Match Preview: Chelsea vs. Spurs #CHETOT
Match Preview: Chelsea vs. Spurs #CHETOT
Stamford Bridge | November 26th, 2016
When the schedule for this year was released, this was a game that fans of both teams had immediately circled on their calendars. Chelsea versus Spurs is one of the most anticipated clashes in English football as the rivalry between these two teams stretches back all the way to 1909. This coming Saturday’s matchup is shaping up to be even more animated than normal considering the last game they played. If you don’t remember, Spurs had to win that game to remain alive in the title race. It was Eden Hazard who scored an 83rd minute stunner to secure a 2-2 draw, essentially giving Leicester City the title. As the picture above shows, emotions got a little out of hand on the pitch. An astounding 12 yellow cards were handed out in this match, 9 of which went to Spurs. Chelsea come into this weekend first in the Premier League and Spurs are the only undefeated team left this season. This is a must-watch matchup at the Bridge.
It’s 6 straight wins and 6 straight clean sheets for Antonio Conte’s men. Although last week’s 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough was too close for comfort for many Chelsea fans, Diego Costa’s goal was the only one needed to secure another 3 points and a weekend finish at the top of the table. This game couldn’t have come at a better time for the Blues. They have all the momentum in the world, look like the most dangerous team in England, and have no major injuries to contend with. With the knowledge of who their opponent is, motivation will be at an all time high. Expect the same lineup as last week and a hungry Blues squad looking to be responsible for the first blemish on Tottenham’s record this season.
Injuries: Zouma (probable).
Like I mentioned earlier, Spurs are undefeated this season, but that isn’t always a good thing. They lead the Premier League in draws and currently are in 5th place outside of a Champions League spot. After a legitimate title run last season, many expected Pochettino’s team to expand on their success, but that has not happened so far. A win over Chelsea may be the spark they need to kick-start a solid run. They’ll be motivated for a positive result as they did lose to Monaco in a mid-week Champions League matchup and have been eliminated from advancing to the knockout stages. It’s just the latest massive disappointment in a season that has seen them performing under expectations.
Tottenham have some serious concerns heading into this game on both the offensive and defensive side. They’ve struggled to score goals at the pace they’re normally used to. Harry Kane has only recently come back from injury, but after him it’s hard to identify a consistent goal scorer. As for their defense, they’ve been great so far this season. In fact, they’ve allowed a league-lowest 8 goals this year, but they’ve lost Alderweireld and Davies to injury and Danny Rose to suspension. In fact, they don’t have a healthy natural left-back for this game. Kieron Trippier seems like the most logical option although Carter-Vickers and Wimmer may also be put in. Adding further concerns is the fact that Erik Lamela is also confirmed out for this game. If their substitutes do not step up against a well-oiled Chelsea machine, Spurs may finally taste Premier League defeat this season.
Injuries: Alderweireld, Davis, Lamela (out).
Three Matchups to Watch
1. Hazard vs. Walker: many consider Kyle Walker to be the best right back in the Premier League and he certainly has been influential in Tottenham’s outstanding defensive record this season. He has a penchant for supplying outstanding crosses from the right side and holding his own defensively. Eden Hazard, who’s regained his form as of late, will be in for one of the toughest matchups he’s had so far this season. He was held in check last week and Chelsea didn’t have the easiest time against Middlesbrough. Against a team like Spurs, Eden might have to put in the kind of performance he did against them last season for a positive result.
2. Harry Winks vs. N’golo Kante: if you haven’t heard of Harry Winks before then get ready to hear a lot of his name in the years to come. The 20-year-old Brit scored his first Premier League goal against West Ham United last week and in the absence of Erik Lamela, he will be given an opportunity to step up. Unfortunately for him, there’s a big difference between playing a reeling West Ham side and facing off against Kante in the heart of the Chelsea midfield. The number 10 role is vital to a team’s attack and Winks will have to bring out his best to create chances for Kane up front.
3. Costa vs. Vertonghen: the Belgian international was one of those Spurs players in Costa’s face during the 2-2 draw last season, getting a yellow card for his troubles. This matchup will be a personal one for him as it often is for most veteran Premier League defenders taking on Costa. Diego is the only player with double digit goals this season (10), so Vertonghen would do well to keep his emotions in check a little and focus on stopping the Spaniard from finding the back of the net.
- Moussa Dembele is expected to be in the Spurs lineup. Chelsea fans remember his eye gouge of Diego Costa last season which saw him suspended for 6 games by the FA. Emotions will be running high for everyone, but perhaps more so for him.
- In recent history, Chelsea have had the lion’s share of success in this derby, as they’ve only lost once in the last 6 years. That loss was a 5-3 loss when Chelsea won the league in 2015.
Which team do you hate more, Spurs or Arsenal? Comment below or tweet me I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.
About the author
Navaneeth Ravichandran, @navrav28
Navaneeth is currently a university student at UBC in Vancouver, Canada. He enjoys many sports other than football, especially a passion for ice hockey, as almost every Canadian does. He has been a Blues fan since 2007 and will continue to be a loyal fan till the day he dies.