Tottenham 3-0 Inter: Does Spurs Win Show They Can Win Europa League?

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Tottenham Hotspur put in a superb performance as they tore apart a poor Inter Milan team in their UEFA Europa League Round of 16 first leg, potentially ending the tie after a 3-0 home win.

Quite aside from the fact they are knocking out one of the supposed heavyweights left in the competition, the verve, quality and ruthlessness which Spurs showed could signify that they have what it takes to go all the way and win it outright.

Looking at the other teams remaining, Spurs do not really have too much to fear.

Benfica, Fenerbahce and Lazio all won their respective first leg ties and certainly have plenty of quality in their teams, but are they really significantly better than Tottenham? Arguably not.

Chelsea will still be hopeful of progressing despite a defeat to Steaua Bucharest, and while none of the three Russian teams—Anzhi, Zenit, Rubin Kazan—won their first legs, they would still present formidable opposition at the quarterfinal stage or beyond.

Tottenham, though, have an attacking lineup which, when fit, can rival any of them.

Aaron Lennon provides terrific pace and skill on one flank, while Jermain Defoe is always a danger and will certainly score more goals than Emmanuel Adebayor, judging by this season's performances from both strikers.

Gylfi Sigurdsson, Clint Dempsey and Lewis Holtby now provide depth and further options for another of the attacking midfield positions—and then there's Gareth Bale.

The Welshman will miss the second leg through suspension after being carded once more for diving, but his ability and consistency over the second half of this season means that Spurs have to be taken very seriously as potential Europa League winners.

Andre Villas-Boas is certainly hoping for glory in the European competition—with Spurs not having won a trophy for five years, it would certainly be a welcome boost to the club, in success and in coefficient terms, as they aim to return to the Champions League next season.

It would also be a timely reminder to their North London rivals that title wins do matter.

There's still a long way to go before the final in the Amsterdam Arena in May, and despite their horrific first leg performance, Inter will still be a far bigger threat at home in the second leg, but Spurs are looking good for a very strong challenge to be the 2013 Europa League winners.

 

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