Ahead of tonight’s potentially Premier League-deciding clash between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, CaughtOffside picks a combined XI of the best players from each of the London rivals…
(Only those available for this evening’s derby at Stamford Bridge are considered – so no Dele Alli!)
GK: Thibaut Courtois
Choosing between Courtois and Lloris was probably the biggest dilemma when picking this team. Both are world-class goalkeepers. Courtois has not been as formidable as he was as Chelsea won the league last season, but is still probably a better all-round stopper. He is lucky to keep Lloris out on form though.
RB: Cesar Azpilicueta
The Spaniard is a very clever defender and less liable to mistakes than Kyle Walker.
CB: Toby Alderweireld
Probably the best centre-back in the Premier League. Has transformed Tottenham’s defensive fortunes.
CB: Jan Vertonghen
None of Chelsea’s centre-backs have had good campaigns and Vertonghen, after a couple of sticky seasons, has raised his standards to form an excellent partnership with his Belgian compatriot.
LB: Danny Rose
The PFA Team of the Year left-back makes a mockery of the £21.7m that Chelsea spent on Baba Rahman last summer – fee reported by the Daily Mail. Rose has come on leaps and bounds this term.
CM: Eric Dier
Has emerged as a vital player for Spurs since being moved into midfield by Mauricio Pochettino, and looks well placed to be first-choice holding midfielder for club and country for years to come.
CM: Mousa Dembele
Dembele is every bit as strong as Nemanja Matic, and is also an outstanding ball carrier, very skilful and more of a goal threat. The ultra-talented Belgian has finally showed his true potential this campaign.
The one Chelsea player who has not allowed his performance levels to drop this campaign. If he had not slipped through Tottenham’s net a couple of years ago, Spurs may well have ended up champions.
AMC: Cesc Fabregas
The ex-Arsenal skipper is very fortunate that Alli is suspended, because it would be impossible to leave the 20-year-old prodigy out. But Fabregas has rediscovered his magic since Jose Mourinho left.
AML: Christian Eriksen
It took Eden Hazard until last weekend to score his first Premier League goal of the season. Eriksen has six goals and 12 assists in the top flight this year, and is more consistent than the flakey Belgian.
ST: Harry Kane
Diego Costa is a top-class number nine, but Kane is the league’s top scorer with 24 goals and has gone from strength to strength this term. He has developed into a complete forward, one of the best around.
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