As White Hart Lane continues to be re-developed alongside the construction of Tottenham’s brand-new stadium, it is looking increasingly likely that the club’s proposed move to Wembley on a temporary basis for the 2017/18 season will go ahead, after Brent Council reportedly advised local councillors to approve 22 extra full-capacity events at the national stadium, according to the London Evening Standard.
The committee running the arena have put forward the proposals on Tottenham’s behalf, which if granted would enable the North Londoners to use Wembley’s full 90,000 allocation for every Premier League home fixture next season.
A decision is set to be made regarding the application on 23 March, which runs dangerously close to the estimated 31 March deadline by which Tottenham must have briefed the FA on their plans regarding Wembley. It is now a case of waiting and hoping, as Brent Council’s local planning committee come to a decision.
It is clear that the club is aspiring towards the Wembley move for next season, but the North Londoners are yet to confirm officially that they will be departing White Hart Lane at the end of the season, and as to whether or not Wembley will be their temporary residence.
The report does claim however, that several farewell preparations to their traditional home are being planned for their final home clash of the season with Manchester United, which suggests an official announcement and a goodbye to White Hart Lane will be following shortly. Their ability to utilise Wembley’s full resources, if they end up there, is of course yet to be decided.
Meanwhile, as Spurs prepare themselves to continue their Premier League campaign minus injured talisman Harry Kane, this weekend’s opponents Southampton are out to upset the apple-cart on their visit to White Hart Lane, as Saints’ James Ward-Prowse and Cedric Soares declared they are looking to quell Tottenham’s momentum and put an end to their winning run, and possibly their faint title aspirations.
It will be the last league match for either side before the international break, and Ward-Prowse is keen to rack-up a third straight win before then against second-place Spurs, following consecutive victories against Sunderland and Watford, the latter of which was a nail-biting 3-2 victory.
Speaking to Southampton’s official website, Ward-Prowse said: “We showed great character in the way that we bounced back and showed the depth of that character in the win at Watford.
“Football revolves around momentum and I think we can carry into the Tottenham game.
“They’ve got a bit of momentum themselves and I think it’ll be an important game to win heading into that international break.”
The loss of Harry Kane will surely provide Saints with some heart for the trip north to the Lane, with Son Heung-Min, who netted a hat-trick against Millwall last time out, and Vincent Janssen- who scored his first goal in open play for the club- the likely candidates to fill in for him.
In his interview with their official website, Southampton defender Cedric Soares stressed the importance of not being complacent even in Kane’s absence, but did warn that they would not make it as easy for Spurs as they have found some of their home games this season.
“They are very well-organised and of course it’s going to be tough but we are definitely in a good moment”, the Portugal international said.
“Everyone feels that and we breed confidence right now so I think if we go there and play our game we will have our chance”.
Anything other than victory against an in-form Saints would surely seal the doom of Tottenham’s fading title hopes this campaign, with Chelsea’s ten-point cushion at the Premier League summit almost unassailable as it is. That said, the FA Cup remains a realistic chance for the club to add to their trophy cabinet this season for the first time since 2008, and they will once again do battle with old foe Chelsea, in the semi-final.
Their 2-1 League Cup final triumph nine years ago after extra-time against the Blues remains the most recent cup capture for the North Londoners, but Chelsea exorcised those demons with victory in the final of the same tournament over Spurs two years ago.
This season, Chelsea are the runaway league leaders, with both teams having won one match apiece against each other in the league, and this upcoming clash may be of the biggest magnitude between the two this campaign.
Tottenham dispatched Chelsea 2-0 at White Hart Lane in the most recent meeting between the two sides- their first win in four against the Blues- which would suggest a very even semi-final will follow. But with doubts over Harry Kane’s fitness going into the game, and the psychological constraints Spurs seemingly have playing at Wembley, it could be another testing encounter, with Chelsea’s N’Golo Kanté also firing off a warning that the complacency which was evident at White Hart Lane in January will not be present at Wembley.
Speaking to the Independent, the Frenchman said: “I think when we lost, we have to think about why we lost. That’s what we do.
“Tottenham was our last defeat, we have to keep going, we react very well after Tottenham and we have to keep going. We have learned from our defeat.
“We are going to fight for every competition. The cup is a target, we are going to play to win every game, we are going to play to win against Tottenham”.
Chelsea will be playing in pursuit of a league and cup double whilst Spurs are looking to salvage some silverware to put the gloss on another promising season under Mauricio Pochettino. Much will rest on whether Harry Kane can return to fitness in time, but secondly, Tottenham must banish their Wembley hoodoo to not only give themselves a chance of winning the coveted trophy, but to give themselves the opportunity to excel next season if they take-up residence under the arch.
Featured Image: All Rights Reserved by David Hildyard.