|photo by NCBrian||via PhotoRee|
If James is writing, Bale is scoring:
Spurs strolled through an Inter Milan side today that appears to be a shadow of the team that Tottenham shocked in the Champions League group stage in 2010. The Nerazzurri, struggling through transition, injuries and only one point off the pace for a Champions League places in Serie A, appeared as if they were happy to focus only on that for the rest of the season. Spurs, on the other hand, are on a quest for both a European trophy and Champions League next year and, based on recent performances, are well on course for both.
Inter’s meek display should take nothing away from a dominating performance by the Lilywhites. A fair score would have been five -- or even six -- to one or two. Spurs took the lead only six minutes in on a headed goal from You Know Who off a fantastic cross from the ascendant Gylfi Sigurdsson (official MOTM). It was Siggy who doubled the lead only twelve minutes later after a nice exchange from Mousa Dembele to Aaron Lennon, who gave Inter fits all night. Also excellent were Jan Vertonghen who scored off a corner on a Bale delivery in the fifty third minute (Spurs scored on a corner!!!), Dembele and Scott Parker (unofficial MOTM).
Of course, the main story for Spurs is always Bale. As usual, the attack revolved around him, as he continued his central play as well as his superior run of form. The only negative for Spurs was Bale’s booking for simulation which rules him out of the away leg at the San Siro. But with a three goal lead and heavy duty Prem games ahead, perhaps it’s all for the better.
As for the Nerazzuri, there was not much from them to threaten the home side. Apart from two breaks – the first of which was horribly bottled by Ricky Alvarez and the second stopped when Brad Friedel made an excellent save on Rodrigo Palacio – Inter simply did not threaten in any way (shots on target were 12 -2 for Spurs). Oddly dressed in some all red third kit, they deserved worse than the home fans’ chant of “Are you Arsenal in disguise?” They just generally played like they preferred not to be there.
The Europa League can be funny that way. It’s kind of like college football bowl games: you never know which team is going to take it seriously. On today’s evidence, AVB has this Spurs side taking the competition very seriously, with gazes hungrily set on a trophy and a top 4 finish. And for where this club is at in its long term development, those two accomplishments would be fantastic indeed.
This is farlieonfootie for March 8.