SINGAPORE — Can Tottenham Hotspur mount a credible challenge for the English Premier League (EPL) title? Much could depend on their secret weapon, winger Dejan Kulusevski.
The Swede was signed on an 18-month loan deal from Juventus in January, and has made an immediate impact in Antonio Conte's side, scoring five goals and assisting eight times in 18 league games last season.
This new season, the 22-year-old has picked up where he left off, scoring once and adding an assist in Spurs' sparkling 4-1 opening victory against Southampton on Saturday (6 August).
Ahead of their visit to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea this Sunday, Spurs fan Daryl Spykerman said on Yahoo News Singapore's "Footballing Weekly" show that Kulusevski could very well be an integral cog in Tottenham's attack together with established stars Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.
"He's not someone that other fans may talk about as much as Kane or Son, but Kulusevski is fast showing that he is the third danger man in Spurs' lineup," he said.
"Conte has brought in Richarlison this season to compete for the starting line-up, but it won't be easy to drop Kulusevski to the bench. He has strength on the ball and cuts in very well from the flank. Hopefully, his form may long continue."
Tottenham, however, have a wretched record against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, winning there just once out of their last 37 matches in all competitions. Which is why Daryl is hesitant in predicting a victory for Spurs on Sunday.
"I'm predicting a 2-2 draw," he said. "I saw Chelsea's win against Everton on Sunday and they looked good, playing well as a team. It will be difficult game for Spurs."
However, football columnist Neil Humphreys feels that Tottenham will be disappointed if they could not get a win against Conte's former team.
"Spurs will never have a better time to beat Chelsea than right now," he said during the show. "(Blues manager) Thomas Tuchel is ranting about a curse on their No.9 shirt, Kai Havertz is playing as if he's haunted, Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling are no centre-forwards. They have problems in scoring and Tuchel is not a happy manager."
It will be a test of Tottenham's title credentials this Sunday, but with in-form Kulusevski on the wing, Spurs could for once feel confident in getting a rare victory in their London rivals' home ground.
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