Ahead of the blockbuster London derby between Chelsea and Tottenham on Super Sunday, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp joined the Essential Football podcast to explain Spurs’ transformation under Antonio Conte and the transfers which would set the Blues on course for a top-four finish…
‘This is a different Tottenham’
Tottenham have had some terrible results at Chelsea and the history of the fixture has not always been kind to Tottenham, but it does feel that this is a different Tottenham Hotspur right now.
The manager Antonio Conte has done a great job, he’s instilled that will to win, drive, desire, and the players are running through brick walls for him. That hasn’t always been the case with previous managers and they look incredibly strong.
The players they’ve signed, they’re not typical signings for Tottenham because they’re ready to win right now and normally Tottenham buy for the future. But they’ve been very clever and confident in what they’ve done. I like how they’ve done it.
This is their first full pre-season with Conte and I’ve spoken with a couple of the players and it’s been a bit of an eye opener, but they feel stronger than ever. I wouldn’t like to say they could go for the title just yet, but they’ll certainly go close and I’d be amazed if they don’t get a trophy.
This feels like everything is ready for Conte to get that trophy the fans have been longing for so long.
They are in the best shape they’ve been in for an awfully long time. That’s credit to Conte and also to chairman Daniel Levy for giving him what he wants.
‘Fofana, De Jong and Aubameyang guarantee top four for Chelsea’
Chelsea have taken quite a bit of stick, but Kalidou Koulibaly has been a good signing, they’re trying to get Wesley Fofana and I wouldn’t be surprised if they get him. They spent big money on Marc Cucurella – too much in my opinion but he’s still a really, really good player.
Raheem Sterling in any market is a brilliant signing. They miss a No 9 but there’s talk about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang coming in and Frenkie de Jong – who they are interested in signing from Barcelona – is one of the best midfield players in the world.
If they get Fofana, Aubameyang and De Jong, they’re guaranteeing Champions League football with that.
I’m a massive fan of De Jong. I feel sorry for him in a way because he’s in limbo. It feels like he wants to come to London and isn’t too keen on going to Manchester. Whoever gets him, he’s a game changer for them. Chelsea certainly have problems in that area – Jorginho is not long-term in terms of his physicality.
Sunday 14th August 4:00pm
Kick off 4:30pm
He’s done brilliantly and been an amazing player for Chelsea, Champions League winner and for Italy winning the European Championships, but De Jong gives them a different dimension with pace and strength, playing at the base of midfield, giving N’Golo Kante license to go and do what he wants.
He’d be an amazing signing and a real statement of intent if they could beat Man Utd to that one.
As for Aubameyang, he was such a disappointment at Arsenal towards the end. He did OK at Barcelona but they’re obviously keen to offload him again. As a stop-gap for a year, it probably wouldn’t be the worst signing.
I was quite critical of him last year. I didn’t think he put the effort in for Arsenal. It looked like he wasn’t the same player. But for one season… it’s not one that would inspire me, but he would come with a bit of a point to prove.
Spurs have a terrible record at Stamford Bridge – but I think they’ll win on Sunday
This is the best shape Spurs have been in for a long time, but if you think of the really good teams they’ve had, Mauricio Pochettino’s team, my dad’s team when they had Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, that record [one win in their last 37 trips to Stamford Bridge in all competitions] is pretty incredible.
The way they’re playing and the way Chelsea played at Everton, Spurs probably fancy going there and getting three points. Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane didn’t score at the weekend and will want a piece of the action, Dejan Kulusevski has been a really good signing…
Spurs are really well equipped, aggressive and hungry and ready to have a right go this year. I actually think Tottenham will go there and get three points. I think Tottenham are the one to watch this season. The manager has the players in he wants and they’re going to be a real force this season make no mistake.
We’ve set this game up in the past with Kane and Son and making sure they can hit them on the counter-attack, but if Chelsea play same back three as they did on Saturday – Cesar Azpilicueta, Koulibaly, Thiago Silva – they’re not going to play high up the pitch and leave space in behind. They will play it in a very clever way.
Chelsea have got Sterling, Mason Mount and Kai Havertz who can cause problems for anybody. I think this is going to be a really cagey game. I have a feeling for Tottenham but you have to be respectful for Chelsea and what they’ve achieved over the years.
I’ve had it at Liverpool and Tottenham where there are certain places you go and you don’t get a good feeling because you’ve lost there so many times. The feeling for Tottenham going to Stamford Bridge is a bad one.
But Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has spoken about being in transition. Well, Tottenham aren’t in transition. They’re ready to win and that’s why this is a game, this early in the season, which suits Tottenham.
Watch Chelsea vs Tottenham live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event from 4pm on Sunday; kick-off 4.30pm.