Two weeks ago in Milan there was no way for Maicon to handle Bale, a fortnight later in London it was the same from the word go. Allowing the Welsh-rocket 30-40 yards to exploit behind Maicon it was a tactical suicide, which is amazing from an astute tactician like Benitez.
The second mistake of day made by the Spanish coach was sticking to two holding midfielders like Muntari and Zanetti in opposition to two playmakers such as Modric and Huddlestone. The Inter pair’s creativity was embarrassing compared to Spurs duo's. Against Tottenham the European defending champions reminded me of Liverpool’s negative tactical approach after Xabi Alonso’s departure: Muntari-Zanetti just like Lucas-Mascherano, same lack of vision. Modric’s lovely pass delivered to Van der Vaart at minute 19 could never come from Saviero or Sulley.
The Dutchman couldn't waste such a beautiful pass and dutifully scored. A free-kick from Sneijder at minute 40 was Inter best opportunity in the first half but Cudicini denied the equalizer. From possible 1-1 to 2-0 is a short step: at minute 61 Crouch didn't miss a Bale cross. Spurs outclassed Inter. Bale was magnificent but Van der Vaart, Lennon, Huddlestone, Modric were all very good.
Despite scoring at minute 80 Samuel Eto'o took a day off. Good news is Milito's back: 20 minutes in which he looked very sharp. No rusty at all: the Argentinian nearly scored after 40 seconds and again with the last shot of the game hitting the bar. Pavlyuchenko scored the third for Spurs but again it was a Bale gift. Inter and Spurs lead Group A with 7 points, two more than Twente.
Man of the match. Gareth Bale. Simply unstoppable. Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona and Inter are already chasing him and after his last display it's easy to understand why.
UEFA Champions League 2010-11 - Day 4 / London, White Hart Lane
TOTTENHAM-INTER 3-1 (1-0)
Tottenham: Cudicini; Hutton, Gallas, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon (Palacios 85'), Huddlestone, Modric, Bale; Van der Vaart (Jenas 46'); Crouch (Pavlyuchenko 76'). Manager: Redknapp
Inter: Castellazzi; Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Chivu; J.Zanetti, Muntari (Nwankwo 53'); Biabiany (Coutinho 64'), Sneijder, Pandev (Milito 71'); Eto'o. Coach: Benitez
Referee: Kassai (HUN)
Goals: Van der Vaart 18', Crouch 61', Pavlyuchenko 89'; Eto'o 80'
Yellow cards: Hutton, Jenas; Samuel, Lucio