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Pundit tips two teams to mount unlikely title challenge

November 10, 2020

Paul Merson believes both Tottenham and Chelsea are capable of mounting a Premier League title challenge.

Despite both teams having their issues so far this season, Tottenham and Chelsea are within three points of surprise leaders Leicester after eight games.

Jose Mourinho has guided Spurs to second with five wins and one defeat, outscored only by a Chelsea side that sits three places and two points behind.


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Merson feels the Portuguese – along with Harry Kane – gives them a genuine chance to compete with Liverpool for their crown.

“It’s a hard question to answer. They are going to be very reliant on Harry Kane,” he told Sky Sports.

“But, to be fair, results like the win at West Brom, they win you league titles. You look back on results like that and come what may, you remember it as a difficult game against one of the teams down at the bottom, who couldn’t win a game but turned up on the day, and it turns out to be an important win.

“That’s what you are up against if you want to win the Premier League. You watched West Brom against Fulham and they were atrocious. You start to think Tottenham have only got to turn up on Sunday morning and as long as they don’t forget their boots, they’ll win the game and move on.

“But in the end, it was a very hard game and Mourinho is probably sitting there asking himself why they didn’t turn up and play like that against Fulham. That’s how hard the Premier League is.

“Can Spurs go on and win the title? It’s not impossible and that’s because they’ve got a serial winner as a manager. They’ve got a chance because Mourinho is in charge and has won it before. He knows what it takes to get over the line.

“Can the players keep producing week in, week out? Only time will tell, but having Mourinho at the club gives them an advantage.

“Mauricio Pochettino was a good manager, don’t get me wrong. However, they’ve now got more chance of winning the title because of Mourinho. He knows what you have to do week in, week out and then all over again.

“You have to be there or thereabouts all the time. You cannot be giving teams six, seven or eight-point head starts, and they are right in the mix at the moment.

“A word of caution, though. Everyone’s talking about the title and because it is November, people think we’re nearly halfway through the season. Usually we’d have played about 15 games by now and that’s a massive difference, but we’ve only played seven or eight games.

“But when Mourinho won the title at Chelsea, they always got off to a flyer. He’s the only manager I know who treats every game like it is the last of the season. Every point mounts up and Mourinho always flies out of the stalls in a title-winning year.”

Merson also believes Chelsea can challenge.

“If we are going to talk about Tottenham winning the title, then Chelsea are right in the mix,” he said. If Spurs can win it, then for sure, Chelsea can win it.

“Frank Lampard has now got who he wants in key positions and you can really see the difference.

“Thiago Silva is world-class. They’ve got two full-backs who are as good as any in the league and for me, they are the two England full-backs, in my opinion. They are outstanding. Silva is also only going to make Kurt Zouma a better player and the goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is solid.

“I know Sheffield United are down at the bottom at the moment, but they are a hard team to play against. They are organised and when you go 1-0 down, you know it’s going to be a difficult evening.

“However, they literally dismantled Sheffield United. They made them look like a proper relegation team, which I don’t see that because I think Sheffield United will be okay this season. They made them look distinctly average and that’s a sign of a good team.”

Mark Smith and Matt Stead know all about disappointments. Join them to discover that Chelsea are the only Big Six club without representation on this week’s top ten.

 

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