Tottenham Hotspur are starting to show the world that they could be one of the most dangerous teams in the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League. Tottenham qualified for the knockout stages for the first time since the tournament was re-formatted in 1992 with a 3-0 win over Werder Bremen last week.
This may come as shocking news to many people, as Spurs are sitting in 5th place in the Premier League, and have struggled against weaker teams. Spurs have only won four games at White Hart Lane this season, including a 1-0 loss to Wigan, who they not only beat 9-1 last season, but Wigan are also sitting firmly in the relegation zone.
Spurs were also pummeled by Arsenal, 4-1 at home in their first and only Carling Cup fixture this season.
For Tottenham though, it is had been a tale of two completely different teams. The team that plays against English teams in the Premier League and the Carling Cup has been marred by inconsistency. Meanwhile, the team that plays in the Champions League has been nothing short of brilliant.
While it remains a mystery why they are so good in Europe and so average domestically, one thing remains clear; this team needs to be taken seriously.
Before the season began, many 'pundits' were predicting a fall for Tottenham saying, they were not strong enough to compete with Europe's elite, and the added intense matches would hurt their chances of retaining the fourth spot in the Premier League.
Spurs have surpassed all of the expectations. They have qualified for the knockout stages, and are right in the hunt for the fourth spot in the league. The reason they are where they are has been the fantastic play of Gareth Bale, who may be the best left winger in England.
The reason they will be even more dangerous in Europe going forward is because of their ability to score away goals, an incredibly valuable trait in the Champions League.
In the knockout stages of the Champions League, the amount of away goals you score is the first tie-breaker. During the qualifying round, and group stages, Spurs have proven they can score them in bundles.
Tottenham's Champions League dreams were almost over before they began this year. Spurs had to first play in the third qualifying round against Young Boys of Bern. The first leg was at Young Boys, on their plastic pitch. Spurs would fall down 3-0 after just 28 minutes.
They were down but far from out, as this was when Spurs would first show that they were never going to be out of a match. Spurs came roaring back with two goals, going in to their home leg down 3-2 with two away goals, a more then manageable outcome.
When Spurs had their first group game at Werder Bremen, they scored two quick goals, showing the world that they were not afraid to attack when away from home.
The greatest display from Spurs came when they traveled to Italy to face holders Inter Milan. Milan jumped on top of Spurs and took a 4-0 lead to halftime. When it seemed that Spurs were finally out-matched and should give up, they did the opposite. Gareth Bale came storming out in the second half and picked up a hat-trick. The final scoreline was a more then respectable 4-3.
Spurs have struggled with their strikers this season. Roman Pavlyuchenko has struggled to score goals in the Premier League, but has found the net four times in three Champions League matches. There are many reports suggesting that Spurs will be looking for a striker in the January transfer market to help them out.
While they do not get much production from their strikers, Tottenham are still getting goals. Winger Gareth Bale is showing the world just how good he is, while deadline-day signing Rafael Van Der Vaart has been nothing short of spectacular since moving to North London.
Right now, no one is beating Real Madrid or Barcelona, but they will not keep up the form that they are on right now. With Tottenham being a great team at home, their ability to score away goals will make them a very dangerous opponent in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
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