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Spurs Odyssey Europa League Preview - Inter v Spurs, 14.03.13

Last week's match report - Spurs 3 Inter 0
Last week's match preview.
See the current injury list for all Premiership Teams
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Spurs record in Europe:-
The official crest of Tottenham Hotspur
 
U.E.F.A Champions League
 
 P   W   D   L   F - A
12   5   3   4  25 -19
 
European Cup
P   W   D   L   F - A
8   4   1   3  21 - 13
 
(Semi-Finalists 1962)
 
European Cup Winners Cup
 
P   W   D   L   F - A
33  20  5   8  65 - 34
 
(Winners 1963)
 
UEFA Cup/Europa League
 P    W   D   L   F - A
103  59  27  17  210-81 
 
(Winners 1972, 1984
 Finalists 1974)
 
Total
P    W   D   L   F - A
156 88  36  32  321-147
The club logo of F.C.Internazionale     
Good defence the key for Spurs tomorrow

Inter fans might be buoyed by A.C. Milan's 4-0 defeat to Barcelona last night in the Champions League, and their team might take some hope from that come back, but it was achieved by the world's best team, and with the help of another two special goals by Messi.

Whilst Inter have nothing to lose in this second leg, they do have a three goal deficit, and not just two. Defence will be the key for Spurs, who will be without their talisman Gareth Bale. However, already Inter must score 4 goals to overcome us, and if we can grab just one goal, their task will be all the more difficult, if not impossible.

Inter's form continues to disappoint, and they lost at home to mid-table Bologna 1-0 on Sunday in a half-filled stadium. The only times the San Siro has been anywhere near full for Inter games this season has been in the Derby games, which they won "away" in October and drew at "home" just three weeks ago.

The Italian coach made seven changes to his starting line-up on Sunday, including the veteran Serbian midfielder Dejan Stankovic, aged 34, who played 55 minutes, and made his first start in over a year, and only his second appearance after he had been a second halff substitute in Inter's recent 3-2 win at Catania.

Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni has gone on record as saying he has selection problems ahead of our game, and having slipped to sixth place in Serie A, his priority must surely be to try and improve that league position and qualify for the Europa League or even Champions League football.

Spurs' last visit to the San Siro was of course a glorious occasion, played in front of an 80,000 full house. The opposition was A.C. Milan, not Inter, and Spurs came away with a marvellous 1-0 win thanks to Modric's pass out of defence to Lennon, Lennon's run and cross, and finally Peter Crouch's goal. (A.C. Milan 0 Spurs 1 - 15th February, 2011) We didn't have Bale that night either, and chanted to the home fans at the end of the game "Wait till you see Gareth Bale!"

It was a very emotional night and one which after a 0-0 home draw would give us a Champions League quarter-final. Our priority of course is to return to that level, but tomorrow we can make it through to another European quarter-final, and who is to say we cannot go all the way to Amsterdam?

Aaron Lennon may be fit enough for this game, but I'd be inclined to keep him for Sunday's game against Fulham. Kyle Naughton replaced him in last week's home game, and did a decent job in front of Kyle Walker, and that could work well for Spurs here. A more important presence here would surely be that of Emmanuel Adebayor, who certainly needs a performance. His aerial and physical presence could be the key to Spurs managing to hold the ball up, and feed the midfield pack.

I'll take Spurs to qualify comfortably from this tie, scoring at least once, and remaining unbeaten. They might even win by the odd goal!

Please note that due to my travel to Milan, my match report may be delayed.

Did you know?

1. Spurs have not lost in their last 5 European away matches?
2. Spurs and Rubin Kazan are the only two survivors in the Europa League of the teams that entered the tournament at the group stage?
3. Of those sides that started in the group stage, only Spurs and Lazio are unbeaten in 9 matches played to date?
4. Inter wing back Alavaro Pereira played for Andre Villas-Boas's Europa League winning Porto side in 2011?
5. Kyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen have played all 810 minutes of Spurs' 9 Europa League games to date? The same two players have played more minutes than any other player in all Spurs games so far this season.
6. Tomorrow's referee will be Mr. Ivan Bebek. All the officials are from Croatia. You won't laugh if I tell you that one of the additional assistants is called Mr. Vuckov, will you? It's probably pronounced Voo-kov!

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