Saturday 8th March 2014, 17:30 GMT
The Special one (Mourinho) must prove to his fans and the owner why he truly deserves his given name. Chelsea in the last five games have won 4 and drawn 1. A win here would ensure they remain 4 points clear of their closes rivals Arsenal and Liverpool and on level terms with Manchester City, should they win their two games in hand. However, failure to do so will give City the upper hand.
Tim Sherwood credibility as a future manager of Spurs will be put to the test in the coming month. If somehow he manages to maximize points and ensure 5th place or even manage to leap frog a team and go to 4th, it will give Daniel Levy a reason to be proud of his decision on who would succeed AVB. In the last 5 games Spurs have won 3 and drawn 1 and lost 1. Sherwood however doesn’t face an opponent as easy as the last three. He faces the league leaders and must ensure if not a win he goes home with at least a point.
Team Tactics and Line-ups
Mourinho has been denied all three points by this team in the reverse fixture and hence he will be looking forward to correct that mistake by ensuring he thrashes Tottenham to prove to the other teams that he means business. On goal he would go with none other than Petr Chec.
In defense he would pick the ever reliable trio from the previous game Ivanovic, Cahill and Terry to play right and center backs respectively. With Ashley Cole still not making it to the squad, Azpilicueta will play left.
In the five man midfield, Ramirez and Matic’s recent form would ensure they start and give a defensive as well a creative option to the remaining team members. In front of them Eden Hazar would start on the left, there is no doubt as to his selection as he is their best player. In center right behind the striker, Oscar will occupy the playmaker role. His creative ability will be a threat to the defense. On the right Schurrle’s performance in the previous game will ensure he is picked over the Brazilian playmaker Willian.
Eto’o will play the lone striker role as Mourinho might want to save Fernando Torres for the upcoming Champion’s League match.
Probable Line-up: Chec; Ivanovic, Cahill,Terry, Azpilicueta; Matic, Ramires, Schurrle, Oscar, Hazard, Eto’o
Sherwood isn’t the type of manager who would sit back and settle for a draw, so we can expect him to put his strongest available team and ensure they go for all three points. For this his most trusted custodian Hugo Loris would be first on the team list on goal. With his recent good form and his 3 back to back clean sheets, the Frenchman will look to ensure he extends the record to the next match too.
The defensive pair of Dawson and Verthongen did a fine job against Cardiff. However they face a real test ahead of them with the likes of world class players such as Eto’o and Hazard. They will most likely feature in this fixture and prove vital for Tottenham’s performance. With the English pair Kyle Walker and Danny Rose out due to injury. Kyle Naughton and the youngster Zeki Fryers will be given a crucial match to prove their worth.
Sandro returning from injury I believe will be given his first league start in a while. His defensive marking and physical presence will be an added attribute for Sherwood to use so that he breaks up free flowing play by Chelsea and wins back possession for the team. It is highly likely that Sherwood would play a five man midfield and for that he would resort to playing Dembele along with Bentaleb ahead of Sandro. Bentaleb had a good run for his country Algeria and would be picked over Paulinho who had no real impact in the previous game and would also get a good rest returning from his international match. On the right he would pick Lennon who has had a good run in the recent games. It is said Eriksen might return from injury but will have to pass a late fitness test before the game. If he features in the game on the left it would be a huge creative boos for the team. However in the event he is unavailable Townsend who is just about found his form again will be in the side.
Having chosen a 5 man midfield it is quite obvious the Spanish striker Soldado would be dropped to the bench for this game and Emmauel Adebayor would be given the Start.
Probable Line-up: Loris, Naughton, Dawson, Verthongen, Fryers; Sandro, Townsend, Bentaleb, Dembele, Lennon; Adebayor;
Player to Watch
There is no doubt he has been Chelsea’s best player all season and will also do so in this match. His creativity and ability to pick the right pass at the right time is a trait any manager would love to have in their midfield. Hazard could prove crucial to this fixture as he would look to exploit the weaker right side of Tottenham where Kyle Naughton plays and cut in to score goals.
- Chelsea have earned most points at home – 38
- Tottenham have earned most points away from home – 29
- Adebayor has scored in 3 of his 4 premier league starts against Chelsea
- Last time Tottenham beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge it was on February,1990
Chelsea 2 – 1 Tottenham
Both teams have much to lose and hence both teams will go at each other with everything including the kitchen sink. However Tottenham tend to become shaky towards the end and Chelsea has more quality hence I believe Chelsea will win with a goal margin.