There's not a whole lot to say about this; Spurs were just absolutely excellent in absolutely every aspect. They played with rhythm, tempo, beat and belief, at disconcerting pace and with scorching intensity. Inter did not.
FULL-TIME: Spurs 3-0 Inter
Res ipsa loquitur.
90+1 min Zanetti lugs his body forward and espies Jonathan outside him, staring across the line so as not to stray offside. He receives the ball, having strayed offside.
90 min There shall be a trio of added minutes, served on a bed of Milanese pain.
90 min It's been a long time since I've seen Spurs play with this level of viciousness. No messing around with tactics, just hard running, imaginative passing and intimidating confidence. Football is a simple game.
87 min Spurs indulge in some more cute passing, but with a purpose, Parker dictating. Eventually he releases Walker, charging along the touchline as though he's young and fit or something, the shameless bounder. His cross is easy enough for Handanovic to collect, but it's the thought that counts - Spurs are holding nothing back here.
85 min "Cassano in the house!" bellows Cassano. In space on the right wing, he arcs a low cross to the back post, but it's just too strong for Guarin.
83 min It's taken a long time - far longer than it should, which is as much the fault of the various coaches as it is of the player - but Aaron Lennon is there now. If he can just add a few more goals, he'll really be something, because his pace and low centre of gravity make him obscenely hard to mark.
82 min Lennon takes a knock of some sort, so leaves to be replaced by Naughton.
80 min A lull in proceedings allows the crowd to get after Lee Dixon again, but the Spurs players show some compassion, Gallas breaking forward and arranging a shot for Holtby. Skipping across the face of goal from right to left, he drills a shot that's semi-blocked by Chivu before finding its way into the arms of Handanovic.
77 min Spurs, though they were knocking the ball around to olés a moment ago, have slowed a little, and must be careful - because, as Peter Drury teaches, "3-1 is a very different scoreline from 3-0". Then, Lennon pulls away from Pereira - or Poor Pereira as he shall henceforth be known - and he's pulled down, resulting in a yellow card and another farklempt face.
75 min Has Aaron Lennon ever tripped over his arms?
73 min Villas-Boas asked Bale and Lennon if they fancy staying on. They do. Meanwhile, Palacio somehow finds himself in front of goal, bending his run to receive Chivu's long pass with Gallas not paying requisite attention, and Friedel saves smartly with his foot - but he oughtn't to have had a chance.
72 min Guarin wriggles past Gallas, who hangs out a leg which is jumped over. It's possibly a foul, but Guarin dived too, and he's booked.
71 min Holtby replaces Sigurdsson.
70 min More exceptional football from Spurs, Parker bundling through midfield and appearing to head right, before stabbing a reverse ball back inside for Lennon. He takes a touch, nutmegs Chivu, skates through, and sees his shot saved by Handanovic.
68 min Indicate the way to my habitual abode, I'm fatigued and have a desire to retire. I consumed an alcoholic beverage sixty minutes ago, and it's traversed straight to me cerebrum. Wherever I may perambulate, on land or sea or atmospheric vapour, you can always hear me chanting this melody, indicate the way to my habitual abode.
This, in Italian, is being whistled by the entire Inter team.
66 min It's been a fair old while since Inter have visited the Spurs half, and they win a free-kick, Cambiasso launching it for no one, but Vertonghen doesn't receive a call and nods behind. The corner is nonsense and Lennon picks the ball up on the edge of the box, finding Defoe on the burst and he screeches forward with Bale to his right and Walker to his left. With open routes to either, he elects to shoot and gets nowhere.
64 min Dembele, who has been excellent despite carrying a knack, swaps with Livermore.
63 min Parker, dragging his little self forward, sidesteps a ball outside him to Defoe, haring into the box on its right side. Stuttering his gait to intimate a shot, he takes the ball on one more stride before hammering an effort into the same portion of side-netting.
