Tottenham vs. Inter Milan: Dominant Win Makes Spurs Europa League Favorites

Ben Chodos@bchodosCorrespondent IIMarch 7, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 07:  Gareth Bale of Tottenham Hotspur runs with the ball as Cristian Chivu (L) and Walter Gargano of FC Internazionale Milano close him down during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 First Leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and FC Internazionale Milano at White Hart Lane on March 7, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

There may not be a team in Europe in finer form than Tottenham, and the North London side recorded another impressive result with a 3-0 victory over Inter Milan to take a commanding lead in the Round of 16 matchup. 

Every time this team takes the pitch, it appears to get better. After this period of rapid ascendancy, there is not another team in the competition capable of taking down Andre Villas-Boas’ side if it can maintain its level of play.

Spurs’ start to its European campaign did not suggest that it would embarrass Inter in this fashion. Play in the group stage saw just two victories with draws against Maribor and Panthaniakos. 

Moving past Lyon in the first knockout stage was not easy, but all that was forgotten as the team made simple work of the Italian side.

Inter is certainly not having its finest year, but the club still has the talent to be competitive in a matchup like this. That was not the case on Thursday, however.

Tottenham dominated possession and held the ball for 61 percent of the match. Spurs also outshot Inter 16-8 while putting 10 of its attempts on target; the Italians managed to get a shot on frame just once. 

Inter never looked like it had a chance. Gylfi Sigurdsson found Gareth Bale’s head for the first goal just six minutes into the match and the Icelandic midfielder doubled the lead before 20 minutes were gone. 

Early in the second half, Jan Vertonghen knocked in Bale’s corner, turning the match into a rout.

After taking a commanding lead and keeping a clean sheet at home, Spurs are almost certainly through to the quarterfinals. The second leg of the matchup is on March 14 and will likely be just a formality. 

There will still be stiff competition in the later rounds, as Chelsea, Lazio, Benfica, Anzhi Makhachkala and Zenit St. Petersburg all have talented squads and are still alive.

But among those teams, only Lazio and Benfica came away with victories during Thursday’s matches. In addition, none of these teams has a talent like Bale.

Currently, Tottenham is in the best form of any club in the competition and has the best player among all the teams. The Welshman is a true game-changer, and Villas-Boas has the luxury of surrounding Bale with players who have proven they can play the star into dangerous positions.

Spurs are firing on all levels right now and it would not be premature to start eyeing open space in the club’s trophy case. At this point, there is no team with a better shot to win the Europa League. 


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