at Milan, but struggled elsewhere, suggests at least that Italian football is different. In Robinho's case, it was difficult to find a Tabac to sit outside and read Corriere Dello Sport while sipping an espresso during a game in east Manchester. Undoubtedly capable of brilliance, but couldn't hack the bit of wellie and needing to roll up your sleeves.

    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 00:58am on 15 Feb 2011, A Hoser wrote:

    That Shevchenko, Ibrahimovic, Ronaldhinho, Robinho, etc, have blossomed at Milan, but struggled elsewhere, suggests at least that Italian football is different. In Robinho's case, it was difficult to find a Tabac to sit outside and read Corriere Dello Sport while sipping an espresso during a game in east Manchester. Undoubtedly capable of brilliance, but couldn't hack the bit of wellie and needing to roll up your sleeves.

    -------------

    That's harsh. You're counting Ronaldinho in that list? And Ibrahimovic was hardly struggling at Barcelona. Just because Robinho (who initially was doing well with Man City) and Shevchenko didn't light up the EPL doesn't make Milan any less of a team. Shevchenko is one of the leading scorers in CL history. I don't see anyone in the EPL (Ronaldo apart) having an impact in other leagues.

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 01:07am on 15 Feb 2011, Drooper_ wrote:

    #25, Ronaldhinho was a great player in his heyday, but was past his best when he played for Milan. Ibrahimovic has been more influential for Milan than Barcelona. I didn't say that Milan were any less of a team, I was saying that Italian football is different, but I do think they are struggling to compete with the pace of Barcelona and the teams at the top of the EPL.

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 01:08am on 15 Feb 2011, Stu_SAFC wrote:

    I don't see anyone in the EPL (Ronaldo apart) having an impact in other leagues.

    ------

    And Becks a few years ago. But true, and a great point, it's easy to say Ibra only plays in Serie A but he did pretty well at Barca, and I don't see Rooney/Gerrard/Lampard testing themselves in different leagues..

    Also Ronaldinho blossomed in Milan?! That's funny, I seem to remember him being the best player in the world at Barcelona..

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 01:15am on 15 Feb 2011, hypeup wrote:

    @WestHamSupporter- ''AC Milan are still an ageing team, a club that needs to recycle its players, bring in a fresh era of young talents and riches''. They've done that. Pato-21. Robinho-27.(just) Ibra-29. Thiago Silva-26. Boateng-23. Abate-24. Emmanuelson-24. Cassano-28. Antonini-28. Flamini-26. Bonera-29. Papastathopoulos-22. And they also got a couple of academy players breakin through to the 1st team. The only ageing players who play a part are Nesta-34 who is as good as ever. Gattuso-33 who's having his best season in years and Ambrosini-34(captain) who's next year will probably be his last and Seedorf who's not a regular starter. The main players and bulk of the team now are young so that arguement isn't valid. Also i read somewhere that Milan are slow in defence.. Abate, Thiago Silva and Emmanuelson are some of the fastest players in the league and Antonini can hold his own too so I don't know where that's come from.

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 01:16am on 15 Feb 2011, Drooper_ wrote:

    #27, you've got the wrong end of the stick. Exactly, he was the best player in the world at Barcelona, who then let him go because his performance dropped, but this was still deemed of sufficient level for Milan.

    Complain about this comment

  • 30. At 02:11am on 15 Feb 2011, Stephen wrote:

    The matches midweek will be an intresting test for both English teams and despite the main match been Arsenal - Barca, the Spurs match will be just as good. This is will be important for Spurs as they will feel they could win this match,even without Bale. It's time for the English clubs to step up and show their class, as I think the top English clubs may be started a decline.

    Spurs - new to the Champions League. Manchester United -not looking as strong as they have done. Chelsea - have been pretty poor of late and the Torres deal, although early on, seems a waste of money. Arsenal - need to show more grit in battles against the top European teams.

    http://sportingblog.blog.co.uk/

    Complain about this comment

  • 31. At 03:30am on 15 Feb 2011, Cannons of Rhetoric wrote:

    Think this match should be a cracker! I don't think anyone should be downgrading Zlatan though, he'll be a handfull. The thing is this fixture could go either way with the way both teams are playing now...

    [b]Also, interesting piece of trivia to be found on Wikipedia: On 18 August 2004, Ibrahimović injured fellow Ajax teammate Rafael van der Vaart during an international match against the Netherlands, which led to accusations from van der Vaart that Ibrahimović had hurt him intentionally. This led to Ibrahimović's sudden sale to Juventus on 31 August 2004. [/b]

    Some revenge to be had maybe? :D

    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 03:47am on 15 Feb 2011, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    18. At 00:09am on 15 Feb 2011, sheffieldharry wrote:

    You really defeated your own point there. Yes, he's won league title after league title, but he never seems to manage anything outside of the league. He's great in the Serie A, but apparently that's his lot. #10 got it spot on.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This is a completely specious line of argument.

    Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie ''boast'' one league title between them, and certainly have never done anything outside the EPL.

    Does this detract from their obvious ability ?

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 04:04am on 15 Feb 2011, Talorcan wrote:

    29. At 01:16am on 15 Feb 2011, Drooper_ wrote:
    #27, you've got the wrong end of the stick. Exactly, he was the best player in the world at Barcelona, who then let him go because his performance dropped, but this was still deemed of sufficient level for Milan.
    I beg to differ on the last portion of your comment; Milan gave him a chance while bargain hunting. (Unlike many EPL teams Milan have a better track record in the transfer market) When his performance was not there and he was seen coming out of a restaurant at 2:30 am on a practice day his days were numbered. Allegri also would not tolerate his lack of team focus and complete lack of team defence which Leonardo overlooked and ignored last season.

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 04:35am on 15 Feb 2011, Drooper_ wrote:

    #33, that might explain Milan finding themselves at the top of Serie A now Talorcan, and fair dues to Allegri, but it also adds weight to the fact that it looks like Ronaldhinho continued that Barcelona party lifestyle in Milan, from 2008 to 2010, before Allegri arrived. He didn't get away with it at Barcelona. Would he have got away with it in the EPL?

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 05:38am on 15 Feb 2011, Cannons of Rhetoric wrote:

    Forgot to add that Zlatan did pretty well for Ajax and helped them win the 2001-2002 Eredivisie championship, and that's also outside of Serie A...

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 07:07am on 15 Feb 2011, arthur blundell wrote:

    There have been predictions of Tottenhams despite from the group stages, all coming from other premier team supporters. Spurs haven't gotten this far on luck and I am sure Harry Redknapp knows e-xactly what he is up against. The greatest danger for Tottenham is in their slowness to settle into a game (as witness Young Boys, Inter & Fulham).

    Complain about this comment

  • 37. At 07:29am on 15 Feb 2011, SCL wrote:

    Its a shame that so many English football fans dont get to see enough of Ibrahimovic at his best. As a regular Serie A viewer, you see week in week out that the man is incredible, one of the best strikers in the world.

