Tottenham Hotspur: Jordan hoping to take advantage of Chelsea stutter

Joe Jordan today urged Tottenham's players to take full advantage of faltering Chelsea this weekend and put themselves right in the thick of the Barclays Premier League title battle.

Sunday sees Spurs host last season's double winners, who are the midst of one of their worst slumps for years.

Until a month ago, Chelsea looked like running away with the league but they have since surrendered top spot during a run of only two wins in their last eight games in all competitions.

Defeat on Sunday would see Spurs close to within a point of their London rivals and Jordan believes the door is open for his side and others to steal the Blues' crown.

"Chelsea have stuttered and they've let the other teams in," said first-team coach Jordan, who assumed pre-match media duties this morning after manager Harry Redknapp fell ill.

"Not only that, but they've let the other teams in, I think, in believing that there is an opening this season for not just Manchester United and Chelsea to repeat what they have been doing, but other clubs.

"I think it is an open championship; I think there are opportunities there."

Jordan added: "You look at the top teams and you think, 'This is a chance'.

"The top two teams aren't showing the form that they did last year.

"So that, to me, indicates that there is a chance that someone - one or two teams - could get in the pack."

Chelsea's slump coincided with injuries to star men Frank Lampard, John Terry and Michael Essien, although it has continued since the latter pair returned.

Sunday's game is set to come too early for Lampard, who is close to making his comeback after being sidelined for more than three months following hernia surgery.

Jordan said: "You like to go into your games - your big games especially - with your top players.

"These guys are big players and they've been out - and I think that's had a bearing on the results."

Jordan admitted he would welcome Lampard's continued absence on Sunday, adding: "Frank Lampard, over his period of time at Chelsea, has been exceptional in the goals that he's scored and the run that he's had in the team, the consistency that he has shown.

"Most certainly, if you asked Chelsea supporters, they'd say he's been missed."

The Blues' miserable run also began around the time they controversially sacked Ray Wilkins as assistant manager.

"I don't think it helps because it wasn't really clarified why (he went)," said Jordan, a key member of Redknapp's backroom team.

"Him and Carlo Ancelotti won the double, so they must've been doing

something right."

In stark contrast to Chelsea, Tottenham are in arguably their best form of the season, having put together a seven-match unbeaten run that has seen them stay in touch with the Premier League pacesetters and top their Champions League group.

They will be expected in many quarters to pile on the misery for their opponents on Sunday.

Jordan said: "From our dressing room, they'll be looking at it confident, positive.

"I would say that the bookies would maybe look at it differently.

"If you analyse it at the beginning of the season, you're looking at Chelsea to be the favourites to retain their championship.

"The way they started the season, I think would've proved that point.

"But it is a long season and they're in a bit of a trough."

Jordan was hopeful Redknapp would recover from the virus that has also laid low some of his players in time for Sunday's game.

The past week has seen the Spurs boss become an even firmer favourite to succeed Fabio Capello as England manager.

Jordan said: "If you look at his record, I think it's worth people actually speculating on it.

"If you're in charge of a team that's doing well and progressing, it's only right if you're talking about a national job.

"For a manager, I would say it's the pinnacle of your career to be

selected for your national post, and I can see Harry being one of the favourites, without doubt."

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