According to an opinion piece on BBC Sport, former Spurs midfielder Jermaine Jenas thinks Tottenham are good enough to be crowned champions next season, if only they were staying at White Hart Lane.
Jenas, 34, in normal circumstances, has stated he would have tipped Tottenham as next season’s title favourites. However, the Match of the Day pundit also suggested that playing home games at Wembley while White Hart Lane is redeveloped into the new stadium will be their sole downfall. He said:
“If Spurs were staying at White Hart Lane then I would be thinking they can go on and win the Premier League, but Wembley is a genuine issue for them.”
“Premier League rules do not allow them to change the pitch size to make it the same as at the Lane, where they have been in such brilliant form this season on a pitch that is 440 square metres smaller than the one they will play on at Wembley.”
Premier League rules dictate that, where possible, the pitch has to be at the very least at a size of 105m x 68m. The pitch at White Hart Lane fell below those standards at 100m x 67m, but there was no room to extend to the minimum size. At Wembley, the pitch is 105m x 69m, but Tottenham are expected to change the pitch size at Wembley to be the minimum. 105m x 68m will also be the size of the pitch at Tottenham’s new stadium when they move in during the 2018/19 season.
Jenas claims that, as a player who’s played many times at both grounds, players can tell the difference between the pitch sizes at White Hart Lane and at Wembley. He also revealed that this can strongly affect how you play your football.
He added: “When I played at Wembley for England, I always noticed the difference with a bigger pitch – the game is slower and you get more time on the ball, and it also seemed to take longer for play to shift from one end to the other.”
“So you cannot easily play the game that Spurs like to play that makes them the team that they are at White Hart Lane – that likes to get in teams’ faces, press them and win the ball back high up the pitch.”
Jenas however, in spite of his Wembley concerns, does not think it will be hard for Tottenham to adapt to their new stadium.
“I am confident that will be easy to do when they move into their new stadium in 2018 because they can start building the memories that will make it feel like home, but being at Wembley for a year will be a lot harder to deal with.”
This season at Wembley Spurs won just 1 out of 5 games, losing 3. Personally, the defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final was more of an injustice, because I felt we played some of our best football of the season over those 90 minutes. So I’m not necessarily concerned with bringing our form to the national stadium, but are you? Do you think Wembley will be a problem for us next year? Or do you think the team have matured enough to rise to the challenge
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