    In a way though I accept that how people view him outside of Italy and Sweden is his fault - he talks a big game yet in the big games at International and European level, he simply hasnt backed up his words enough (except his fantastic performance against Arsenal last season, which everybody conveniently forgets). This season he has been the driving force in pulling Milan towards the title, dont let this article fool you into believing Robinho has had anywhere near as great a role.

    Its also funny that despite Barca not working out for him, he managed to get 16 goals in 29 games there - not really quite the worst flop. I'm not so sure a striker like Ibra would work with Barca's current setup - he'd probably have suited Real more (not only because of his mercenary attitude!)

    Also, on Cassano - think this blog is a bit unfair in that it skews that Cassano has had a massive impact for Milan since joining - he ended with 3 assists in his first three matches, recently had a run of bad fitness and now in the last few games has been key in almost every Milan goal. They'll definitely miss him against Spurs.

    I think without Bale tonight Spurs are going to be found out either way!

    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 08:39am on 15 Feb 2011, thabo wrote:

    14. At 11:44pm on 14 Feb 2011, A Hoser wrote:
    10. At 11:15pm on 14 Feb 2011, 1980s_Midfield_General wrote:

    I'm happy for Spurs to face Ibrahimovic because he's done nothing outside of serie a in his whole career. Expect the usual Champions League choke job from Ibra.

    ---------

    He's only won 7 straight league championships with 4 different teams. Name me one other player that has done that?

    ---------

    Erm, no he didn't - He was at Juve when they were stripped of two Serie A titles so I don't think you can claim that his record (impressive do it is) is that mind blowing - Unless you want to say that Ben Johnson won the 100 meters Gold in '88 too?

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 08:57am on 15 Feb 2011, signori wrote:

    Phil,

    First of all i doubt you remember my rant in response to the article you did on Ibrahimovic at the start of the season. I replied saying i very much doubt an apology when he proves you wrong......................


    And here it is,

    Just want to say I am very pleasantly suprised and glad you came out and admitted you were wrong.

    Great article and Im looking forward to tonights game. Its a shame about some Injuries and cup tied players to both sides but Im predicting a great game either way.

    Signori

    Complain about this comment

  • 40. At 09:05am on 15 Feb 2011, norfolk enchants wrote:

    What's wrong is using a tired old cliché like "head above the parapet", if you haven't read Orwell's Politics of the English Language, you should...

    Complain about this comment

  • 41. At 09:11am on 15 Feb 2011, signori wrote:

    Second of all:

    You can throw as many cliches as you want at Italian football, you can listen to Sky Sports or read The Sun newspaper and take your opinions from there, But I guarantee if you actually watch Serie A then you would realise that its all lazy journalism.

    Copy and pasting opinions from the 80's is getting as old as Sir Alex. The game has changed and so should peoples opinions too. Its so easy to listen or read other peoples opinions and pass them off as the gospel.

    Ibrahimovic is a fine example of this 'I heard Andy Gray say it' aatitude (well not anymore the fool has been sacked). Ibra is one of the finest talents in the game. To base him on the 3 or 4 games you see him on the TV a year in the champions league is foolish, heres hoping Tottenham dont make the same mistake otherwise it could be arrivederci before it gets back to White heart lane!

    Complain about this comment

  • 42. At 09:16am on 15 Feb 2011, mccollio09 wrote:

    I watch Milan every week with my Father-in-Law and remember having a chuckle as you predicted Milan's demise with the signings of these two. I had never been more in disagreement with a pundit, I knew they'd light serie A alight, particularly Ibrahimovic. Despite people saying he flopped at Barca, look at his record... Can you really call it a flop?

    43 starts, 23 goals and 9 assists according to my sources - and you tip him to flop in a slower, weaker league that he was already smashing up only a season previous to his move?

    Complain about this comment

  • 43. At 09:19am on 15 Feb 2011, be the hokey wrote:

    A BBC football blogger named Phil being proved wrong?

    Isn't that par for the course?

    Complain about this comment

  • 44. At 09:19am on 15 Feb 2011, kanchelskis_legend wrote:

    Looking forward to tonight's match.

    I made a prediction before the draw for the knockout phase was made that Tottenham wouldn't make it past this round, no matter who they face. I think their exuberant, attacking style, coupled with obvious defensive deficiencies, will be their undoing. I just don't think they'll have the experience, nous or tactical variety to see themselves over the finish line in a two-legged game. Compare this with AC Milan, who have seasoned European players all over the park. No matter how you rate their talent, having been there and done that counts for an awful lot at this stage.

    Of course, I'd love to be proved wrong - I've really enjoyed Spurs' European story this season, but I think this is where the dream ends.

    Still, on the bright side, it looks as though Chelsea are keen to let you have another year of Champions League football!

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 09:19am on 15 Feb 2011, Gaz wrote:

    All this week the British press have talked about Spurs' injuries problems with no mention of the fact Milan's injury problems are just as bad, if not worse!

    Milan are missing Pirlo, Boateng, Bonera, Ambrosini, Zambrotta & Inzaghi - all internationals! Plus Nesta and Legrottaglie have only just recovered and rushed straight in to the team due to lack of players.

    Milan will probably have to field one of their youth players in midfield either Strasser or Merkel.

    Yet I've seen no mention of these injuries in any British sport newspaper/website?

    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 09:25am on 15 Feb 2011, gooner8 wrote:

    It will take an inspired performance from tottenham to get a win at the san siro. When Milan bought ibrahimovic, robinho in the summer, i thought that they would come good alongside pato and ronaldinho, it was just a question of whether they would gel and not let their ego or lack of professionalism get in the way. Ronaldinho has moved on but irbravhimovic has carried milan almost single handedly this season helped by robinho's good run of form. If spurs are to win this tie then i think that they will have to play very defensively and not get a start like they did when they played inter previously at the san siro as i don think they wud b able to recover this time, they may be able to get sum success with lennon down the right, but they shud fight for a draw and then go back to london with something to fight for when bale should be back aswell as the other casualties.

    Complain about this comment

  • 47. At 09:41am on 15 Feb 2011, tshabalala wrote:

    Great blog - have been pleasantly suprised by Robinho's application arguably he is the reason why Milan were so keen to get rid of Ronaldinho. Ibrahimovic has been outstanding not sure what went on with Guardiola but he has played as if he is a man with something to prove.
    I still have my doubts about him being up there with Messi, Ronaldo and Kaka, but this season he has definitely been a leader rather than a an ego.

    Milan have got through this season with so many injuries to their veterans that it has enabled some younsters to come through such as Merkel who looks a good player. They are still fallible at the back, with Nesta in the team and fit Milan can beat anyone - take him out of the team and they just don't look the same at the back. I think Crouch will cause us problems and if fit it will be intersting to see how we cope with Van Der Vaart, milan have struggled with Sneijder in recent seasons who plays in a similar style to VDV.

    I think the most interesting part of your blog is with regard to Pato, he just has not kicked on this season and with Cassano coming in, is there any space for him at Milan? He is too good to play second fiddle to Ibrahimovic, Cassano and Robinho.
    What i found suprising is that his long term admirers Chelsea made no effort to acquire him in the transfer window. On current form Milan would have been lucky to get £25-£30m for him, which seems better value than Torres at £50m. I think they would have been happy to move him on as Allegri needs the cash to stregthen in other areas most noticebly in defence where Mila have lost out to Juve and Mila on any half decent Italian defender in recent transfer windows.

    Complain about this comment

  • 48. At 09:41am on 15 Feb 2011, johnmigh wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 49. At 10:23am on 15 Feb 2011, Fortress Lamex wrote:

    Spurs better win I just put £5 on them. Walked in to place the bet with the odds at 11/3 then just before the bet got place the the odds went to 4/1... at this point i had a twince of doubt but Spurs do have the pace and domestic form can have little if any impact on European performance. Look at Liverpool down the years.

    Complain about this comment

  • 50. At 10:25am on 15 Feb 2011, Fortress Lamex wrote:

    *placed
    **twinge

    Complain about this comment

  • 51. At 10:47am on 15 Feb 2011, Kapnag wrote:

    Every so often? Try "every week"

    Complain about this comment

  • 52. At 10:48am on 15 Feb 2011, Padmeister wrote:

    You really defeated your own point there. Yes, he's won league title after league title, but he never seems to manage anything outside of the league. He's great in the Serie A, but apparently that's his lot. #10 got it spot on.
    ___________________________________
    I'd be careful - most players would be lucky to win a single Champions League and it's not like he's always been miles away. Plus he can't be expected to win it alone (as good as he is he's no Messi/ Ronaldinmho in his pomp. Also, it's often the playmaker that is the best in the Champo's league winning team not the striker). It's the team that does it win or lose. He still get's goals in Europe so let's see what the situation is tomorrow.
    Age. Merkel, Abate, Zlat, Pato, Robinho, Silva. All players under 28. Seems young to me.

    Complain about this comment

  • 53. At 10:49am on 15 Feb 2011, ManUtdsince1987 wrote:

    I don't think age will be much of a factor. Look at Giggs and Scholes whose are still playing quality football, in fact Giggs is having some of his best years right now. I also don't think the AC midfield will bully Tottenham considering the EPL is probably the most physical league at the moment, I think they know about rough and tumble and will cope well. However Tottenham are missing their star player, and I think will be hoping to come away with a narrow defeat, something like 1-0 or 2-0 or hope to nick an away goal. If Tottenham can keep within two goals who knows what will happen. They took Inter apart at WHL and they will probably have Bale back by then as well. If they get an away goal then, providing it isn't in a trashing, they would probably be favourites. Don't forget playing at home in the second leg is often seen as a huge advantage.

    On Ibra, yes he has a great league record and yes he is a top quality striker but no he hasn't performed consistently in the CL. He has scored but not at the level of the likes of Raul, Inzaghi or RVN. But as Phil points out his is a different player these days and whilst he may not score he will always be a threat.

    And A Hoser (25), EPL players who did well in other leagues, are you forgetting Steve McManaman, David Beckham who played in a fairly average squad but was still consistently good, Owen who was never given a fair chance but his goals to game ratio speaks for itself, Forlan who failed in the EPL but is dominating La Liga, Flamini currently at AC should I go on? As for current players, Van Persie, Fabregas, Evra, Vidic, Nani, Anderson, Drogba, Torres, Luiz, Suarez, Meireles again the list goes on. Though I do agree with your point that the other post was harsh.

    Complain about this comment

  • 54. At 11:04am on 15 Feb 2011, bongoland365 wrote:

    I don't get how people dont enjoy watching zlatan play. he is on the purest footballers we've seen in years. In addition to the fact that he is so effective,his technique is incredible.

    Also over the past 4-5 years, can we really say that kaka, rooney etc have done more in club football? Kaka is always banded about but he had one great season in 07 but has done next to nothing since. somehow he is rated higher than ibra. people in italy who saw both for years would not even compare them. rooney? What has he really done in EUrope? He had one great year last year but has not exactly set the world alight in the seasons before.

    zlatan is judged on one-off games every year. if we did the same with rooney or drogba we'd bee in the same boat. rooney was nowhere in either CL final, semis against barca etc. drogba has done very little in CL knockout except get sent off.

    aside from messi and ronaldo (in terms of forwards), who has been as effective and technically brilliant to watch over the past few years? Zlatan has been brilliant 3 of his last four seasons.

    i cant think of anyone else who goes to a team and just changes their foruntes the way he did at inter and now milan. milan have not done anything in serie a for 7 years!

    zlatan has not scored more than a goal in any serie a game as well. almost all his goals have been decisive rather than inflating scorelines. enjoy him while you can and make more effort to watch him play Regularly .

    Complain about this comment

  • 55. At 11:07am on 15 Feb 2011, Weallfollowunited wrote:

    I'm looking forward to this game as a neutral, it has the makings of a great tie. Milan's strikeforce is capable of ripping anyone apart but their defence could still be the achilles heel with its age and lack of pace. Spurs will get chances over the 2 legs but so will Milan. It could be about who takes more of them but Spurs definately have enough to go through if they play well.

    Complain about this comment

  • 56. At 11:52am on 15 Feb 2011, Angelo Trofa wrote:

    Just shows how ignorant the devout EPL followers are, have a look at the list of world most expensive players in history...Zlatan sits in second, and Eto'o possibly the best striker in the world at this moment in time was included in the deal. He far from flopped at Barca, and has won wherever he goes. Indeed, he has yet to light up the Champions League, but if you look at football over the years its around the age hes at now 28/29 that alot of players have that 'unstoppable' year, look at whats he's doing this season and you will see that he is one of the most extraordinary players in the world, slotting into Milan with ease.
    What I find ridiculous is the the superiority the Sky Propaganda filled EPL fans seem to have, lets face it La Liga and Serie A have players of an equal if not higher calibre. Chelsea recently spent £50m for Torres, Im more than certain Zlatan would have made more of an impact in his first 2 appearances.
    I think people in this country should put down their copies of the sun, and tabloids and have a look at the two countries that boast at least three daily sports newspapers and genuinely know what they are talking about when it comes to football, because all to often people in this blog present the most pathetic comments.

    Complain about this comment

  • 57. At 11:52am on 15 Feb 2011, George Sofroniou wrote:

    These two players are like Marmite.. you'll either accept them for what they are and love them OR completely hate them; work ethic and general play.

    Personally I think it was a mistake for Barcelona to give the option of selling Ibrahimovic, and I think they are missing a player like him from their strikeforce.
    He offers them strength, skill, pace and he will also bring others into play which is helpful when they have players like Villa, Messi & Pedro. He also gives them a bit of height upfront which they clearly lack.

    42 Appearances
    22 Goals
    9 Assists

    Not bad for a striker that was supposedly "underperforming" at a club which still won the league.

