Will Spurs Dump Milan Out Of Competition?

Tottenham Hotspur vs AC Milan
Second Round, UEFA Champions League
White Hart Lane, London
Wednesday, 09 March 2011
Time: 19:45 GMT

Tottenham registered a memorable 1-0 win away at the San Siro in the first leg of this tie, but have lost their way in the Premier League since then, looking unlikely to finish in the top 4 this season. Milan haven’t fared much better in terms of performances but they are top of the table and leading the title race against Inter. But it’s not just about Champions League qualification – it’s about fulfilling your potential, pride and history – one club trying to make it, the other trying to revive it. Milan will have to considerably raise their game even if Tottenham are not at their best.

On paper Milan have a formidable side, but with Rafael van der Vaart and Gareth Bale returning to the starting lineup and Defoe finding himself on the scoresheet once again, this Tottenham side look set to upset Milan once again. The home advantage is one thing, but Milan at San Siro had no reply to Tottenham’s pace and high tempo game, and nothing has changed in the Milan midfield to suggest that they will be able to dominate and win the game.

Harry Redknapp says Tottenham will push forward to score, and they definitely will be attacking early on, but as the game wears on you can expect Spurs to play on the counter-attack, relying on pace instead of possession to turn Milan over. Spurs will also be mindful of Alexander Pato and Zlatan Ibrahamovic - two quality strikers who have serious questions over their abilities to perform in Europe. You’d expect Tottenham to score a goal at home in any case so it’ll come down to whether the Tottenham defence can keep things tight at the back.

“We’ve got enough to hurt Milan at home. We’ll be positive and will play an attacking team. We’ll play Lennon and probably Bale and have a go. Gareth carries the game at the opposition and that makes a massive difference. Peter Crouch has had a great European campaign as well. And Van der Vaart has a good chance for Wednesday, I hope he will be fit,” said Redknapp.

Serie A leaders Milan have won three straight league games since losing the first leg but they are missing several key players and have a dire record in England. In 14 visits, the seven-times European champions have won once and lost nine times, including last season when they were thrashed 4-0 by Manchester United at the same stage.

Milan have serious problems in midfield, with Kevin Prince Boateng doubtful to face his former side after hurting his ankle in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Juventus. His absence would be a real blow given that midfielders Andrea Pirlo and Massimo Ambrosini are injured, Mark van Bommel is ineligible and Gennaro Gattuso is suspended. Flamini is still in contention though, and will be a key player for Milan alongside Seedorf.

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