61 min Bale, now consuming the right wing, vaults into his stride and floats past Chivu and then inside him, lacing a drive into the side-netting that deceives a chunk of White Hart Lane into thinking it's a goal. And you can forgive them their assumption.
60 min Some calm.
58 min We're back on the romantic poets, with Joanne Beasley: "I know footballers are a different breed, but l hope spurs players know Shelley, when he said, 'Nothing wilts faster than laurels that have been rested upon'. Yeah, ok. Probably not.
Lennon is more a Byron man, but there's no resting going on here. Inter are already a cringing, crying mess, and Spurs are in sadistic mood.
57 min Keith Campbell is even idler than the Inter defence, and we thanks them both for enhancing our evenings.
55 min Kovacic slinks off, replaced by Guarin.
This is defending so miserable it's weeping in a corner with a half-empty bottle of Kwik Save gin. Bale arcs the corner, Vertonghen jumps in the air, the defenders hum and ha, and the ball's nodded down, not into the corner, and Inter are now playing to avoid a pasting.
GOAL! Spurs 3-0 Inter (Vertonghen)
52 min Every time Inter have hinted the merest hint of doing something, Spurs break and show them how it's done. They win a corner from the right.
51 min Inter break along the left, and Palacio whipdrags a shot a foot or so wide.
50 min Meant to stick this up at half-time, but in the excitement, I forgot myself. Last night, there was a brilliant documentary on the life and career of Laurie Cunningham, which you can watch here.
48 min Spurs haven't quite started at the same narcotic speed they did the first half, but have still crafted two decent situations in the Inter box. Then, Pereira fells Bale on the right, just by the corner of the box and protests with his best indignant face. Bale makes as if he's going to shoot and instead floats a ball over the top for Vertonghen, in numinous solitude eight yards out. He should score, but instead waves a leg at it and watches the ball squirt wide.
46 min Juan Jesus, there's only Juan Jesus has gone off, and Palacio, who scored twice off the bench at the weekend, is on. He'll play close to Cassano, with Pereira dropping deeper into midfield.
Zanetti, meanwhile, saves Inter, anticipating a one-two between Sigurdsson and Defoe to reach the ball first and shovel it away.
"Scott Parker performs a unique trademark 360 degree turn almost every time he gets the ball," observes Sean Welch. "He looks like a drunk Dalek but it always works."
A drunk Dalek with a war hero's haircut and the turning circle of the QE2.
Physics Day latest:
Physics Day, combines science with vomit inducing rides. What more could a 12=13 year old want…
Physics Students Will:
· Use tools to collect physical data for analysis and predict and calculate forces acting on a rider at different points during a ride
· Calculate the work and power necessary to move riders through a ride
· Calculate centripetal acceleration and normal forces acting on riders in circular motion
· Use the conservation of energy to approximate velocities and altitudes of riders at different points in the ride
· Use rotational motion equations to determine linear speed of riders in circular motion
· A special Math and Science workbook is also available for middle school students
Are we in a South Park episode?
I was waiting for this. Here's Nathan Jones on Sigurdsson: "'Easily the best I've ever seem him play?'. There speaks a man who never saw Swansea City in the second half of last season - he was better than this almost every week.
And the Joe Allen/Dembele thing: apart from the wages, Rodgers needed a midfielder who fitted his style. Liverpool needed a ball-player more than a box-to-box midfielder - rightly or wrongly, I'm sure Rodgers would argue they've got Gerrard for that."
When I saw him, which wasn't every week, he scored good goals but didn't do that much otherwise. I'm not sure you can call Joe Allen a ball-player, and there's no way Liverpool wouldn't be improved by Dembele.
Half-time emails. Let's start with the oddest, from Mr Henry Rowe. "As an American student and Spur huddled in the darkest corner of the Knott's Berry Farm theme park in California frantically updating your feed while "physics day" goes on around me, I would like to say thank you. Also, Lennon's improvement in his movement off the ball under AVB has been as fantastic as it has been under reported."