    As for Robinho, I dont think he did terrible at City, I think he needed a bit more a "settling-in period" it cannot be easy coming to a country where you do not speak the language, & we saw his class in performances against Arsenal and when he helped them come back to beat Blackburn in a previous season.

    Complain about this comment

  • 58. At 11:53am on 15 Feb 2011, indraneelan wrote:

    "I made a prediction before the draw for the knockout phase was made that Tottenham wouldn't make it past this round, no matter who they face. I think their exuberant, attacking style, coupled with obvious defensive deficiencies, will be their undoing. I just don't think they'll have the experience, nous or tactical variety to see themselves over the finish line in a two-legged game."
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    That's a bit disingenuous kanchelskis_legend, as it stands you may well be correct but Milan were pretty much the best/worst (IYKWIM) team we could have drawn. There were plenty of teams we could have got where we'd have gone into the round as all but favourites to progress.

    Even as it is we've reason to feel optimistic. Both domestically and in the Champions League this season there have been signs that we can, for whatever reason, put big teams off their stride.

    Complain about this comment

  • 59. At 11:54am on 15 Feb 2011, Turambar_3300 wrote:

    I totally agree with bongoland365 here. Ibra has been awesome in Serie A and He wasn't even that bad at Barca! Serie A is the most defensive and tactical league in the world, and it takes a special forward to make a mark there.

    The problem with him joining Barca is that they already had a world class calibre of players, a great team unit, and play exceptional football. It was always going to be hard for him to really make his mark there. It was the same with Henry. The move to Milan came at the right time for him, because yet again, he is proving his doubters wrong with performances!

    Complain about this comment

  • 60. At 12:06pm on 15 Feb 2011, Willo77 wrote:

    Been waiting for a Greavsie Game for many years. (add to that Edgar Davids and Christian Ziege).

    Predictions: 3-2 to Milan in the away leg. Spurs to win the home leg 2-1 and go through on away goals.

    Complain about this comment

  • 61. At 12:08pm on 15 Feb 2011, Webb of Deceit - Not606 when 606 shuts wrote:

    They said we wouldn't make top 4
    They said we wouldn't get past the qualifier
    They said we wouldn't get past the group stages
    Now they are saying we won't get past the last 16

    Keep making those predictions West Ham and Arsenal fans!

    Complain about this comment

  • 62. At 12:35pm on 15 Feb 2011, Joe wrote:

    Italian teams have tended to struggle against English teams recently, mainly due to the sheer pace of the players and the intensity of their play.

    Yes their front 3 may be good on paper, but Ibrahimovic has always struggled against English teams, having only scored 2 goals in 11 appearances (both coming against Arsenal last season). He can't use his height and power as effectively against equally combative Premier League centre backs.

    We must play at Premier League pace, with Premier League power and with Premier League intensity. Don't be at all suprised if tonight turns into an AC Milan foul fest in an attempt to stifle our speed.

    People seem to constantly write Tottenham off but again and again we prove them wrong. We now sit 1 game away from top 3 in the Premier League and we have a fantastic opportunity to progress.

    Complain about this comment

  • 63. At 12:48pm on 15 Feb 2011, dave parker wrote:

    Firstly for those who are going on about Ambrosini and Gatusso's age, Ambrosini wont be playing due to injury and Gattusso is only 33, not exactly that old and it is not like he has ever relied on his pace. Plus just to put into context isn't William Gallas, the rock at the heart of the Spurs defence, also the same age??

    After Milan crushed Parma 4-0 over the weekend Alexander Merkel the 19 year old German sensation may get a run in the team after a solid performance. Also Clarence Seedorf, who keeps rolling back the years and scored against Parma, is in decent form. Mattiue Flamini is another alternative.

    I think it will be a close tie. The loss of Gareth Bale is big for Spurs, however in Van Der Vaart, Modric and Lennon they do have enough creative prowess to unlock the Milan defence. I think there could be plenty of goals over the two legs as Robinho & Imbrahimovic have worked fantastically together, and Pato is always going to test defence, especially one like Spurs's which can sometimes be error prone.

    Add to that the ariel threat for Spurs in Peter Crouch and I think it will be a very intruiging attacking matchup!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 64. At 12:53pm on 15 Feb 2011, bongoland365 wrote:

    @ Joe. english football is so obssessed with pace! good teams can negate pace. pace is only important if you have space to use it. it is no substitute for technique. inter had no pace last year and won. arsenal with all their pace never do anything of note in the champions league. all i here is pace and power! zlatan is not only about power. people seem to think he is just big and strong. on the ball he has better technique than even c.ronaldo.

    Complain about this comment

  • 65. At 12:55pm on 15 Feb 2011, The_arsenal_midget_society wrote:

    I can only assume the posters saying words to the effect of 'Ibrahimovic is overrated' have never actually watched leagues outside of Britain and get their knowledge from people who also don't watch much foreign football. He is a genuinely brilliant player and its sad that people are too narrow minded to see that.

    While we are at dispelling prejudices, although milan are Italian, that does not mean they are negative and will park the bus. Their manager is very attack minded.

    Complain about this comment

  • 66. At 1:00pm on 15 Feb 2011, Chaddyroar wrote:

    Seedorf, Ambrosini Gattuso. Yes they are all ancient, but they have done enough in their careers to warrant more respect than that shown by a couple of posters.

    It's old men and mercenaries, yes I agree. But, old men and mercenaries of real and proven class. Count the battle scars, count the international caps, count the medals.

    If you can manage the personalities of Cassano, Robinho and Ibrahimovic the potential is frightening.

    Spurs are a good side, pacy and committed. In VDV they have the bargain of the season and a real Rolls Royce player. Coupled with a new found self belief this means that it is not fanciful at all to suggest that Spurs have a chance of winning this tie.

    However, I think that Milan probably have too much experience and craft for them. Know-how plus talent. Some players who are course and distance winners. Some players who have a point to prove.

    I believe that Spurs best chance lies in the away leg, where Milan might just play that bit more open, but I expect Milan to win the tie.

    And for the record, I know Ronaldo was supremely talented and has just retired but when talking about former Milan forwards.....Van Basten for me. Not just the best Milan forward, but the best pure forward I have ever seen full stop.

    Complain about this comment

  • 67. At 1:06pm on 15 Feb 2011, Fortress Lamex wrote:

    @bongoland

    Pace makes Space!

    Complain about this comment

  • 68. At 1:07pm on 15 Feb 2011, bikku wrote:

    @53, i think he is talking about english players who have never proved anything outside epl, yes beckham, mcmanaman and in some point maybe owen did it, other than that who has ever proved anything outside epl? while numerous foreign players have come to epl and set it alight and made epl more interesting to watch...this game between tottenham and milan, i don't know i think we will find it all in the first leg, if it goes close until the second leg, i think tottenham got a chance but that's only a chance, not for sure if they can take it...

