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Bale & Hazard see off Oscar & Defoe - the ultimate Tottenham & Chelsea combined XI

As the London rivals prepare to clash in the Premier League this weekend, Goal.com debates which players would make it into an overall team from both squads

DEBATE
By Chris Myson

One of the matches of the weekend in the Premier League sees European champions Chelsea travel to face rivals Tottenham in a crucial clash at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

A London derby between two of the league's biggest clubs is a big enough match without a back story, but this contest will attract even more attention than usual with it being Andre Villas-Boas' first game against the club that sacked him last season.

It is still early days in the new campaign, but already both clubs are looking set for strong seasons towards the top-end of the table and this fixture should be a good indicator of how good each of their chances are looking.

Ahead of the clash, Goal.com analyses each area of Tottenham and Chelsea's squads and attempts to come up with what would be the best combined team, lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

GOALKEEPER


One of the big dilemmas faced by Villas-Boas since taking the Spurs hotseat has been his goalkeeping selection.

Hugo Lloris, the France captain and a goalkeeper with world-class credentials was brought in this summer but it is hard to drop Brad Friedel, who still consistently produces high-quality performances despite his advancing years.

It is hard enough choosing between those two, but our selection goes to another option from our combined squads.

Petr Cech has been re-establishing himself as one of the world’s top goalkeepers since the latter stages of last season. The experienced Czech Republic shot-stopper knows he will be challenged for his spot by Thibaut Courtois in the years ahead but a recent long-term deal proves Chelsea still have full faith in him.

DEFENCE


At right-back, Branislav Ivanovic is enjoying an excellent start to the new season, form which has kept new arrival Cesar Azpilicueta out of the side. Our pick goes to Spurs’ Kyle Walker, though, who despite not yet hitting the heights of last year, remains one of the league’s top full-backs.

In the centre, John Terry has again hit the headlines for the wrong reasons but despite his international retirement and slight decline in powers, he remains a formidable defender who strikers do not relish coming up against.

Jan Vertonghen has made a highly impressive start to his career in north London, so is selected to partner Terry in our team. While his versatility and ability to bring the ball out of defence has stood out during his time in England so far, the Belgian is very strong in his defensive attributes too.

That means Gary Cahill is unlucky to miss out, while Steven Caulker is another stopper who gets an honourable mention as his strong development continues. David Luiz and William Gallas are amongst the others who fail to gain selection.

At left-back Tottenham’s options are depleted. Benoit Assou-Ekotto is out and Vertonghen has been used there as cover, but fortunately for us we have the world’s best in that position - Ashley Cole slots in as an automatic pick.

MIDFIELD


In midfield, we deploy two central players at the base and Ramires is the ideal player to fill one of those roles. The Brazilian’s boundless energy and ability to get from box-to-box make it impossible to ignore him.

Alongside him we go for Spurs’ summer signing Mousa Dembele. The playmaker continues to impress in a deeper role and his technical proficiency is ideal for starting attacks.

We are spoilt for choice in our three attacking midfield roles. Juan Mata makes the team based on his continued excellence for Chelsea. Despite the arrival of big-money signings in the summer, the Spaniard has still been influential for the Blues.

Eden Hazard has lived up to the hype in his short Premier League career to date. The Belgium star certainly talked the talk before his arrival but has backed that up with goals, assists and vital contributions to help the Blues top the league in the early weeks.

There is room for a Spurs player in this area of the pitch, though, with Gareth Bale taking his place on the left. Bale has been criticised for going to ground too easily, but continues to underline his ability, with his dribbling skills, lethal shot and blistering speed making full-backs hate coming up against him.

The obvious omission from the midfield ranks is Oscar. The starlet undoubtedly has a big future ahead of him and made his mark brilliantly against Juventus in the Champions League, but has not quite yet proven to be at the level of Mata, Hazard and Bale, who are an established and high-quality trio.

Those selections also mean first-team regulars like John Obi Mikel, Frank Lampard, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Sandro miss out on the final cut.

ATTACK


For all the talent that exists in the two squads, some may point to the striking area as a weak point of our combined selection.

For Chelsea, there is a clear lack of back-up for Fernando Torres in attack. Daniel Sturridge had a good season last year but is struggling with fitness and faces an uncertain future at the club, meaning the Blues would be looking worryingly short if something happened to Torres.

It is the Spaniard we select in our XI, even if he is still not back to his Liverpool best. There has been a clear improvement on the woes of last season and the goals seem to be flowing more consistently now, meaning his confidence is slowly returning.

That means Jermain Defoe misses out despite proving the doubters wrong and enjoying a strong start to the campaign, when only months ago it appeared that he may not have a long-term future with Tottenham.

Emmanuel Adebayor is back to fitness and is soon likely to force his way back into the Spurs side after generally impressing on loan at the club last year, while the versatile Clint Dempsey also misses out on a spot.

Suggested best combined Tottenham & Chelsea XI

GOALKEEPER

Petr Cech


RIGHT-BACK
CENTRE-BACK
CENTRE-BACK
LEFT-BACK

Kyle Walker

John Terry

Jan Vertonghen

Ashley Cole
CENTRE MIDFIELD
CENTRE MIDFIELD

Ramires

Mousa Dembele
RIGHT WINGER
ATTACKING MIDFIELD
LEFT WINGER

Juan Mata

Eden Hazard

Gareth Bale

CENTRE FORWARD

Fernando Torres

HAVE YOUR SAY

Do you agree with our suggested best combined Tottenham and Chelsea starting XI? If not, who should be there instead and which players should get the chop? Which way is this weekend's crunch match going to go?

Let us know your views on the debate by posting a comment below or by engaging with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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