Wenger: Van der Vaart could be key

Tue, 05 Apr 07:24:00 2011

I expect Tottenham's Champions League tie with Real Madrid to be fairly even.

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For me, each side has a 50 per cent chance of winning the game, even if Real Madrid have a little bit of a head start.

Madrid are the more accomplished of the teams and their players have a lot of experience in European competition.

For the first time in seven years Madrid have qualified for the quarter-finals of the Champions League, yet for Jose Mourinho and his team that won't be enough - they want to go on and win the competition.

Madrid have greatly improved in terms of their tactics and attitude this season, and they are definitely one of the contenders for the final at Wembley.

Nevertheless, the Spurs will have a say in this tie. That they qualified for the quarter-finals doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

I'm well acquainted with this team; technically, their players have a great potential and the speed of their play is one of their main assets: they have the ability to quickly turn defence into attack once they get back the ball.

Spurs clearly have the potential to trouble any team left in this competition, especially since they have been playing better football in the Champions League than in domestic competition.

And, of course, they can call on the talents of Rafael van der Vaart, their most creative player.

The Dutch maestro is an extremely clever player with a wealth of skills at his disposal. He is the conductor of this Tottenham side and with his magical left foot he is able to unlock even the most stubborn of defences with his assists and goals.

Moreover, Spurs play the second leg at home at White Hart Lane which has to be a big advantage; that's why they can definitely spring a surprise against Madrid.

Arsene Wenger is widely regarded as one of the world's best managers. He is the most successful manager in the history of Arsenal, having been in charge of the Gunners since 1996. Before his time at North London he enjoyed considerable success at AS Monaco and Grampus Eight. Wenger, who is fluent in French, German and English and also speaks Italian, Spanish and Japanese, has an encyclopedic knowledge of the world game.

Arsene Wenger / Eurosport

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