    Complain about this comment

  • 69. At 1:08pm on 15 Feb 2011, Drooper_ wrote:

    #64, I agree technique is important bongoland, but I disagree that pace can't be a substitute for technique. Gareth Bale's pace against Inter created space. And of course the Brazilian Ronaldo had technique, but it was his pace that was the killer. Good teams couldn't negate him at his peak, and it was largely due to his pace.

    Complain about this comment

  • 70. At 1:13pm on 15 Feb 2011, RVP1968 wrote:

    "They said we wouldn't make top 4
    They said we wouldn't get past the qualifier
    They said we wouldn't get past the group stages
    Now they are saying we won't get past the last 16

    Keep making those predictions West Ham and Arsenal fans!"
    .....................................................................
    Hmmm...ok...
    Spurs won't miss Harry Redknapp when he tootles off down to Soho Square...


    Complain about this comment

  • 71. At 1:25pm on 15 Feb 2011, waldovski wrote:

    When was the last time you watched a full Serie A game Phil?

    Complain about this comment

  • 72. At 1:26pm on 15 Feb 2011, FortressFratton wrote:

    The text on this page is all very small because whoever wrote it has not correctly closed the <small> tags around the caption on the first photo - hence why it is credited to "AFPsmall>"

    Therefore, the rest of the text believes it is still part of the <small> markup.

    Just thought I'd let you know. :)

    Complain about this comment

  • 73. At 1:30pm on 15 Feb 2011, Pirlo-vision wrote:

    Someone made a valid point regarding Thierry Henry. Ibra's first season statistics at Barca - namely La Liga and the CL - are equal to if not better than the Frenchman's during his first year in Spain. Just a thought.

    re Tonights match

    I couldn't care less if Spurs have players missing. If that presents us with a chance to get 2, maybe 3 goals, I'd gladly take that. It's a shame that Spurs have players missing but I hope we don't let this opportunity pass us by - WHL is a tough place to go.

    Complain about this comment

  • 74. At 1:38pm on 15 Feb 2011, Red Army wrote:

    Doing in in Italy doesn't mean a thing anyomre. Second rate league i'm afraid. Players like Robinho and Ibrahimovic are just flat track bullies. As soon as they come up against some decent opposition this season you'll see what they're made of

    Complain about this comment

  • 75. At 1:40pm on 15 Feb 2011, Sunday League Spartan wrote:

    If Spurs' plan is to attack Milan's aging defence with pace then Assou-Ekotto should be pushed forward onto the left wing as he's pretty quick. He's not a great defender and would probably be more suited to a role further up the pitch a la Gareth Bale or Glen Johnson. Gallas or Corluka would be able to cover in at left-back.

    I haven't kept a close eye on Spurs this season so don't know if Harry is already doing this...

    Complain about this comment

  • 76. At 1:42pm on 15 Feb 2011, ManUtdsince1987 wrote:

    @68 got it. It is true that the export of EPL players is few and far between, I would think this is mostly because of the view in this country that it is the best league in the world and therefore why go abroad. But it would be interesting to see if the big guns of the EPL would do well in Serie A and La Liga. Looking at past form its a toss up, ie Lineker and Hughes, both very good EPL players but contrasting fortunes at Barcalona.

    Complain about this comment

  • 77. At 1:55pm on 15 Feb 2011, Morphius Bane wrote:

    I'm a Man City fan, I've no special love for Spurs, but I'd like to wish them all the best in the game later on. The fact they are playing this sort of fixture is a credit to how far they have come and the type of football they play. Very positive, some great players.

    Complain about this comment

  • 78. At 1:59pm on 15 Feb 2011, Marantz wrote:

    Fair play, Phil, for holding your hands up and saying "I called that wrong." You're the first BBC sports blogger I look for - you're very informative and interesting on European football but I think it's a very English thing to be cynical about Ibrahimovich.

    Usually I find most fans in England judge Ibra on a few bad CL performances on ITV. However, for me I think he is one of the most outrageously gifted players in a generation and on pure talent alone, easily in the top 5 players in the world.

    I didn't think for a moment he would struggle at Milan - based on his previous domination of Serie A whilst at Inter. And, despite what the press say (largely misguided because of the huge Eto-transfer-swap-deal) Ibra did fine at Barca. Ok, as it turned out maybe he wasn't what Guardiola was looking for but individually he was still very good at Barca.

    On Milan - Tottenham, I expect Milan to take it a canter over two legs. It saddens me to say that because Spurs have been a revelation in the CL this year - a breath of fresh air. And I dearly hope they'll pip Chelsea or Man City to a CL spot this season. But without Bale I think Milan's greater European pedigree will win through.

    And my final word...on Cassano. So pleased to see this guy back at a top, top club. Italy have endured two miserable European Championships in 2004 and 2008 but Cassano still shone. Sadly for whatever reason, Lippi wouldn't pick. But Cassano at Milan and hopefully at more summer tournaments doesn't just benefit his club side and nation - it benefits football as a whole.

    Complain about this comment

  • 79. At 2:07pm on 15 Feb 2011, indraneelan wrote:

    72. At 1:26pm on 15 Feb 2011, FortressFratton wrote:
    The text on this page is all very small because...
    --------------------------------------------------------

    Great contribution Captain Obvious...

    75. At 1:40pm on 15 Feb 2011, Sunday League Spartan wrote:
    If Spurs' plan is to attack Milan's aging defence with pace then Assou-Ekotto should be pushed forward onto the left wing as he's pretty quick. He's not a great defender and would probably be more suited to a role further up the pitch a la Gareth Bale or Glen Johnson. Gallas or Corluka would be able to cover in at left-back.

    I haven't kept a close eye on Spurs this season so don't know if Harry is already doing this...
    -------------------------------------------------------------

    He's not, and probably won't but without Bale it'll probably be either Modric or Kracjar on the left and they'll both look to cut inside so Ekotto should have plenty of space.

    I agree Ekotto looks like he wants to try the Bale transformation, infact at least half of his weakness in defence is on the ball due to the fact he tries to play like an attacker. You can't afford to try going past people from a defensive position because if they nick it then you could give away a goal quite easily. Makes him a bit of a liability.

    Parts of his play (particularly the balls over the top down the left wing for Bale to run onto) make it seem like he's got a good enough left foot to put in some decent deliveries but we don't really have anyone to cover left back. Corluka's a good defender except for his massive lack of pace, so putting him on the wrong side could see him twisted inside out all match. And we need Gallas in the centre, he's got far and away the most experience of big European nights.

    It looks like lennon and defoe will be the only players to offer pace in attack, though if Jenas plays that adds pace if not skill on the ball.

    Complain about this comment

  • 80. At 2:16pm on 15 Feb 2011, jaroda wrote:

    14. At 11:44pm on 14 Feb 2011, A Hoser wrote:
    10. At 11:15pm on 14 Feb 2011, 1980s_Midfield_General wrote:

    I'm happy for Spurs to face Ibrahimovic because he's done nothing outside of serie a in his whole career. Expect the usual Champions League choke job from Ibra.

    ---------

    He's only won 7 straight league championships with 4 different teams. Name me one other player that has done that?

