THE LEGEND – DAVID HOWELLS
David joined us in 1984, turned professional a year later and made a goalscoring debut in 1986. An all-action midfielder, he went on to make 335 appearances for us before departing for Southampton in 1998. A member of our FA Cup-winning team of 1991, David scored in our last win at Stamford Bridge.
“I think the midfield area is the battle we’ll have to win if we’re going to win the game. People are saying it’s a must-win game for Chelsea and not a must-win game for us but I’d look at it the other way around and like we do in every game, we have to go out there with the mindset to try and win it. We have to look at it as an opportunity to put a decent gap between us and them and to send a message out. We all know it’s been too long since we won there and we need to bury that and show we’re a different team now. It’s a chance to show what we’re about. It’s a big game for more than one reason.
“If we can dominate the midfield area – like we do in most games – I don’t see a reason why we can’t win there. For me, that’s the key and when you look at the manager’s options in there – Dembele, Dier, Wanyama – you are looking at strength, power and quality, and good experience now as well. They are all established international players and they will up against the same at Chelsea. It’s the area that needs to be won if we’re to go on and get a result.”
THE PUNDIT – HENRY WINTER
Henry is chief football writer of The Times. A five-times winner of football journalist of the year in England, he is a Ballon d’Or judge and in 2018 will cover his eighth World Cup finals.
“Big games after international breaks can be disjointed but there’s so much riding on this one, far more than local pride, because of the race for Champions League qualification and because a player of Dele Alli’s talent and ambition will have something to prove after sitting on the bench for England. Alli could be key against Chelsea. People seem to be writing Alli off at the moment, forgetting that he put in one of the best performances of the season against Real Madrid. Assuming he’s shaken off the slight groin problem, Alli’s timing and finishing could cause Chelsea serious problems, and at the very least he will occupy N’Golo Kante. Alli’s ability to get away from Kante could be one of the key duels.
“Alli and Christian Eriksen should find space because Chelsea cannot afford to be cautious. They have to attack otherwise qualifying for the Champions League will become even more of a distant dream. Even a draw doesn’t help Chelsea as Spurs would still be five points ahead with a goal difference (+9 over Chelsea) worth another point. To get more on the front foot, Antonio Conte’s need for the passing quality of Cesc Fabregas could help Spurs attackers as he does not contribute so much defensively. Spurs will miss Harry Kane but Heung-min Son is in superb form, and his pacey movement may find joy in or behind Chelsea’s back-three.
“Spurs have won only twice in 18 against Chelsea so victory would be a huge statement of intent by the visitors. It would all but seal Champions League qualification, and would be another reminder of their stronger mentality under Mauricio Pochettino. The game is so full of key areas such as Spurs’ need to keep an eye on Willian’s breaks, track Eden Hazard’s movement (as he’s often a threat against Spurs), guard against a slow start, and also get tight to Marcos Alonso as he looks to attack crosses and corners.
“It will inevitably be feisty, because it’s a Derby and there’s so much at stake, and it would be no complete surprise to see the game finish in a draw with a dismissal or two.” Via:tottenhamhotspur.com