What on earth is physics day, and why need it take place in Knott's Berry Farm? Anyone?
That was an exceptional half from Tottenham, miserably though Inter played. They attacked with pace, guile and goddamn fury, Dembele and Sigurdsson dominating midfield and Bale and Lennon terrorising down the flanks. If they'd added a goal or two more, that would not be an unfair reflection of the hiding they've distributed, but they must be wary - Inter could easily have pulled a goal back, and you'd expect them to improve in the second bit.
HALF-TIME: Spurs 2-0 Inter
45 min There shall be a single, solitary minute of additional time.
42 min Inter should score, but obviously they avoid so doing. With Spurs condensing play and holding the Villas-Boas high line, there was no pressure on the ball, allowing Casano to pick a pass for Alvarez, alone and palely loitering on the left edge of the box. Taking a stride or two to set himself and telegraphing precisely his intention, he managed to drag a wasteful effort wide of the far post before cutting in from the right and firing wide of the same one - this time the near post - a minute later.
40 min Soxanomics with Brian Tisinger: "Dembele cost the same amount as Joe Allen. I will now go find a corner to go cry in before I start looking up how much Aguero cost compared to Andy Carroll."
Aguero is on significantly better wages than Carroll, I'm sure, and also, like Dembele, unavailable to Liverpool. But yes, those were curious purchases.
Apurs force another corner, Bale crossing from the left and some defender or other turning it behind on account of Assou-Ekotto in the same timezone. The corner comes to nothing.
38 min Inter are mooching around like they're here for a quick power walk. They are not here for a quick power walk. More Spurs pressure, and Sigurdsson - who's had an outstanding half, easily the best I've ever seem him play - thuds a shot that forces Handanovic to scramble low to his right.
36 min Defoe and Sigurdsson combine on the left, and the latter makes light of hooking a tricky bouncing ball in the direction of Bale's head. He glides upwards once again, and in what looks like a carbon copy of his goal, glances wide this time.
35 min Number of emails wondering if Inter fans sing "Juan Jesus, there's only Juan Jesus": 58,092.
33 min In all the excitement, I neglected to report the stick Lee Dixon, here for ITV, has been getting off the crowd. Not exactly witty, but unarguably pointed.
32 min Inter are looking very interim here. This cannot be coincidence. I blame the Chelsea fans.
30 min Inter win a corner, which Cassano attitudes towards Ranocchia. He manages to unite forehead and ball, but only to float an tame effort wid.
29 min Spurs are playing Fifa 98 here, passes zipping one to the other with immense surety of thud. An exchange between Parker and Dembele results in nothing of note, but they're playing exceptionally well - Inter are going to have to score in this game, because if they don't, the tie will be over.
27 min Spurs re going to score again. They win a corner on the left and take it short, before Sigurdsson larrups a long, high cross for Vertonghen, minding his own at the back post. He gets a little underneath it, but still manages to arc a header from whence it came, forcing Handanovic to tip behind for another corner that comes to nowt.
24 min Poor Zanetti.
21 min Sebastian "F-ed" [his insertion] Fjeldstad is here to calm us down. "Maybe it's a Spiritual message?", he suggests. "The UEFA Europa League - BE. One. With it....?"
Well Spurs are Zen, alright. Zen in a bad mood, on Sunny D.
Spurs are too quick, too strong and too damn arsed for Inter. Dembele, central and thirty yards from goal, pops into a little recess and sends a ball wide to Lennon, who has learnt to play football these last two or three seasons. His low cut-back is scooting perfectly into the path of the onrushing Sigurdsson, but Defoe intervenes, takes a touch and turns, to pagga a left-footer at Handanovic - who can only parry the ball a couple of yards out. While his defenders contemplate the vagaries of existence, Sigurdsson bousts in and dispatches number two, which is a decent enough way of describing Inter's efforts so far.
GOAL! Spurs 2-0 Inter (Sigurdsson)
17 min Inter hjave managed a couple of combinations in the last minute of so, and work the Spurs right flank, Cassano moving away as low cross finds Kovacic via a couple of bobbles. His snapshot is on target, but it flicks off someone and goes behind - for no corner.
14 min Spurs are going to score again. Bale and Parker exchange passes, Bale now on the right, and as his nips past Gargano on the outside, he finds a leg and plunges over it. He's booked, and will miss the return leg. Good call from the ref, that was Micropose F-19 simulation.
12 min Inter are still in the footballing coffee lounge.
10 min Back to away goals, Simon McMahon reckons as follows: "Football is different to a lot of other sports in that it has no mechanism within its scoring system to reward pressure or territorial dominance. Whilst I agree that all goals should be created equal, until something else is introduced to reward attacking play - a penalty awarded every 10th corner, say, or after hitting the woodwork twice - I fear it is here to stay."
It's here to stay, but I don't see why we should reward anything other than goals.
8 min Almost another goal for Spurs, who really mean this. Various short passes rat-a-tat-tat between Sigurdsson, Dembele and friends, the ball ending up with Bale, wide on the left. He squares for Defoe cutting in from the adjoining channel, darting back outside Chivu, and suddenly the shot's on. He flagellates a typical low vaporiser, but one that the aptly-named Handanovic beats away. That was a good chance.
This is an absolutely bazzing header. Sigurdsson, out on the left touchline, checks inside onto his right foot and whips over a cross towards Bale, who glides upwards several aeons prior to Cambiasso and glances a ridiculously perfect header inside the far post. Nice.
GOAL! Spurs 1-0 Inter (Bale)
Send him to left-back.
4 min Lennon and Walker turn Pereira again, but Lennon can't quite catch up with the return pass. Pereira might wind up wishing he'd stayed at home - probably the most I've had in common with a ftbllr.
4 min What do you do when Canada's out of commission? Blame Redknapp is the answer, and Richard C Simpson wades right in. "Maybe because he has enhanced the fluid attacking of Redknapp but also instilled better tactical awareness, and learnt from initial errors like dropping Dawson. Far better than 'arry who blames the players when they lose and takes credit on all wins. A chancer."
Do you do tombstones?
2 min Lennon and Walker launch into a supersonic one-two, Walker's clipped low cross slightly behind the insidling Bale, and he misses his kick.
2 min More ironic footballers with Philip Wainwirght, and the two I'm letting him keep are jazzers, I must say - Keith Curle and Steve Bull. It's true, Steve is not a male cow. Someone call trades descriptions.
1 min Spurs set us off, as we watch through a camera standing somewhere down by the world's core.
We missed some good noise. Cheers, ITV. Spurs players try and undo all the crowd's good work by huddling. That something I'd want addressed if I were a Spurs fan.
"The Uefa Europa League...be one with it." Anyone any ideas what means? Marriage? Any kind of intimacy? Join it in a regression?
White Hart Lane is packed, the players are coming out, it's all going down. Time to pay some bills.
Differing opinions on young Andre. Jarrell Anthony reckons how good he is remains to be seen: "It's a fair question, as we're definitely less of an attacking threat then we were at our best last season. The difference is that we're more versatile now; we have more way of winning/not losing. Under Harry it seemed that we everything had to be 'right' for us to play well/win...that's not the case anymore, which points to a bright future. And consider that this is without two of our more important players from the last two seasons. In short, he's made Spurs...well, less like Spurs."
Yep, I'll have that - the classic Spurs aspect appears to be disappearing. Philosophise that!
Mojo, on the other hand, disagrees. "I don't think that Dembele was a no-brainer. Losing Modric was a blow but inevitable. To replace him with a like-for-like player was never going to happen. After all who is as good as Modric that isn't already at a bigger club already? So instead he chose to strengthen the spine of the team with a combative technically proficient footballer with an eye on winning and retaining possession."
Not so sure about that - Dembele was perhaps the best midfielder in the division outside the top two last season, and there are very few who can run past people in the middle of the pitch.
Mark Noble. There's another one. Meanwhile, Ned Boulting has praised the calmness of William Gallas. Forreal.
Anzhi hangover, with Ianto Brychian: "Good evening Daniel."
"Good evening Ianto".
"It sounds as if the game was Shitov on a stick. In a similar vein, I believe Letchkov was the most talented comedy name footballer while his team-mate Yankov was the best named."
Letchkov is a belter. There are also some good ironically-named footballers: Leon Best is one, Felipe Melo another.
Hubert O'Hearn knows a hobby-horse when he sees one. "You know Daniel, I really hate the 'away goal rule'. Maybe it's just me or the matches I've watched, but first legs tend to become the most conservative, constipated non-events imaginable. The home team is committed to not letting the away team score; the away team is committed to not losing 2-0. Now if say shots on target was the tie-breaker, THEN you might have some action! Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions? You've just survived the Newcastle somnabulist-fest...I'm sure you have thoughts."
Completely agree - not so much because of the effect it has, but more because it subverts the essential truism of football that all goals, however they're scored, are equal.
A question. It's going to come out wrong, so please excuse me, but what is the improvement brought about by Andre Villas-Boas? Signing Dembele was a no-brainer, and mainly, his team are relying on the brilliance of one individual to win tight games against teams they should beat fairly comfortable.
NB I'm not saying he's no good - but I'm struggling to grasp how everyone can be so convinced.
I'm regretting this already. Here's lyrical genius Matt Dony:
"Once, there was this team who
Relied almost entirely on Bale to score goals
They went to Miiii-laaaan,
And lurched all over the field.
And they couldn't quite explain that
They always seem to fall short.
Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm, mmmm."
It was a matter of time - here's some Spurs pessimism from Michael Philip: "If there ever was a game for AVB to show some common sense, it would be this one. Spurs have a crucial PL game this coming weekend and as nice as a shiny shiny performance tonight might be, to go to Anfield knackered, injured and lose, will put this 'event' into perspective. I'm a Spurs fan of some 50 years..." he justifies.
Come, come - "this 'event'" is a European knockout tie, it means something. You'll remember 1984, for example. And why should they be knackered? They're footballers, they're playing football, and as if Arsenal are picking up five extra points.
So, what does it all mean? Well, Spurs are actually trying to win this competition - and well they might, because why the merry wives of Windsor wouldn't they? Inter are too, but that's a given as they're not obsessed with nonsense, not being an English side.
As far as changes go, Defoe returns for his first game since February, in place of Adebayor - that's a little odd, as he's no lone striker - and Friedel and Gallas replace Welshman Lloris and Dawson respectively.
For Inter, Kuzmanovic, Guarin, Schlerotti and Rocchi all drop out following the win over Catania - from 0-2 down - and Rannochhia, Kovacic, Pereira and the naughty Cassano return.
Tottenham Hotspur: Friedel, Walker, Vertonghen, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto, Dembele, Parker, Lennon, Sigurdsson, Bale, Defoe.
Subs: Lloris, Caulker, Naughton, Dawson, Livermore, Carroll, Holtby.
Internazionale: Handanovic, Zanetti, Ranocchia, Chivu, Juan Jesus, Gargano, Cambiasso, Alvarez, Kovacic, Pereira, Cassano.
Subs: Belec, Benassi, Pasa, Mbaye, Jonathan, Guarin, Palacio.
Watching his back: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (Spain)
29 years, they're alive here still,
Trying to get up that great big hill, of hope
They realised quickly well before they should
That the world was made up of this spoon of wood, oh man!
Failure's what it means.
And so they cry sometimes when they're lying in bed
Just to get it all out,
That Tottenham dread
But now, but now they feel a little peculiar
When they wake in the morning and they step outside
Contemplate their team, they get real high,
And they scream from the top of their lungs,
WHAT THE EFFING JEFF IS GOING ON?