    ----------

    That may be true but it still doens't change the fact that every time I have seen Ibrahimovic play in the Champions League he has been useless and nothing more than a hot bag full of hype wind.

    Complain about this comment

  • 81. At 2:18pm on 15 Feb 2011, The_arsenal_midget_society wrote:

    74

    A second rate league where the champions of europe just came from? When was the last time you watched a serie a match rather than assuming that your narrow minded, misinformed views were correct?

    Complain about this comment

  • 82. At 2:18pm on 15 Feb 2011, diggsgiggs wrote:

    First, I agree with #37- Cassano- Spurs should consider themselves lucky he's cup tied, he's as brilliant a footballer as he is a strange person off the pitch.

    Second re #47- ACM have the best defensive record in Serie A. Their defense has been excellent this year even when Nesta was out and the outstanding Silva was out injured. Both are now back. Can't see defense players being a problem for them.

    However, I agree if ACM can be beat anywhere its midfield, especially with Prince Boateng out injured and Ambrosini and Pirlo out as well. Big game for the likes of Luka Modric- can he step forward for the game- when his passing game is on he's one of the best, but he's inconsistent- should be a corker! I'd have ACM at the San Siro and Spurs at the Lane.

    Complain about this comment

  • 83. At 2:40pm on 15 Feb 2011, OnlyLeeds wrote:

    I'm beginning to get rather sick of reverse stereotyping about the English and their views of other leagues. I consistently watch all of the top 3 leagues (although, can you put Serie A in the top 3 anymore?!) and thats what I base my opinions off. I do not read the Sun and its frankly insulting to claim Sky can affect your opinion on football, especially when my team don't even play in the league they feature.

    The football and atmosphere displayed regularly in Serie A and La Liga is pretty flat, you get the same in the EPL sometimes but this idea that us English are missing out on this fantastic football in other leagues is insane. Barca are a treat to watch, but only against better teams as they have a tendency to just go through the motions and yet still steam roll the exceedingly negative La Liga teams, its when they have to step it up against teams like Real and in the CL later stages is when they become something special. No need to reference the recent draw with the counter attacking Gijon. Though the recent Real Madrid match when they were down to 10 men was a great match. Inter- poor, but probably crippled by Benitez and AC seem like a team who rely on the individual talent to win a match rather than develop a scintillating team, Man Utd talent wise are weaker than recent years but they more than make up for that with an exceptional team ethic.

    I can't say I'm a fool for watching the PL, its entertaining and only getting better though maybe the very top end has dropped off slightly. The lower position teams have realised they may as well play some football and see what results they can get, and its working, some great results have occurred thanks to this.

    Also all this talk of English teams spending too much and ruining football? You may have some point but then you look at Real Madrids spending, the fee for Ronaldo? That brought football to its knees. Any subsequent transfers value was completely skewed.

    Zlatan? Tell me I'm missing something please, hes a good player, but not anywhere near Messi, Villa, Ronaldo, Torres (when on form), Drogba (previous seasons), even Rooney in his finer days... He mopes and tries the exceptional far too often but scores the odd highlight reel goal. Far too costly for what he brings to the team.

    Complain about this comment

  • 84. At 2:41pm on 15 Feb 2011, nicostallionjuve wrote:

    @ number 10 you must be joking!!

    Players
    GOALKEEPERS
    Marco Amelia 28
    Flavio Roma 35
    Christian Abbiati 33
    DEFENDERS
    Alessandro Nesta 35
    Sokratis Papastathopoulos
    Massimo Oddo 34
    Marek Jankulovski 32
    Gianluca Zambrotta 33
    Daniele Bonera 29
    Thiago Silva 26
    Didac 21
    Nicola Legrottaglie 33
    Mario Yepes 35
    Luca Antonini 27
    MIDFIELDERS
    Alexander Merkel 19
    Urby Emanuelson 25
    Mark Van Bommel 33
    Gennaro Ivan Gattuso 33
    Clarence Seedorf 34
    Rodney Strasser 20
    Mathieu Flamini 28
    Ignazio Abate 25
    Andrea Pirlo 31
    Massimo Ambrosini 32
    Kevin Prince Boateng 23
    FORWARDS
    Pato 21
    Filippo Inzaghi 37
    Zlatan Ibrahimovic 29
    Robinho 27
    Antonio Cassano 28

    these are near enough correct ages for the team doesnt look too bad to me. AC Milan have won more European and Continental titles that any other team, they have won just about everything. That my friend is pedigree and a small club from london will not prevail

    Complain about this comment

  • 85. At 2:53pm on 15 Feb 2011, PetShopBoys_Forever wrote:

    If Spurs can keep it tight and maybe get away witha defeat by only 1 goal or a draw they will have an excellent chance at WHL

    Complain about this comment

  • 86. At 3:04pm on 15 Feb 2011, PetShopBoys_Forever wrote:

    #84 - there is a good chance that will prevail. You may have a good team but in cup football anything is possible and if teh Tottenham players defend well and stifle the supply lines they have a good chance especially given the way Italian fans turn on their own teams whe they aren't playing well.

    My prediction 1-1

    Complain about this comment

  • 87. At 3:14pm on 15 Feb 2011, Drooper_ wrote:

    83. At 2:40pm on 15 Feb 2011, OnlyLeeds wrote:
    I'm beginning to get rather sick of reverse stereotyping about the English and their views of other leagues. I consistently watch all of the top 3 leagues (although, can you put Serie A in the top 3 anymore?!) and thats what I base my opinions off. I do not read the Sun and its frankly insulting to claim Sky can affect your opinion on football, especially when my team don't even play in the league they feature.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well said OnlyLeeds. I don't fall into those categories either, but I'd better watch what I'm saying as we're not allowed to have an opinion on our own national broadcaster's website, as we don't have 3 national daily sports newspapers.

    PS When I was back home last, I had the privilege of seeing Cheltenham do the double over Leeds. That was while Shane Higgs was still with us.

    Complain about this comment

  • 88. At 4:09pm on 15 Feb 2011, mcfwinn wrote:

    Doing in in Italy doesn't mean a thing anyomre. Second rate league i'm afraid. Players like Robinho and Ibrahimovic are just flat track bullies. As soon as they come up against some decent opposition this season you'll see what they're made of

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The term "flat track bully" is a cricketing term. Dont say things without knowing the actual meaning.

    You ignorant little man.

    Complain about this comment

  • 89. At 4:36pm on 15 Feb 2011, indraneelan wrote:

    88. At 4:09pm on 15 Feb 2011, mcfwinn wrote:

    The term "flat track bully" is a cricketing term. Dont say things without knowing the actual meaning.

    You ignorant little man.

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    So was "hat-trick", what's your point? It's not exactly unusual to use "flat track bully" in football.

    Complain about this comment

  • 90. At 4:43pm on 15 Feb 2011, OnlyLeeds wrote:

    Well said OnlyLeeds. I don't fall into those categories either, but I'd better watch what I'm saying as we're not allowed to have an opinion on our own national broadcaster's website, as we don't have 3 national daily sports newspapers.

