Spurs have no need to be in awe of Inter Milan

Posted by Dan Fitch

You wait all season for an absolutely huge match at home and then two come along at once.

Having dispensed with Arsenal on Sunday, Tottenham's attention turns to Inter Milan. The Europa League has a lot of critics (and rightly so), but when you get to this stage of the competition and face the likes of Internazionale, then you can't help but get terribly excited about the whole thing.

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These types of nights are special. Top-class opposition, under the floodlights at White Hart Lane, is a wonderful sight to behold.

Of course, it's not so long ago that Spurs played Inter Milan in the Champions League. Tottenham won 3-1 that night, thanks to a brilliant display against the then-reigning European champions and the haphazard tactics of a certain Rafa Benitez.

I couldn't help but feel a bit sorry for Maicon that night, as the whole of the stadium requested a taxi for him. The Brazilian right back was hopelessly exposed, as no one tracked back from midfield to help him deal with Gareth Bale.

Bale once again is likely to be the player Inter fears most, but this time it's not just the right back who will have to deal with him. Now operating from a central position, Bale will be driving at the heart of the Inter defense.

Having pondered the Arsenal game, I'd like to see a bit more fluidity to this approach. Bale has been a revelation in this central role, but that's not to say that he should never ever pop up on the wing again.

Against Arsenal, I would have fancied him to cause a lot more problems against Carl Jenkinson than he managed through the middle (well-taken goal apart). Like Inter and Benitez, Arsenal can often leave their full back exposed, and Bale could have ripped him apart.

In the case of Inter, I expect Bale to start centrally and Aaron Lennon to be doing the damage on the wing. Lennon will find himself up against the 39-year-old Javier Zanetti. Even at his age, Zanetti is no slouch, but he will struggle against Lennon if put in one-on-one situations.

What else to expect? The defense probably will be rotated in some way. I fear that this might also be true between the sticks. It's not that Brad Friedel isn't still a very capable goalkeeper, but also the fact that Hugo Lloris makes such a tactical difference to how high the Spurs' defense can play.

In midfield, we should see Moussa Dembele and Scott Parker line up again. Dembele's injury against Arsenal was worrying, but he's now back in training. I feel that the Parker/Dembele partnership is coping well with the amount of games they're playing at the moment, considering that both have had injury problems this season.

The other role in midfield will be between Gylfi Sigurdsson and Lewis Holtby, with Clint Dempsey still absent through injury. It looks as if Jermain Defoe will get a chance to regain his starting spot, with Emmanuel Adebayor probably not available until the Liverpool match.

This is a game that Spurs should be looking to win. It's easy to be intimidated by the fact that it's Inter Milan, but look at the raw facts. Tottenham are third in the Premier League. Inter are sixth in Serie A.

The visitors still have a host of star names, but they are much weaker now than when they last visited and brought the likes of Wesley Sneijder and Samuel Eto'o to the Lane.

Spurs are on the up, while Inter are on the wane. The games may be coming thick and fast, but this Tottenham team are making winning a habit and show no signs of slowing down.

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