Club Focus – Tottenham – Spurs looking to heap more misery on Chelsea

This weekend sees Tottenham host London rivals and Premier League champions Chelsea in a match that could make or break both teams’ title hopes. Obviously so early in the season, that is a huge call to make, but with Chelsea on an unusually bad streak, and Tottenham struggling to find some consistent away form, a win for either side would put them back on course for a charge on the top spot.

Spurs will be going into the match with some confidence following their 3-3 away draw to FC Twente in the Champions League on Wednesday – a game that saw Jermaine Defoe score twice, a timely boost for boss Harry Redknapp. Chelsea on the other hand left France with nothing, after a 1-0 defeat in Marseille during their final group match.

Defoe’s goalscoring form will be key to Tottenham’s season. In recent weeks, Redknapp’s attacking force has struggled to find the net and Spurs have had to rely on the midfield threats of Gareth Bale, Rafael Van der Vaart and Aaron Lennon. But with Defoe back in the goals, it will give the manager some much-needed confidence heading into this weekend’s clash at White Hart Lane. One concern for Redknapp will be his side’s inability to keep a clean sheet, and he will have to make a big decision whether to recall his most important defender Michael Dawson to the starting line-up, but after coming back so soon from injury, there will be worries about the England international’s fitness for such a crucial match, so Cameroon defender Sebastien Bassong could retain his place alongside former Chelsea player William Gallas.

Tottenham will be high on confidence heading into Sunday after finishing top of Group A in the Champions’ League. An effort praised by Redknapp, despite only coming away from Holland with a point. The draw and Inter’s loss at Werder Bremen meant the London side finished one point above the European champions and effectively means they will avoid any big-name sides in the last 16 of the knockout stages of the tournament.

The Chelsea game could not have come at a better time for Redknapp and his side. A team who were once seven points clear just a few weeks ago now lie third and struggling for form, picking up just six points out of a possible 21 in the league. In a time where Ancelotti is feeling the heat, Tottenham will look to put more pressure on the Italian manager at a ground where the Blues have not won for three years.

The absence of Frank Lampard has proved to be catastrophic, but Tottenham have injury worries of their own with the key midfield quartet of Luka Modric, Van der Vaart, Tom Huddlestone and Jermaine Jenas all doubtful or out through injuries. One thing Redknapp can expect is a midfield battle against the Champions, but with important players missing, and despite Chelsea’s late poor form, it may come as a harder task than expected.

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