    PS When I was back home last, I had the privilege of seeing Cheltenham do the double over Leeds. That was while Shane Higgs was still with us.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Unfortunately you see it a lot in this country, a real sort of self hate, just makes the accepted stereotyping of us all the easier! If anything the media overplays how screwed we our in this country, rather than overhyping anything we do.

    I'd like to say I miss those days, but much to my surprise we're coping quite well in the Championship!
    Higgs could be on his way back to you if he doesn't retire (if you need him!), quality goalkeeper but Kasper isn't going to be displaced and we've brought in a Man City keeper. Real shame, watching some of Higgs saves reminds you of the real quality he has, and I mean no disrespect to Cheltenham when I say he should have been playing his career in the lower ranks of the Premier League!

    Complain about this comment

  • 91. At 4:50pm on 15 Feb 2011, Phil Minshull wrote:

    Tsahbalala: “I think the most interesting part of your blog is with regard to Pato, he just has not kicked on this season and with Cassano coming in, is there any space for him at Milan?” A good point. To be honest, at the start of the season I thought he was going to carry on where he left off last year, which was why I doubted the wisdom or signing Ibrahimovic and Robinho. Perhaps his well-documented personal problems – just Google for Pato + partying – have been a distraction. Many papers expect a three man front line tonight with him starting alongside Ibrahimovic and Robinho but I think he may well be on the bench with Seedorf deputed to work behind the aforementioned pair. Regarding whether there is any space for him now that Cassano has arrived, I think that very much depends on what Cassano gets up to in the next few months.

    ManUtdsince1987: “If Tottenham can keep within two goals who knows what will happen.” A one goal deficit is definitely reversible at White Hart Lane but I would have my doubts that Spurs could start the second leg two goals down and still make it to the quarter-finals, even supposing Bale is fit by then.

    Willo77: “Predictions: 3-2 to Milan in the away leg. Spurs to win the home leg 2-1 and go through on away goals.” OK, I want to play this game. I’ll put my neck out, my prediction is 3-1 to Milan in the first leg, 2-1 to Spurs in the second. Milan to go through.

    Chaddyroar: “Seedorf, Ambrosini Gattuso.Yes they are all ancient, but they have done enough in their careers to warrant more respect…” From what I have seen this season, Seedorf and Gattuso are playing almost as well as at their peak a decade ago, their vision and experience making up for having lost just a little of their speed. I’m more worried about Massimo Oddo, who you don’t mention. He may well be the weakest link in Milan back four and is certainly a lot slower than his halcyon days at Lazio.

    OK, that’s it. Enjoy the game. Hopefully, we all will, one way or another.

    Complain about this comment

  • 92. At 5:08pm on 15 Feb 2011, beautifulbarrettboy wrote:

    I havent seen enough of AC this season to make an informed opinion but if i can make a comment on the people who say they watch other european football. This is all about opinions and maybe or maybe not backing them up. I belive that if you like the game to be more about running and less about thought,technique and tactics you prefer english football. I like watching the bigger epl clubs as they tend to play with intensity and have technique. Its just what i prefer. The epl has caught up but when rating leagues as best or 2nd best i belive that its not as easy its just what you prefer. I prefer continental generally but that doesnt make it better. When i first was lucky enough to follow italian football on channel 4 in the early 90`s it was undoubtedly far superior to the EPL. I`d say only from about 2005-06 has english football started catching up in terms of top players and quality. La liga which i get to watch more of due to it being shown on sky probably has more of the most skilled players(note the Balon d`or nominees) although Real and Barca due to the richness of their clubs seem to be pulling away on their own. I look forward to tonights game and seeing some great football! Well apologized Phil!

    Complain about this comment

  • 93. At 5:56pm on 15 Feb 2011, RedWhiteandermblue wrote:

    Tottenham won its last two games on goals by Krancjar, who's been shining in Bale's absence. It's interesting as all three stars have been mostly missing lately that the team has won three in a row. It may be the common event that other players benefit when given bigger parts to play. In any case, writing off Tottenham's chances due to Bale being out, and Modric and Van Der Vaart being subpar at least, is a mistake. The rest of the team is very solid. What I'm really wondering is if Tottenham will continue to be so dedicated to attacking, when it looks like playing with a bit more caution in this case (away, against top strikers) would be wise.

    Complain about this comment

  • 94. At 6:00pm on 15 Feb 2011, A wet windy night in Stoke wrote:

    I surely would not like the job of being an English footbll pundit. They have the unenviable task of talking up Rooney and talking down Ibrahimovic at the same time, and with some success, judging from some of the the postings here and on other forums..

    unenviable = awkward, hard to deal with; especially causing pain or embarrassment;

    Complain about this comment

  • 95. At 6:18pm on 15 Feb 2011, Tab wrote:

    I dont think Ibra will be successful as he only has 2 to 3 years at the top of his game. His lack of pace has never dettered him but he is not up with messi and ronaldo

    Complain about this comment

  • 96. At 6:56pm on 15 Feb 2011, GigiBuffon1 wrote:

    12. At 11:42pm on 14 Feb 2011, St3v13G wrote:
    "#8...
    "It't not his fault that a lot of the immoral behaviour in football occurs in England. It's also not his fault that the xenophobic English media twists his words"

    The suggestion that most of football's 'immoral behaviour' comes from England is naive and stinks of the band wagon.

    Consider the problems with racism in Spain and Italy - with Balotelli coming under attack as recently as May 2009 from Juventus fans, and Dani Alves of Barcelona recently reporting that 'racism in spanish football will never go away' - infact the manager of the Spanish national side was fined in 2005 for racist remarks made about Thierry Henry.

    And what about the Italian match fixing scandal of 2006?

    Also, don't forget about the 11 Man Utd fans who ended up in hospital in 2007 following a clash with Roma?

    There's a lot more that's 'morally wrong' with football than a couple of billionaire owners and disputes on financial 'fair play'.

    Take the blinkers off.

    P.S "xenophobic English media" is interesting conjecture, but it's both slanderous and lacking in specificity."

    First things first, I am English. Platini gets unfair treatment from the media here because he dares to criticise the ridiculous overspending of English clubs, and the way dodgy owners are happily welcomed into the game. He also opposes to English clubs stealing young players from abroad.

    I phrased by original post wrong, I'm sorry for that. By immoral I was referring to cases as I've described above, which are bad for football. The other cases you mentioned are bad, but wider society issues than specifically football.

    One final point on your post, there was no match fixing in Calciopoli, even though that was the accusation. 5 years on and they've not even come near to proving it.

    A shame the BBC can't produce an article telling people the truth on Calciopoli, because at the moment their coverage of any story relating to this scandal over the past 5 years looks shamefully one-sided.

    Complain about this comment

  • 97. At 7:21pm on 15 Feb 2011, 1980s_Midfield_General wrote:

    @ A Hoser

    "He's only won 7 straight league championships with 4 different teams. Name me one other player that has done that?"

