Glenn Hoddle’s Tottenham v Chelsea Blog: My Two Old Teams Could Share The Spoils
When I played we only really looked out for the Arsenal v Tottenham matches in terms of London derbies, but in modern day football I’d say that Tottenham v Chelsea and Arsenal v Chelsea have become just as big.
Arsenal and Spurs fans would put playing Chelsea just under the North London derby now, and I think we’re set for a really big game at White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Obviously I have my ties to both clubs, and I was lucky to get the best of both worlds in terms of this fixture. Tottenham had a great run against Chelsea when I played, and then when I managed Chelsea we had a good run against Spurs too.
Spurs Will Scent Blood
This season will be the first time for many years that Tottenham will go into this game with a real chance of keeping Chelsea stuck below them, making this an even bigger game than perhaps the North London derby was the other week.
If Spurs win then they’ll go 13 points ahead of Chelsea, and that could be too big a gap to make up. I’d imagine that the likes of Man City, Man Utd and Arsenal would want Spurs to win, too, as it would just keep Chelsea at arm’s length.
I still think Chelsea are capable of getting in the top four if they can put a run together, they’ve got great players after all, but the league would surely be beyond them. Having said that, this season is so open I really don’t know who’ll win the league!
I’m not sure if Spurs can win it, or Man Utd or Arsenal. Man City are probably the strongest but they might be looking at the Champions League, Everton and Liverpool could get runs going, and obviously there’s Leicester who’ve been brilliant. It’s so open, and it’s great for English football.
Alli Blow, But Kane Can Fire
One big blow for Spurs on Sunday is that they’ll be missing Dele Alli through suspension after he was booked against West Ham.
I’ve been really impressed with Alli. He’s a young man who wants to do well, he’s a good tackler and good at recovering the ball, but from what I’ve seen he just gets involved in silly things from time to time. He needs to channel his aggression better and let his football do the talking.
Spurs will miss him, but they can adjust. Maybe Mousa Dembele will move back alongside Eric Dier and Christian Eriksen can go central, meaning a winger will come in. Or Ryan Mason could come into midfield. They have good options.
One man who’ll definitely play is of course Harry Kane, and he again showed his quality against West Ham with two goals.
I still think he has work to do to rival the likes of Sergio Aguero, but there’s little doubt that Kane will be a top, top player in the next four or five years, and the key thing for Spurs is to hold onto him. They are building something at Tottenham, and in the past whenever they have been building something it’s been torn down when a key player leaves.
What I like about Harry is that he’s had his tough spell but he’s come through it. Great forwards that I managed – Alan Shearer, Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler – would all have tough spells too, but it’s all about how you react, and Kane has reacted brilliantly. He’ll be important at the weekend.
Chelsea On The Way Back?
Speaking of reacting to bad runs, Chelsea have now enjoyed back-to-back wins over Norwich and Maccabi Tel-Aviv so they’ll be feeling better about themselves.
Those were matches you’d really expect them to win though, and bar a 30-35 minute spell when I saw them against Arsenal I still don’t think they’ve been themselves. Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic were all on their game that day and will need to be so again here. A draw would be a great result for them, though.
Sharing The Spoils
I don’t think there’ll be a lot of goals on Sunday.
Spurs have tightened up this season. That diamond of Hugo Lloris, his centre-backs Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld and Dier in front of them have all been very solid.
Chelsea could raise their game after those two wins. They’ll be a bit more buoyant, and so I think this game has a draw written all over it. Maybe 1-1.
Draw – 3.45
Correct Score 1-1 – 7.00
I’m Backing Vardy To Fire Again
Just as an extra this week, we can’t not mention the man everyone’s talking about – Jamie Vardy.
The Leicester forward hasn’t really been given the credit for what he’s done with his goalscoring record, but if he’s the top scorer at the end of the season and in the England squad for the Euros then he’ll deserve all the plaudits he gets.
He’s got immense pace, he feels at home in a blue Leicester shirt and Leicester are playing with so much freedom right now. If this was a new player who’d joined our league from abroad this season we’d all be doing somersaults!
As I said about Kane, I still want to see what happens once he stops scoring – which he will at some point – but I think he can score again against Man Utd on Saturday and set a new Premier League record of scoring in 11 games in a row.
United are a little short at the back, and if Daley Blind plays in the centre then Vardy’s pace could trouble him, so that could bring him some joy in what should be a great game.
Glenn’s Extra Tip
Jamie Vardy To Score At Any Time v Man Utd – 2.55