Tottenham Hotspur are playing Chelsea at "the perfect time" and should pull six points clear of their London rivals on Sunday (20 August), according to Jamie Redknapp. The Premier League season might be just one game old but the two sides arrive at the first London derby of the season in contrasting moods.
Despite a very low-key transfer window, which has left them as the only team in the English top-flight yet to make a signing, Spurs opened their campaign with a convincing 2-0 win away at Newcastle United last week and are closing in on the signing of highly-rated Ajax defender Davinson Sanchez.
Chelsea, on the other hand, have spent just over £140m on Alvaro Morata, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Antonio Rudiger but Antonio Conte has repeatedly demanded more arrivals amid concerns his squad is not deep enough to cope with the strain of a Premier League season coupled with their return to European competition.
The ongoing saga surrounding Diego Costa, who has refused to return to training and wants to be sold to Atletico Madrid, has not improved the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge and Redknapp believes Chelsea's turmoil presents Spurs with a great chance.
"Chelsea are wounded, you couldn't ask for a better time to play them," he told Sky Sports. "You just feel a few of them are getting their parachutes out and making excuses.
"You're hearing things about Conte, 'He's not a great man-manager.' He was phenomenal last season."
The former Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder said he was left "surprised" by how Chelsea have handled the transfer window so far, particularly giving the rumblings of discontent that have come from their manager.
"There's a lot of negative energy around Chelsea," he said. "I've been so surprised by how they have managed this pre-season.
"When you don't play in Europe you can afford to have a thin squad. But then you go into the Champions League, sell one of your best players in [Nemanja] Matic and you have a problem with Costa, your main striker.
"They have weakened themselves when they should have been kicking on, it's incredible, but this start had been coming after their preparations."
Chelsea tumbled to a 3-2 defeat on the opening day of the season at home against Burnley and will be without the suspended Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas, while Eden Hazard is still out injured and Bakayoko is unlikely to be fit in time.
However, Spurs have some demons of their own to exorcise, as they host their first ever Premier League game at Wembley, a venue where they have often struggled. Last season, Pochettino's men managed just one win in the four games they played at Wembley across the Champions League and Europa League.
"All of a sudden there's a lot coming out of Chelsea that wasn't there last year so Tottenham need to make it count and put the Wembley talk to bed," added Redknapp.
"This game, without overstating it, is almost their season. If they can get a result everyone then stops talking about their record at Wembley.
"It's so important they start well because if they lose on Sunday the talk will linger for another couple of weeks but the fact they didn't play well in Europe there last season shouldn't concern them."