    I repeat, Ibrahimovic has done nothing outside of serie a in his whole career. Expect the usual Champions League choke job from Ibra.

    Complain about this comment

  • 98. At 7:21pm on 15 Feb 2011, Drooper_ wrote:

    90. At 4:43pm on 15 Feb 2011, OnlyLeeds wrote:

    Higgs could be on his way back to you if he doesn't retire (if you need him!), quality goalkeeper but Kasper isn't going to be displaced and we've brought in a Man City keeper. Real shame, watching some of Higgs saves reminds you of the real quality he has, and I mean no disrespect to Cheltenham when I say he should have been playing his career in the lower ranks of the Premier League!

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Believe it or not, he was understudy to Steve Book (Tony Book's nephew) for season after season in our non-league and early League days. And I can't remember Steve Book missing many games, if any. I thought SH was probably our best ever regular goalie. A mate reckoned he was too quiet. Maybe that's why he didn't get noticed.

    Complain about this comment

  • 99. At 7:42pm on 15 Feb 2011, DrCajetanCoelho wrote:


    Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho are skillful footballers. Changing clubs too often may have affected their productivity to some extent. In the company of Clarence Seedorf and Gennaro Gatuso the two strikers are beginning to realise their true potential.



    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Complain about this comment

  • 100. At 10:13pm on 15 Feb 2011, Doubting Thomas wrote:

    "Having seen a few of their recent games, I also have a feeling that Champions League opponents Tottenham will find out just how influencial the pair have become at the San Siro when the two teams meet on Tuesday."
    ========================================================

    Oh dear Phil, Blankety Blank Cheque Book and Pen for you I am afraid - Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho together with the rest of AC Milan were absolutely shockingly bad against Tottenham.

    Complain about this comment

  • 101. At 10:35pm on 15 Feb 2011, Atthelane wrote:

    Its so nice reading comments after the event. So many doubters. The results don't lie though.

    AC Milan 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1

    End of.

    Complain about this comment

  • 102. At 10:53pm on 15 Feb 2011, BLRBrazil wrote:

    Well, well, what a surprise! Seems the rain washed away ACM's talent. Shame it didn't cool their tempers too. I won't stoke the fire by commenting further on that. Spurs won without being brilliant, but fully deserved it for the courage of their attacking posture and competence first by taking the game to their adversaries and then resisting under pressure. Of course it's not over yet. A momentary distraction early in the game at WHL and it's even again, but Spurs will, barring injuries, have an even stronger side out in early March. Tributes to Woody on a dignified comeback and to Modric for playing just 2 weeks after his appendix operation - probably still got the stitches in!

    Complain about this comment

  • 103. At 11:11pm on 15 Feb 2011, Sensible Discourse wrote:

    WestHamSupporter: "Tottenham won't offer a sustained challenge on anything and they'll be comfortably overcome by AC Milan who boast within their ranks a rich wealth of attacking talents, experience and clever operators in European combat."

    Nice prediction, here's my prediction for you: one of the emptiest stadiums in the championship...

    Complain about this comment

  • 104. At 11:29pm on 15 Feb 2011, m00 wrote:

    oh dear, looks like the Milan supporters were a bit wrong in their predictions. Sandro and Palacios were immense tonight.

    Complain about this comment

  • 105. At 11:40pm on 15 Feb 2011, Leftist wrote:

    Eat sh•t Phil and get a new job, you aint needed no mo'

    Complain about this comment

  • 106. At 11:52pm on 15 Feb 2011, Duke of Ellijay wrote:

    Oh dear, oh dear. It is truly amazing how wrong 95 per cent of you were. I do hope Uncle Phil holds his hands up tomorrow.

    Complain about this comment

  • 107. At 01:15am on 16 Feb 2011, trimmer wrote:

    Well West Ham Supporter - maybe your skills in the judgement of football prowess echos your supported team's skills on the field - lacking. Spurs went to the San Siro and dominated for long periods. Obviously didn't have it all their own way - but came away convincing and well deserved winners! So as for your predictions - back to the drawing board mate!

    Complain about this comment

  • 108. At 05:18am on 16 Feb 2011, Mike- Buffalo NY wrote:

    Makes 44 years of following Spurs from across the pond that much more enjoyable. I had a Beer and nice HAM sandwich during the match.

    Complain about this comment

  • 109. At 05:55am on 16 Feb 2011, Cannons of Rhetoric wrote:

    Lol, Good on you Spurs! Job well done...I guess you were right about Zlatan after all :(

    "Ibrahimovic and Robinho prove me wrong 2" is probably being written as we speak...

    Complain about this comment

  • 110. At 06:57am on 16 Feb 2011, playunextyear wrote:

    Yeah, right Phil. So much bigging up of Milan you even frightened a few Spurs fans there. Fact is, with Nesta, Gattuso and Seedorf in a starting side, Milan remain desperately short of pace down the spine of the team. If Ambrosini comes back for the 2nd leg will he fare any better against Palacios?

    In the next game Harry needs to set a balance, neither all-out attack nor just relying on Milan to press and counter-attack them. Then enough chances will come Spurs way.

    I wonder if Platini will sanction a charge and a ban for Gattuso in the meantime, he did after all go for Joe Jordan twice during the evening. I somehow doubt that'll happen though.

    Complain about this comment

  • 111. At 09:21am on 16 Feb 2011, the_Sluiceterer wrote:

    Spurs had passion, class and we deserved our win. AC were lazy. They expected to win but forgot to put in any effort. Gattuso, as he was at rangers, is an ignorant thug. I cannot believe he stayed on the pitch. His violent antics towards Joe Jordan deserve police intervention & prosecution.

    Complain about this comment

  • 112. At 09:32am on 16 Feb 2011, rufus_smalls wrote:

    AC Milan reminded me of Chelsea recently albeit even on paper Chelsea are stronger. Very poor performance, no pace, intensity, work ethic, no movement, slow build up - until Pato came on.
    It seems Italian coaches are stuck in the eighties and nineties when admittedly Italian clubs were strong. Dynamically the game has progressed and Spurs looked far sharper and hungrier and although a bit obvious using Crouch all the time, it worked. Many teams absorb pressure and then use the quick break when the opportunity arrives but that worked too. Spurs will probably come unstuck against an attacking, fluent and pacy team but there really was only one team on the pitch. Having said all that, had Yepes scored one of the headers it would undoubtedly have finished 1-0 to Milan, even though they wouldn't really have deserved it.
    I know Gattuso was out of order but when he knew he was getting booked.........priceless

    Complain about this comment

  • 113. At 9:00pm on 27 Feb 2011, Pratish wrote:

    Am a huge Robinho fan so thanks for the re-evaluation Phil!

    I agree rufus - Pato really made the difference to an otherwise mediocre performance.. am not a huge fan of the Italian coaches either. On the whole, bar bad luck, I think Spurs will do ok going forward.

    And the Gatusso booking... geez!

    ~ Mistry ~

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.