Tottenham - Inter Preview: In-form Spurs face struggling Nerazzurri
Fresh from their 2-1 win over Arsenal, Andre Villas-Boas' side face an Italian outfit low on confidence, following some middling form of late, at White Hart Lane
By Sam Wells
Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Naughton
Lennon, Bale, Sigurdsson
Zanetti, Juan, Chivu, Pereira
Schelotto, Cassano, Guarin
Brad Friedel will likely replace Hugo Lloris in goal for Tottenham, with the American becoming first-choice in cup competitions following the France captain's promotion to Andre Villas-Boas' Premier League XI.
Clint Dempsey (calf) is unlikely to feature and Mousa Dembele (knee) faces a race to be fit after limping out of Sunday's north London derby.
Jermain Defoe made his return from injury against the Gunners and could replace Emmanuel Adebayor in attack after the Togo man was stretchered off with an ankle problem
Antonio Cassano was dropped for Inter's weekend win over Catania after a row with manager Andrea Stramaccioni, but could find himself back in first-team contention to face Andre Villas-Boas' side after apologising and receiving a fine from the club.
The Italian is likely to link up with Rodrigo Palacio after the Argentine scored two late goals to seal a narrow win for the Nerazzurri over the Sicilian outfit.
Stramaccioni's side are plagued with injury problems as top-scorer Diego Milito (knee) is out for the season, while centre-backs Walter Samuel (Achilles) and Andrea Ranocchia (knee) also remains sidelined.
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- Tottenham have been on fine form domestically, having not lost in 12 league matches - their best unbeaten run in Premier League history.
- Inter, meanwhile, have not so fared so well in their own league, having won just three of their last 12 Serie A matches as they sit in fourth, trying to remain in contention for a spot in next season's Champions League.
- Gareth Bale (pictured right) has also been enjoying himself in the league. The Welshman has scored seven goals in his last five league appearances for the club. He is 7/2 to score two or more goals with Coral.
- Bale, even putting aside his current run of form, will bring back bad memories for the Italian side, as he memorably tormented the Nerazzurri in both of their group stage matches in the 2010-11 Champions League, particularly at San Siro as the flying winger scored a hat-trick despite Inter's 4-3 win.
- Inter do, however, have their own in-form striker as, despite often featuring off the bench, Rodrigo Palacio has been directly involved in 23 goals for his club this season, including all two of their goals scored in their comeback win over Catania on Sunday.
- The Nerazzurri have been poor away from home recently, as they have only managed a paltry four points from their last eight away league games, also conceding 19 goals in the process.
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Top 3 Predictions
Tottenham 1-2 Inter
- 19.15 %
Tottenham 2-1 Inter
- 12.85 %
Tottenham 2-0 Inter
- 10.62 %
|Europa League (EL)||14 Mar 2013||Inter 4 - Tottenham 1|
|Europa League (EL)||7 Mar 2013||Tottenham 3 - Inter 0|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||2 Nov 2010||Tottenham 3 - Inter 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||20 Oct 2010||Inter 4 - Tottenham 3|
|8 Mar 2014||Chelsea FC 4 - Tottenham 0||EPL|
|2 Mar 2014||Tottenham 1 - Cardiff City 0||EPL|
|27 Feb 2014||Tottenham 3 - Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 1||EL|
|23 Feb 2014||Norwich City 1 - Tottenham 0||EPL|
|20 Feb 2014||Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 1 - Tottenham 0||EL|
As Gareth Bale steals all the headlines with his hufely impressive form, Lennon's contribution to Spurs this season may have been underestimated as he has put in increasingly impressive performances down the right wing. If he can maintain that form in Europe, he should be able to test an Inter defence that has been susceptible under duress this season.
The experienced midfielder is likely be given the thankless task of having to shackle Gareth Bale in this game and whether his experience can help nullify the Welshman's considerable threat or not will be a key battle in this tie. Cambiasso will also need to spring his side forward as they look to snatch something to take back to San Siro for the second leg.
While Spurs have been on great form of late, peaking with their win over rivals Arsenal last Sunday, Inter have struggled in 2013, encapsulated in their dismal first-half performance against Catania on Sunday. They managed an inspired comeback in the second half though, thanks largely to Rodrigo Palacio, and that could provide them with momentum coming into this game. Still, Tottenham (and Gareth Bale) have been in fine form and that should see them earn a narrow victory here.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed