If one thing is for certain regarding Tottenham’s crucial Champions League fixture with Inter on tonight, it’s that the neutral supporter is in for a treat. This match has become more like a knockout game as the Serie A outfit know that a point is enough to secure their place in the next round along with Barcelona, while only a win will do for Spurs if they are to usurp this week’s opponents from taking that spot.
Goals are likely to feature, with the North London club fresh from a 3-1 victory over Chelsea at the weekend and their previous six meeting with Inter in all competitions has seen over 2.5 strikes. This will be a first-ever trip to Wembley for the Nerazzurri, and they will be all-too-aware of what they have to throw away, Luciano Spalletti’s men unlikely to just sit back in order to play for a draw.
Both sides have truly elite strikers in Harry Kane and Mauro Icardi, and this could be seen as a head-to-head between the two.
Kane has been vital to Tottenham’s efforts in the Champions League, with an incredible record of 13 goals and two assists in just 14 outings in the competition. The England Captain was on the scoresheet in the aforementioned victory over Chelsea at the weekend, and scored a brace in Spurs’ 2-1 victory over PSV Eindhoven in their last group fixture in Europe.
Netting in the elite competition is clearly something the 25-year-old enjoys, and has admitted his ambitions of one day eclipsing Lionel Messi’s incredible record. “When you’re scoring as many goals as he is, 40 or 50, 60 goals a season, as a striker, I want to try and match that, try and do the same,” Kane admitted to The Telegraph back in October. “He’s definitely set the standard for the rest of us. He is still scoring goals and, for me, it motivates me to get even better and improve, and one day score as many if not more than he has.”
That seems like a tough ask, but it’s worth bearing in mind that it took the Argentine star 23 games to reach 10 goals in the competition, much longer than Kane has taken to do the same. Indeed, with 13 goals, he has fired in no less than 26% of Tottenham’s total tally of 50 goals, presumably with many more to come.
Over at San Siro, it seemed to take Icardi an eternity to finally play his first match in the Champions League, a stage worthy of his clear and obvious talent as a striker. His loyalty to Inter played a big part in this delay, the side’s qualification on the final day of last season seeing their first entry into the competition since 2011/12.
Also locked out of an international call-up until recently, the Argentine has scored 107 league goals since his arrival from Sampdoria in 2013, finishing as Serie A’s joint top scorer last term with 29 strikes. Icardi, born in the same year as Kane, has achieved a similar scoring rate as his English counterpart so far in the Champions League, firing in three goals in just four appearances so far.
In a fixture that has everything – a huge stage, star names and everything at stake – who would bet against one or both of this pair creating the headlines before the night is over?