Premier League English

Tim Sherwood tips Tottenham for Premier League title win this season with Van Dijk injury throwing it wide open

Former Spurs player and boss, Tim Sherwood, believes Tottenham can ‘do a Leicester’ and emerge as Premier League champions this season with ‘the best front three in world football’ spearheading their attack and with Liverpool minus the dominating presence of their star defender for a major part of the remainder of the season.

Sherwood has told talkSPORT the long-term injury to Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk has effectively thrown the title race wide open this season, and rates Jose Mourinho’s side now as one of the top contenders for the final laurels.

It is now all over the news that Van Dijk’s season could well be over after he suffered a third grade ACL tear – during the Merseyside derby between longstanding rivals Liverpool and Everton, with the well-respected defender possibly facing months out after the appalling tackle from Pickford who, by the way, will not be facing any retrospective action for his much-maligned blunder.

Without their defensive keystone, there’s the general perception now that the defending champions’ title chances are looking pretty slim.

And, recalling Leicester’s iconic 2015/16 title win – regarded as one of the best and most unlikely sporting achievements in history – Sherwood believes this season could produce another shock result in the top-flight. Could history be about to repeat itself this season?

“This league is always unpredictable, but it’s so much more unpredictable this season,” the ex-Spurs player and coach told Monday’s talkSPORT Breakfast.

“It’s the most competitive league in the world, but it’s been nothing like this. It has to be something to do with no fans in the stadiums, it’s the only thing I can put my finger on.

“It’s wide open now, especially with that news of Van Dijk being missing. It’s up for grabs for someone to come out of the pack.

“Everton have had a fantastic start, Tottenham have their problems at the back but look brilliant going forward, Arsenal are improving under Mikel Arteta.

“We saw Leicester do it three or four years ago, so who knows? I think it could be a year for someone to come out and win it.”

Asked if that team could be his former club Tottenham, Sherwood admitted that with Harry Kane, Heung-min Son and Gareth Bale as the frontline assault, anything is possible.

Spurs may not have had the best of weekends, letting a 3-0 lead slip to draw 3-3 with West Ham at home on Sunday, but the former boss believes the team has enough quality in his squad to challenge for top honours.

He added: “Well, why not?

“They’ve got so many players, they had seven on the bench yesterday and they had Carlos Vinicius who was the only one who wasn’t an international footballer.

“They’ve got Dele Alli who can’t even get changed, Danny Rose hasn’t got a squad number, they’ve got a massive amount of quality in their squad.

“They’ve got a manager who is used to winning, Jose knows how to win things.

Spurs may have gone weak in the knees momentarily against West Ham, but Sherwood believes they are very much contenders for the title this season

“Gareth Bale needs to get fit; obviously when he came on he had that one lung-busting run, his shot went past the post and when you saw his face after that he was struggling to breathe – he needs to get back to fitness, he’s not ready to start at the moment.

“But when he gets back to fitness, alongside Son and Kane, there’s no better front three in world football, is there? Liverpool fans will argue, of course…

“If Jose gets a nice solid base behind those three, and you’ve got Hugo Lloris who is one of the best goalkeepers in the league, Tottenham have got every chance.”