Stamford Bridge, London
4th December 2014, 1:15 IST
The midweek fixtures of the Premier League have always provided and satisfied with their dose of action, much like the Weekend fixtures. In this enticing London derby, league leaders Chelsea FC take on highflying Tottenham Hotspur. Although, the Jose Mourinho managed side was held to a goalless draw, last time around, against Sunderland – the Blues would be looking to grab all three points and distance themselves away from the threat of Manchester City – City currently sit in second place, six points adrift of Chelsea FC. Meanwhile, a hard fought victory at home against Everton has rejuvenated Tottenham’s spirit and with the crunch London derby taking place midweek, the visitors Tottenham, could adopt a defensive stance, although grabbing all three, might prove to be too tough for Spurs.
Team News and Tactical Brief :
Life has been a box of chocolates for Jose Mourinho’s army. Chelsea FC have already been dubbed as the title winners by some, highly optimistic fans and with the league leaders gaining momentum and sitting six points ahead of second placed Manchester City, there could be little doubt about that. Still, the league is more than over and Jose Mourinho himself has rallied his troops with a cry of ‘concentration and focus is the key’. Chelsea FC were held to a goalless draw against Sunderland and although the Blues displayed acts of sheer class in the final, surprisingly lacked the finishing touch.
Given that Chelsea FC fielded the same team midweek against Schalke 04 in Champions League and against Sunderland, in the weekend, changes which should be made, are expected not to. Jose Mourinho has always been known for his pragmatic and robust approach to the game, and although his words of motivation could elate mental conditions, the team could lag physically.
Diego Costa is missing the London derby due to suspension and Chelsea’s talisman Didier Drogba is expected to fill in the boots of the former. The midfield duo of Nemaja Matic and Cesc Fabregas would be once again looking to pull string in the midfield region, whilst dominating play. Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris could be a very busy man come Wednesday night, as Chelsea FC would be more than eager to test the Frenchman and score past him.
While the attacking department has been cemented by the trio of Willian, Hazard and Oscar the defensive department is led by captain John Terry. The budding partnership between Terry and Gary Cahill, which ranged back to the days of Rafa Benetiz, was quickly capitalized on by Jose Mourinho and has undoubtedly been one of the most and arguably the best Center back pairing of the league.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1): Thiabut Courtois, Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, Ceaser Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill, Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard, Oscar, Willian, Didier Drogba
For some the hard fought win against Everton, could be a vital point in Spurs’s Premier League. Tottenham already lag at ninth spot with just twenty points, and their win against Everton could prove vital in their resurgence and could rejuvenate their season. Another major worry which was dismantled in the game against the ‘Blue half of Merseyside’ was the form of Roberto Soldado. The Spanish ace, displayed signs of brilliance and scored a goal against Everton, to justify his grit and steele.
Still, with league leaders Chelsea FC next, Tottenham could easily succumb to a dominant and more talented Chelsea FC side. Hugo Lloris is expected to be one busy man, come Wednesday night as the French International could be tested constantly by Chelsea FC’s star studded attack. Lloris might prove to be the difference between Chelsea FC scoring a mammoth and Tottenham.
Tottenham is expected to adopt a defensive stance to this game, commit men behind the ball and hit on counter via the wings, which has speed in the form of Erik Lamela and Aaron Lennon. Paulinho is also expected to start against Chelsea FC and provide a defensive covering to the ailing Tottenham defense.
Probable Starting Lineups (4-4-1-1): Hugo Lloris, Kyle Naughton, Vertonghen, Fazio, Cririches, Erik Lamela, Bentalab, Paulinho, Aaron Lennon,Christian Eriksen, Roberto Soldado
- Tottenham have never won at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League (D8, L14).
- Their last victory at Chelsea in any competition came in February 1990. They have drawn 10 and lost 17 of the games since that win.
- Four of the last six league meetings have been draws.
- Chelsea are undefeated this season in all competitions (W15, D5).
- Their last league defeat came on 19 April – a 2-1 home reverse against Sunderland.
- Chelsea have won 28 of their last 34 home league games (D5, L1).
- Jose Mourinho’s side have kept 11 clean sheets in their last 14 Premier League home matches.
- Didier Drogba has scored three goals and assisted four more in his last eight league games against Spurs.
Players To Watch Out For:
Nemanja Matic ( Chelsea )
Nemanja Matic has been a revelation for Chelsea FC. The imposing Serbian has impressed with his knowledge of the game, tactical awareness and interceptions. Matic is expected to dominate this game, break the strike of Eriken and feed passes to Fabregas.
Hugo Lloris ( Tottenham )
It is not often that goalkeepers get featured in a ‘Players to watch out for’ section, but with Chelsea next against an ailing Tottenham defense. Spurs’s goalkeeper Hugo Lloris could be the difference between these two sides. The French International known for his quick reflexes could be in for a torrid night against Chelsea FC and most probably could be left frustrated in set piece scenarios – given Chelsea FC’s imposing figures in the form of John Terry, Didier Drogba, Ivanovic and Cahill.
Chelsea FC 2 – Tottenham 0
As seen in this season, Chelsea are expected to sway Tottenham aside with two goals and march on to their Premier League endeavors, unfazed, untouched and undefeated.