Hoddle: Spurs have the edge against Chelsea, and the squad for a title challenge (From Haringey Independent)
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Former Spurs and Chelsea boss Glenn Hoddle says Spurs can earn Champions League place and maybe top the league
Andre Villas-Boas has a squad like no other Tottenham manager has had and this year could be their chance to win the title, according to Spurs legend Glenn Hoddle.
The former Tottenham player and manager, who also fulfilled both roles at Chelsea, believes Spurs have closed the gap on their rivals from west London and finally match the other top sides in terms of depth and quality.
Villas-Boas acquired £110million worth of top European talent in the summer in the hope Gareth Bale's world-record transfer to Real Madrid would not disrupt their pursuit of an annual place in the Champions League, and Spurs sit level on points with top-of-the-table Arsenal after five games.
Chelsea are fourth, two points below, and Hoddle believes Spurs will have the edge over Jose Mourinho's side when they clash in the London derby at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
“At the moment, as they stand, Tottenham have closed the gap on Chelsea,” Hoddle said. “Both teams are pretty close, but Spurs are in a good vein of form with a much strengthened squad.
“AVB has got a squad like no Spurs manager has had over the last 20 or 30 years. They have a real depth they've not had for a long time. They probably have a stronger squad than Arsenal and their bench is more like Man City's or Chelsea's – they can change things from there and that's important in big games.
“Chelsea have got a magnificent squad in depth but they're not as confident as they could be. They're not firing on all cylinders yet. It's going to be a tough game but tougher for Chelsea. If Mourinho goes across there and gets a point it would be a good thing at this stage of the season.
“If he goes and gets beaten by two or three goals – that would be a big thing.”
Tottenham would top the Premier League, if only for a short time, and move five points clear of Chelsea if that big thing were to happen, and a victory would undoubtedly mark a significant stride toward their goal of clinching the Champions League place that has eluded them for past two years.
Villas-Boas remains coy about the idea of his team going one step further and challenging for the title this season, but former England manager Hoddle predicts a wide open race for the trophy – and one that Spurs could take full advantage of.
“The title race is really open and that could be a chance for Tottenham,” he added. “United are nowhere near Tottenham or Chelsea at the moment. Liverpool have started well but can they sustain it? Man City; how do they get on against lesser teams? Arsenal have started well but they haven't been 100 per cent tested yet.
“Spurs looked pretty predictable in the early games this season, and that worried me a little bit, but Christian Eriksen is a really good signing. They've got a few flair players to open the door for the likes of [Roberto] Soldado and [Jermain] Defoe.
“If they can get the consistency and stability there then they have the squad and, at the moment, they can under-perform and still win matches. The top four is really realistic and where it goes from there [we will see]. It could be a stepping stone to winning the league.
Hoddle then dared suggest what most Tottenham supporters would deem unspeakable, adding: “If Gareth Bale had stayed then it might have been an even more interesting scenario.”
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