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Tottenham round-up: Next season’s Wembley capacity update; cup rivals aiming to derail trophy hunt

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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”.

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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.

Scott is a Port Vale fan who writes regularly for The Boot Room as a freelancer. He is a fan of several sports but most of his experience in journalism comes from football and volleyball. He has produced several works on major Championships for both the FIVB and CEV in the volleyball world out in Switzerland, and is currently studying for a BA Hons in Modern Languages at the University of Oxford.

English Premier League

It Tottenham Hotspur sign Cedric Soares, Kyle Walker-Peters must move on

If Tottenham Hotspur want Cedric Soares, then Kyle Walker-Peters should force a Tottenham exit.

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It is being reported by The Mirror that Tottenham Hotspur are in the hunt for three Portugal internationals this summer. The report claims that Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves, Sporting Lisbon winger Gelson Martins and, finally, Southampton right-back Cedric Soares are all on the radar of Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino.

The former duo makes sense for Spurs, central midfield and wide areas remain a problem for the club. But Soares seems a waste of time and money.

Undoubtedly the 26-year-old is a great right-back, but the report comes in the same week as ESPN reported Tottenham were ready to offer young full-back Kyle Walker-Peters a new deal at the club.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The 21-year-old has shown glimpses of real talent during his time at Spurs and will soon be hoping to break into the first-team picture. The offer of a new deal would be a major indicator that the England under-20 World Cup winner has a long-term future at the club.

Signing Soares would be a massive barrier to that end goal.

It would leave Spurs having Kieran Trippier and Serge Aurier as well as Soares and Walker-Peters.

If the idea is to sell Aurier, who has failed to convince since arriving from PSG in the summer, then Tottenham should not replace him with an expensive new recruit.

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Walker-Peters is ready and waiting to go in the first-team and most fans believe he has what it takes to be a star under Pochettino.

Bringing in Soares would seem something of an unnecessary exercise from Tottenham and one which would surely leave Walker-Peters questioning his role at the club.

Tottenham should instead continue with their pursuit of a new deal for their young talent, who can operate on both the right and left side of the defence. If not, the 21-year-old should seriously consider forcing an exit away from Spurs, as it would appear his chance with the first-team is never forthcoming.

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English Premier League

Aston Villa reportedly not keen on keeping Josh Onomah, so what next?

The talented England youth international has had a mixed campaign at Aston Villa and Tottenham have a decision to make.

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Reports this week have confirmed what has long been suspected regarding Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Joshua Onomah. The talented maestro headed to Aston Villa at the start of the season in the hunt for regular first-team football. But next season he will not be at Villa Park, as the club have decided not to make any move to retain him next term – according to the Birmingham Mail.

This is no shock for Aston Villa or Tottenham fans. Onomah has had a difficult season at Villa Park. The 20-year-old has played plenty of football during his spell in the Midlands. Onomah has featured 34 times for Steve Bruce’s side and scored four goals. But his form has been indifferent throughout the campaign. The second-half of the season saw his form drop off dramatically. Since the turn of the year, Onomah has played just 10 times, mostly as a substitute.

Aston Villa fans were vocal in their displeasure at Onomah’s performances, perceiving him to be lackadaisical and disinterested. Most wanted to see their own talents such as Callum O’Hare and Keinan Davis get a shot instead.

(X during the Premier League 2 match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on February 5, 2017 in Liverpool, England.

So what next for Onomah?

He started the campaign with great hope. After playing a pivotal role in the England under-20 World Cup win, many felt this could be his breakthrough season.

But his spell at Villa has just highlighted the fact he is far from the finished article.

As far as a future at Tottenham goes, it is hard to see him not being loaned out again next term. Spurs have ample options in the centre of midfield – with the likes of Mousa Dembele, Moussa Sissoko, Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama and Harry Winks all at Mauricio Pochettino’s service. With rumours of new central midfield options also arriving Onomah is likely to be loaned out again next season.

If that is the case, Spurs must choose his next location with more care. Villa already have plenty of midfield options and the youngsters coming through led to resentment among much of the fanbase whenever Onomah got the nod ahead of them.

If Tottenham can find Onomah a home in the Championship where he can play regular football week in and week out and be a star for the fans that would be the ideal solution.

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Crystal Palace

Three potential England replacements for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

The Liverpool midfielder has been ruled out of the summer’s World Cup.

Jake Jackman

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It looked bad for Liverpool and England when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was stretchered off during the first half of the Reds’ game against AS Roma in the Champions League and their worst fears were confirmed on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old has suffered a knee injury, which will keep him out of the rest of the season and this summer’s World Cup.

This is incredibly harsh news to take for the midfielder, who had been playing the best football of his career under Jurgen Klopp.

Last summer, he made a huge career decision as he chose to leave Arsenal to join top-six rivals Liverpool and, in hindsight, it has been a great move for him.

His influence and consistency have stood out from the centre of the park and England would have benefitted from that in Russia.

However, Gareth Southgate needs to readjust quickly and find a suitable alternative to the Liverpool midfielder.

Here are three players that could replace Oxlade-Chamberlain and receive a World Cup call this summer:

Ruben Loftus-Cheek – Crystal Palace

The injury to Oxlade-Chamberlain has opened up an opportunity for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who will now have a chance of making the plane for Russia.

The midfielder has impressed at Crystal Palace and he delivered an assured performance against Germany on his international debut. Although injuries have hindered his progress since he remains one of the only dynamic midfielders available to Gareth Southgate.

Against Germany, he completed 96.2% of his passes and completed four successful dribbles. There were a lot of people that thought the call came too soon, but he looked at home on the international stage and he will be unknown to a lot of the teams England are due to face.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was going to provide the power and pace in the England midfield. Loftus-Cheek may not be as experienced as the Liverpool man, but he can step up and perform a similar role. If he can finish the season strongly, he will have a great chance of making the squad.

England Training Session And Press Conference

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Jonjo Shelvey – Newcastle United

There are growing calls for the Newcastle United midfielder to be called up by Gareth Southgate and they will only increase with the news of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury.

Shelvey won’t be able to step into the same role, but he can provide different qualities and could be a worthy selection for England.

Newcastle’s recent surge up the league table have shown Shelvey in a good light and he has been a major reason for his team’s success.

The 26-year-old dictates the game from deep and has a passing range that can’t be matched by any other English player.

Against Arsenal, he was putting his team-mates in on goal at will and there is a place for his skills in the national set-up.

England have a number of quick attacking players and against better teams, Shelvey would provide a good option.

Southgate will need to set his side up to counter-attack and there is no better player to pick out the runs of Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy than the Newcastle midfielder.

There are risks to selecting the 26-year-old, but he deserves to be considered for the summer’s tournament.

(Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Dele Alli – Tottenham

The Tottenham midfielder is going to go to the World Cup. Nobody can debate that, but he has found himself out of the starting eleven during recent friendly matches.

The injury to Oxlade-Chamberlain may benefit him, as there will now be a midfield position up for grabs.

Alli isn’t as comfortable in a central role as Oxlade-Chamberlain, but his goal threat and intelligent movement means that he could step into the starting eleven and play well.

The 22-year-old has had his critics this season, but a return of eight goals and ten assists in the Premier League underline the quality that he provides to a team.

Southgate will need to make sure Alli knows his defensive responsibilities and that the player carries them out to the letter, as England can’t afford to carry a midfield player.

At the age of 22, this summer could be an opportunity to break out for the Tottenham man.

It would be a risk to start him in a deeper role, but the rewards may be worth it.

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