Chelsea - Inter Special: Europe Or Bust For Jose Mourinho While Blues Must Deliver Abramovich's Holy Grail previews the big game and analyses the fall-out elimination would have on both sides and their managers...
First Leg Result: Inter 2-1 Chelsea

Perhaps Alanis Morissette would find it ironic that Inter are primed with the
task of defending Calcio honour tonight. After all, the Nerazzurri have few
Italian players and even fewer fans outside of the San Siro, but they are the
peninsula's only remaining hope in Europe's elite competition. An editorial in a
leading Italian newspaper last week suggested 'Like never before, Inter means Italy.'

And isn't it ironic...don't you think.

Jose Mourinho will certainly relish his return to Stamford Bridge, where he
enjoyed a trophy filled three-year stint. His passion for the English game
remains intact, with the bookies speculating on an imminent return to the Premier League or perhaps even Real Madrid. Taking Inter beyond the last 16 will certainly improve his stock further as the Serie A champions chase a domestic and European double. Elimination and he'll likely be handed his P45.  

Inter may be in contention for a double, but Carlo Ancelotti's outfit are hunting
a treble. The Blues thumped West Ham United over the weekend to maintain the heat on Manchester United, while they are already through to the F.A. Cup semi-finals. Success in Europe is what matters most and it remains the holy grail for Roman Abramovich, who bought the club in 2003 with the express desire of winning the one trophy that eluded Mourinho during his tenure.

Inter are stuttering in Serie A and go into tonight's match on the back of a 3-1
humbling against lowly Catania. To put that into perspective, only Barcelona had beaten the Serie A champions by two goals this season while Inter have won only once in their last six league matches.

After the first leg defeat in the San Siro the Blues surrendered their unbeaten
league home record with a 4-2 loss against Manchester City. Consecutive home wins against Stoke in the F.A. Cup and West Ham in the Premier League followed for a team that took maximum points at the Bridge in the group stage.

Stat Attack
Students of stats weren't too surprised to see Real Madrid being dumped out last week by Lyon. Analyse the last 16 form of the past five years in the Champions League and you'll discover the team that wins the first leg has a whopping 84% chance of winning the tie outright. Only four sides out of 25 have overturned a defeat in the first leg to progress to the quarter-finals, ironically including Chelsea themselves against Barcelona in 2005.

What Elimination Would Mean For Both Sides
Sulmaan Ahmad, UK Chief Editor
Inter stand to lose more face if eliminated, purely because Mourinho will have
been bested by his old club, by a previous foe in Ancelotti whom he outfought
just last season, and also once again failed to do any better than his
predecessor, Roberto Mancini, in the Champions League. While a loss for Chelsea would upset the recent 'England over Italy' status quo, Chelsea aren't yet a club with expectations as high and tempers as short as they are at Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu, for example. Ancelotti would be forgiven for losing if he brought home the league. Jose, not so much.

Carlo Garganese, International's Italy Expert
If Inter were to be eliminated, the knives will be out for Mourinho. Winning Serie A is not regarded as much of an achievement following Calciopoli so even if they lift the Scudetto again it will count for little combined with another Champions League failure. As for Chelsea, it will be a major disappointment but with Carlo Ancelotti in his first season at the club he can make amends by winning the Blues' first league title since 2006.

Match Analysis
Sulmaan Ahmad, UK Chief Editor
Everyone - including me - predicted that the first game would be quiet and it
turned out to be quite lively. This time, Jose Mourinho is likely to adopt a
similar strategy, knowing that a clean sheet sees his side through. No Mario
Balotelli suggests there will be few frills about this Inter team and Chelsea
have shown a tendency to struggle, on occasion, when organised teams camp out to hit them on the counter-attack. However, just one goal could do it for Chelsea, and then Inter would face the daunting task of scoring at the Bridge. It is well and truly on a knife-edge.

Carlo Garganese, International's Italy Expert
Inter have always shown to be at their best under Jose Mourinho when teams come at them so in many ways this game is perfectly set up for them as they will be able to hit Chelsea on the counter-attack. However, at the same time, this could benefit Chelsea's style of play because if Inter defend too deep it plays into Didier Drogba's hands. Regardless, I expect a tight and tentative game that really could go either way and it would not surprise me if the tie was still open going into injury time.

* Titanbet have studied the formbook and are offering tasty odds of 6/1 on
tonight's match ending 1-1 with a 0-0 generously priced at 15/2. Either outcome would make it a special return for Mr Mourinho. The Nerazzurri are 7/2 to keep a clean sheet.

* A repeat of the first leg 2-1 result in Chelsea's favour is priced at 7/1 with
Titanbet while a 2-0 home win is 11/2. The Blues are an enticing 9/10 to keep a clean sheet

* Chelsea are 14/1 to do the double of Premier League and Champions League and are 25/1 to do the treble including the F.A. Cup with Titanbet.

* Inter are 12/1 to scoop Serie A and the Champions League. You'll get
considerably shorter odds on Mourinho being in charge at the San Siro with
Titanbet split offering odds of 5/6 on him staying put or moving on by next season. A shock return to coach Chelsea within the next five years isn't off the table either with odds of 2/1 on Jose taking up where he left off in 2007.

How do you think tonight's game will go? Is Jose Mourinho the man to bring European success for Inter? Will Chelsea finally deliver on their Champions League promise? wants to know what YOU think...

Become a fan of International on Facebook! Just click onto to join the beautiful game's leading fan community...