Football: Weekend guide to the Premiership: Match Of The Weekend: Chelsea v Tottenham

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The Independent Online
IN A POSSIBLE case of reverse psychology, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, George Graham, was tipping Chelsea to win the League yesterday.

"I believe it could be their year because Chelsea have the depth and strength in their squad to keep them right up there with the Manchester Uniteds and the Arsenals," Graham said. "And the difference with them this season is that they are much more consistent, picking up points from games which last season they would have lost."

And though he fears for the future of home-grown players amid the mass importation of overseas talent, he said he would happily adopt Gianluca Vialli's foreign policy if it meant turning Tottenham into title contenders.

"The possible long-term effects on young English players trying to break through are obvious but, as a manager, you can only do one thing at a time," he said.

"And the first is to make sure your club is successful. Chelsea have got it right now. I'd love to do the same at Tottenham with all British players but if it means getting the quality I want then I wouldn't hesitate to buy abroad. Don't be surprised if we make some signings before long. Some people are saying that because we've done well in terms of recent results that I won't get the chequebook out but that's not true.

Dennis Wise misses out for Chelsea as he begins his latest suspension, but the Blues are able to welcome back centre-backs Marcel Desailly and Franck Leboeuf. Desailly has recovered from the knee injury which kept him out of the midweek draw at Manchester United, while Leboeuf is available again after missing that game due to a one-match ban.

Full-back Graeme Le Saux is also expected to be fit after being taken off with a knock at Old Trafford on Wednesday, while midfielder Roberto Di Matteo could play against Spurs with a brace protecting his injured hand.

Justin Edinburgh returns to the Tottenham squad three weeks after a knee operation as Graham's squad chase their first Premiership away win under his management. Full-back Edinburgh, who had surgery to remove some flaking bone inside the knee, could replace winger Andy Sinton who has deputised in defence in the last four games but collected a a shin injury against Manchester United last Saturday.

Centre-backs John Scales and Ramon Vega are still missing through injuries and 19-year-old Luke Young looks set to play his fifth senior game in a row.

CHELSEA (from): De Goey, Hitchcock, Kharine, Leboeuf, Babayaro, Desailly, Le Saux, Ferrer, Myers, Duberry, Lambourde, Terry, Petrescu, Di Matteo, Poyet, Goldbaek, Nicholls, Morris, Vialli, Zola, Flo.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (from): Walker; Carr, Calderwood, Young, Campbell, Edinburgh, Sinton, Wilson, Fox, Nielsen, Anderton, Ginola, Ferdinand, Armstrong, Allen, Clemence, Dominguez, Baardsen (gk).

Suspensions: Chelsea: Wise.

Referee: G Poll.

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