Tottenham’s reward for their stoppage-time win over Lyon in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 is a two-legged tie with Internazionale, which begins this week at White Hart Lane.
Andre Villas-Boas’ side are in good form of late and football betting news pundits believe that they can make the top four this season, earn safe passage to the Champions League group stage and do battle with the best teams Europe has to offer.
Before then, however, there is the small matter of winning the Europa League – a genuine prospect for AVB’s men who have taken Europe by storm this season.
Having successfully navigated through a tough group stage, Spurs slipped past the Ligue 1 outfit thanks to Moussa Dembele’s late strike in the Stade Gerland. All great teams need a slice of luck like this, yet, up against Inter, they may not need quite as much.
For Inter are currently in a real slump in Serie A and many fans who bet on football expect manager, Andrea Stramaccioni, to restrict players from European action in order to concentrate on the league. Two weeks ago they were lucky to come away with a home 1-1 draw against city rivals AC Milan and in mid February lost 4-1 to fellow-Euro chasers Fiorentina.
Of course, Inter still pack a punch, with Rodrigo Palacio likely to pop up with a goal at any time, while Javier Zanetti is more than capable of structuring their midfield.
Yet Spurs should not be too worried about Inter this week. Three years ago, the teams met in Champions League competition and the Italian giants’ experience was just enough to topple Tottenham’s youthful exuberance.
Three years on and Spurs have grown from a team new to Europe to one capable of challenging for trophies and with Gareth Bale, Emmanuel Adebayor, Dembele and young Lewis Holtby they have a mix of talent, experience and determination that should see them through to the quarters.