The Milan Derby
There may have been surprise at the timing of Chelsea's dismissal of Phil Scolari but it has enabled the club to add a bit more managerial experience to the last 16 of the Champions League.
Guus Hiddink has taken charge at Chelsea on a temporary basis until the end of the season and alongside an illustrious international management career, Hiddink knows what it takes to win the big cup in Europe.
In 1988, Hiddink guided PSV Eindhoven to the final where they, much like their performance throughout the tournament, focused on grinding their opponents down and the game finished 0-0. PSV triumphed 6-5 in the penalty shoot-out helping to build the Dutchman's impressive managerial CV.
Hiddink Triumphs Over 2 Decades
This takes the number of managers still left in the tournament who have won it to 4. Hiddink joins Ferguson, Benitez and Mourinho as the bosses who had led their team to glory in Europe's premier tournament. Of course, Hiddink's glory was over two decades ago and long before the Champions League was created but no doubt the hope of possibly repeating his triumph has led Roman Abramovich to bring him on board. That and the fact that Abramovich has allegedly been paying Hiddink's wages in his role as the boss of the Russian national team but given the financial losses that Mr Abramovich has suffered of late, who are we to judge what he spends his money on?
Hiddink will face off against Juventus, managed by former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri. Ranieri, although criticised for squad rotation, was actually well liked in Britain by many football fans, probably because although he got Chelsea playing good football, they never won a serious honour or challenged for the league under him. Neutrals love good football but not necessarily winners or confident people so Ranieri fitted the bill perfectly, unlike Mourinho, who not only won a lot of trophies but knew how good a manager he was as well.
Both Sides Off Domestic Pace
Both managers may deny it but Chelsea and Juventus do not appear to be genuine title contenders in their own domestic campaigns this season so the Champions League may offer the best chance of genuine silverware at the end of the season but on current form, neither team looks equipped to have the necessary edge to triumph in Rome.
In recent years, Hiddink has sent teams out with a cautious approach to football but this has probably been influenced by the quality of player at his disposal in South Korea, Australia and Russia. With an abundance of top quality players in the Chelsea ranks, if their attitude is right, Hiddink may be able to add some creative flourishes to his game.
My Journey to Professional Football-Betting
Observations and thoughts of a pre-professional football bettor with occassional comments by J Armstrong.
by Daniel Andersson
to read entire column and to access comments by J Armstrong.
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