Real Madrid faces Chelsea in the first leg of the European Supercup
August 28th 1998- 2:30 pm US Eastern Time, 8:30 pm in Monaco
By: Joaquin Bueno
PREDICTION- Real Madrid to win the Super Cup in Monaco
NEW FORMAT- This year the Super Cup is being played as a single match on neutral ground
POSSIBLE STARTERS- Real Madrid- Ilgner- Hierro, Roberto Carlos, Panucci, Sanchis- Karambeu, Savio, Raul, Seedorf- Morientes, Mijatovic- Bench- Jarni, Edgar, Ivan Campo, Suker, Jaime, Guti. Chelsea- De Goey- Babayaro, Ferrer, Leboeuf, Desailly- Poyet, Di Matteo, Le Saux, Duberry- Zola, Casiraghi- Bench- Flo, Laudrup, Hitchcock, Lambourde, Newton, Petrescu.
POSSIBLE KEY MATCHUPS- Mijatovic vs. Desailly, LeBoef vs. Morientes, Poyet vs. Redondo, Savio vs. Ferrer, Hierro vs. Laudrup, Roberto Carlos vs. Di Matteo, Panucci s. Le Saux
ANALYSIS- Real Madrid is coming off an outstanding preseason, while Chelsea started off shaky and ended up stable. In the Premier League, Chelsea has been somewhat of a dissapoinment- winless in 2 games with a tie and a loss. The early 4-0 defeat of Chelsea by Atletico Madrid showed where they are vulnerable to attack- Real will surely watch that match a few times. Real's attack is immense, and the Chelsea defence will certainly be kept very busy. The man to watch may be Savio, who has lately been in outstanding form. Also in great form is Fernando Morientes, freshly recovered from a very minor injury. Perhaps most dangerous could be the Seedorf- Raul combination, who together make for diabolically swift attacks. Mijatovic will as always be dangerous. If Desailly regains his World Cup form, then Chelsea may win half the battle, but one man alone will not be enough. Ferrer's experience from Spain will be crucial, especially down the wing occupied by the blazingly fast Savio and Roberto Carlos.
There will be a great battle in the midfield, that I predict Madrid will win. Fernando Redondo is the playmaker and organizer for Real, and he should be fully recovered from a minor summer injury. His match is Poyet, the Uruguayan with a similar role. Madrid has Karambeu to assist in the midfield dirty work, as he may end up in a central defensive midfield role with Seedorf on the wing. On the Chelsea left midfield, Le Saux may do battle with Panucci. the Italian's man marking will have to be very tight to keep crosses away from Zola and Casiraghi
The defense of Madrid is tough and solid as a rock, headed by the Iron Man Fernando Hierro. He, Panucci, and Roberto Carlos have the advantage of speed over the Chelsea forwards Zola and Casiraghi. Chelsea may opt to use Flo as a variation on the attack. The key for Chelsea may well be opportunism, as the Madrid defense gives little space at all. Parts where Chelsea may strike are the left wing- often there is space left by Robert Carlos attacks. A counter attack started by Babayaro or Di Matteo could be deadly. Also, Chelsea could try and take advantage of Sanchis's lack of speed. Flo and Casiraghi could damage with quick attacks in his area. With crosses from Panucci's side, Flo is also a good target, as he looks to be the tallest player on either squad. Flo could be the trump card for Chelsea- Real has wild cards in Robert Jarni and Davor Suker, the Croatian Superstars.
Overall, expect an exciting match dominated by Real Madrid. Chelsea has great induvidual players, but it does not yet seem like they are a great functioning team yet. Expect Real to dominate in the midfield and defense- Hierro and Redondo will become the leaders. Of course, these predictions are only words on paper (or on the Internet), we will have to wait and see what the outcome will be- anything could happen.
Spanish League page
Roberto Carlos, Savio, Seedorf
Casraghi jumps on Poyet
Babayaro's odd celebration