Chelsea and Tottenham are set to meet in an exciting Premier League clash on Saturday. Here is a look at three interesting key battles in the match.
The clash between the two London clubs comes at a crucial time in the season as both clubs will look to solidify their respective positions in the table. A win for Chelsea would ensure that their four point gap at the top of the table stays intact while 3 points for Tottenham would mean that they maintain their five point advantage over Everton in the race for the fifth place and automatic qualification into the Europa League.
1) CHELSEA’S ATTACKING MIDFIELDERS vs TOTTENHAM’S DEFENDERS
Chelsea have been reliant on their midfielders for their goals as their strikers have seemingly struggled to find the back of the net on a consistent basis. In fact, the midfielders have contributed 33 out of the 52 goals that Chelsea have scored with the three strikers contributing 11 goals between them. This over-reliance on the likes of Hazard and Oscar has been the reason Mourinho has been so vocal about his displeasure with the strikers.
However, the trio of Hazard, Oscar and Willian, the three who are likely to start against Tottenham, are all capable of opening up defenses on their own. Their ability on the ball coupled with their vision makes them very dangerous and the Tottenham defenders will have to be on their toes in order to prevent giving them any chances whatsoever.
Tottenham have settled in on a stable defense now and that will certainly help against Chelsea. In Michael Dawson, they have a player who’s capable of making the last ditch tackles and isn’t afraid to put his body on the line when it matters. Jan Vertonghen reads the game well and that will be crucial in snuffing out attacks before they cause any damage. With two inexperienced fullbacks likely to be playing, it’ll be up to these two season campaigners to guide the defense through what is likely to be a very difficult ninety minutes for Spurs.
2) RAMIRES & MATIC vs TOTTENHAM MIDFIELDERS
Mourinho is likely to play Ramires alongside January arrival Nemanja Matic in a defensive midfield role. With the Chelsea front four busy attacking, it will be up to these two to take care of any counter attacking opportunities should they arise. Both Matic and Ramires are good on the ball and have great upper body strength. They will have to hold their own and not be bullied by a Tottenham midfield that is likely to contain the likes of Sandro and Moussa Dembele.
For Tottenham, this will be a key battle that they will have to win. They have player with good ability on the ball in the form of Paulinho and Dembele but they will have to ensure that they retain possession in the middle third of the pitch and do not give it away easily. With Hazard and Oscar unlikely to help out much defensively, Spurs will have a chance to outnumber Chelsea in midfield and if they manage to do that, it will negate much of Chelsea’s threat.
3) CHELSEA’S DEFENDERS vs ADEBAYOR
Emanuel Adebayor has been leading the line remarkably well for Tottenham in the last couple of months. He has initially found himself on the bench at the start of the season under Andre Villas-Boas, but ever since the appointment of Tim Sherwood he has found playing time easier to come by, and he has rewarded his manager’s faith by scoring goals on a consistent basis.
Adebayor is more than capable of leading the line on his own and in a game such as this, he is expected to be isolated up top for long spells. However, his ability to hold up the ball will come in handy and he poses a big aerial threat for Chelsea, not only from set pieces but also from crosses floated in from deep.
John Terry and Gary Cahill might just have their work cut out against the Togolese striker as he can be a real handful in the air. However, they can use the numbers game to their advantage and shackle Adebayor for most part of the game as he has the ability to score if given any chance to get on the end of a cross or a through ball.