Tottenham v Chelsea Preview

The early kick off on a Saturday is normally a let down, but I think this one will be different.

It’s the second most fierce London derby in the Premier League and it’s rare that this game in particular doesn’t spark some controversy.

Their last meeting was in the FA cup semi-final where Juan Mata’s ‘Ghost Goal’ was the hot topic.

Now as they prepare to meet again, a lot has changed, will Andre Villas-Boas come back to haunt the blues?

I think he can and I think he will.

With the squad that Spurs have no has even more depth than last year and they have got rid of a lot of ‘deadwood’ as well.

Players like Dembele and Vertonghen have excelled in their roles this season and make Tottenham look a much more accomplished team.

“He’s almost unplayable when he’s on his game. He is a genuine world-class player.”

Gareth Bale was also today branded as world class by former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp and Bale hasn’t done that name tag any harm with the brilliant start he has made as well.

There is no doubt that Chelsea have also brought in some exciting players in the likes of Hazard, who is likely to trouble Tottenham.

This game is important for both teams, not just because of the local rivalry but because he can really set a foundation for the rest of their seasons.

Chelsea could maintain or even strengthen their four point lead at the top of the table and Tottenham can go within one point of their opponents with a victory.

The main incentive for Spurs to win this game comes from AVB. This man was treated horrifically by Chelsea, despite his lack or results.

He, more than anyone will want to prove to Roman Abramovich that he was wrong and that Villas-Boas does have what it takes to be a successful Premier League manager.

He has already got one over on Sir Alex Ferguson with an impressive victory two weeks ago, so can he do the same over Roberto DiMatteo, his former assistant at Stamford Bridge.

I Predict a narrow but comfortable victory for Spurs, they have masses of momentum going into this game with players such as Lennon and Bale performing well for their respected countries.

International Break

England look for their second consecutive victory tomorrow against Poland, but is the ‘International Break’ good for the Premier League?

Mangers, in particular, are affected by the break and many in the past have been known to have a little moan about it…but that’s what they do best.

Martin O’Neil had this to say about the international break:

“I’ve got no control what happens to them now so that’s a worry, although I’m not the only manager in that position.”

The international break shouldn’t give the players any fatigue as they are used to playing two-three times a week, however if a player was to get injured, that’s when a problem arises.

Theo Walcott was injured in England’s demolition of San Marino on Friday and is expected to be out for over two weeks.

This is a prime example of how Arsenal, a club potentially title challengers can be affected by their players going out on international duty.

Although, not all players are for the international break either, the phrase ‘club before country’ seemed to apply to Gareth Bale during the Olympics.

Despite his brace at the weekend against Scotland, he did pull out of Team GB’s squad for the London games and went on to play in a pre-season fixture for Tottenham just 10 days later.

Bale received criticism from former players like Gary Lineker and Robbie Savage who said they were: “Baffled” by his decision to pull out.

So, an international break has the potential to be quite controversial, and I believe that I have solved the problem.

Instead of several breaks throughout the season, we play one qualifying tournament in the summer.

The domestic season would finish much earlier, which would allow three weeks break before the tournament commences.

This would be ideal, there are no summer tournaments this year, so the players can commit to their clubs during the season, have a well earned break then commit to their country during the summer.

This would stop any complaints from club or national managers about their players returning back to training with a niggle that wasn’t there when they left.

‘World Cup Qualifying Tournament’, you heard it here first.

No ‘Dropped Balls’ for Spurs.

At the weekend Andre Villas-Boas gave Hugo Lloris his first start in the Premier League for Tottenham’s 2-0 victory over Aston Villa.

This decision is very strange, considering just two weeks ago he said: “We have made Hugo alert that whenever Brad has a bad game we won’t [drop him].”

Now just a fortnight on, AVB has already contradicted himself when he dropped Brad Friedel for the Aston Villa game on Saturday, to deny him his 311th consecutive Premier League appearance.

“We wanted to give a continuous run of games for Lloris bearing in mind the Panathinaikos match and two France games coming up, so it keeps his form high and allows us to count on two great keepers. So we are fortunate that we can do this rotation.”

Villas-Boas seems to want both keepers in good form, but dropping Spurs’ best player this season by a long stretch is a strange decision under any circumstances.

With time to ponder his decision will Villas Boas stick with Lloris after his clean sheet at the weekend or revert back to Friedel, when Chelsea visit White Hart Lane on the 20th October 2012.