After last week’s 1-0 win over AC Milan, Tottenham are brimming with confidence as they await the home leg against the Italian giants. Following their impressive performances in the group stage, which left them top of Group A, above reigning champions Inter, Spurs now have a very real chance of reaching the quarter-finals; but why should the journey end there? Here are 5 reasons why Spurs might just pull it off, and win the Champions League.
Spurs have scored the second highest number of goals in the Champions League so far, 19 – only Arsenal top them, and the Gunners had considerably less testing opposition in the group stage.
Gareth Bale has struck 4 times, including a memorable hat-trick against Inter Milan, Van der Vaart, who’s hit the ground running for Tottenham, and Pavlyuchenko have also scored 4 each, and even Peter Crouch, whose form in the Premier League has been awful, has tucked away a very impressive 8 goals in just 7 games, including the winner against Milan at the San Siro last week. With a squad that’s been firing in goals for fun, even against reigning champions Inter Milan, Spurs have a chance against anyone.
Strength in depth
Tottenham have one of the strongest squads in the Premier League. The Tottenham first-choice XI is a force to be reckoned with, especially in midfield, where Lennon, Modric, Huddlestone, Van der Vaart and Bale provide a stunning array of attacking options.
But even when shorn of key players due to injury or suspension, the strength of the squad allows Spurs to maintain a more-than-competent first team; the 1-0 win over Milan for example came with a midfield of VdV, Pienaar, Lennon, Palacios and Sandro – the latter two performing their defensive duties admirably.
With Woodgate, Huddlestone and Bale on the comeback trail, as well as the likes of Pavlyuchenko, Kranjcar, Palacios and Hutton on the bench, Spurs have a squad capable of contending with Europe’s best.
Spurs do not know when they’re beaten. Harry Redknapp has brought a positive way of thinking to his players, which makes them believe anything is possible. The talismanic Van der Vaart has said,
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‘You can buy good players but you also have to have a good team. We have a great squad, everybody likes each other and wants to work for each other. That’s the main thing. The boss gives everyone a lot of confidence and talks with you. That’s the really important thing with a manager‘
and it’s this sort of attitude that has paid dividends already this season.
Even though they lost the game, the drive to come back from 4-0 to 4-3 away to reigning champions Inter Milan showed the change in mindset at Spurs under Redknapp. In the Premier League this year Spurs have earned easily the most points from losing positions, 20, and this new found self-belief could prove vital when things get difficult in the latter stages of the Champions League.
Style of play
As has been seen in their games so far in the Champions League, certain teams cannot handle the pacy, direct style of Tottenham. After having shot themselves in the foot against Inter and ending up 4-0 down in 35 minutes, Spurs finally got going and the pace of Bale blitzed the Italian champions.
Again, at White Hart Lane, the out-and-out speed of Spurs’ counter-attacking play left the Milanese club gasping for air and on the end of a 3-1 loss. With the pace of Lennon and Bale and the speed of thought of Van der Vaart and Modric, Tottenham can take the game to European opposition unfamiliar with the outright speed of the Premier League.
At home, Spurs have so far been unstoppable. They have won every home game since the 4-0 qualifying victory over Young Boys in August, scoring at least 3 goals in every game. A formidable record such as this stands them in excellent stead coming into the knock-out rounds, and drawing or even losing by a single goal away would still give Tottenham a great chance to go through against anyone because of their superb home form.
Conveniently the Champions League final is just down the road at Wembley too, so that’s sort of another home fixture and must mean certain victory, surely? What do you mean, ‘no’?
Are Spurs on their way to Wembley? Let me know below and on Twitter:@stuartcfootball
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