White Hart Lane, London
29th November, 2015
Chelsea FC can no longer call Tottenham Hotspur’s home ground Three-point Lane, as the Spurs have built up the incredible record of having lost just twice in the last 20 matches at home. Of course both the teams are on the opposite ends of the Premier League table right now and a win would do either of them a world of good in their current endeavours in the league.
While Chelsea are still stuck in an unlikely 15th place, Tottenham Hotspur are flying high 10 places above their London rivals trying to, as Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes, win the title.
Team News & Tactical Brief
Tottenham Hotspur FC
Although Chelsea FC have been struggling for form recently, they would be rather happy to face a Tottenham Hotspur squad that might be a little jaded after a 5,000-mile trip to and from Azerbaijan, where they had to face Qarabag in the Europa League.
While the Spurs players might still be feeling the jitters of travelling 10,000 miles in a space of three days, they know that a win against Chelsea FC would reaffirm their status as the title contenders for this season.
They will miss the services of young Englishman Delle Alli in the middle of the park, as the 19-year-old has to serve a one-match suspension. However, Mousa Dembele can easily slot onto the central midfield position temporarily left vacant by Alli. While Spurs might miss Alli’s ingenuity in the middle of the park, Dembele can make up for that with his industriousness.
Meanwhile, Nacer Chadli is still not fit enough to play as he has a foot injury and long time absentees Nabil Bentaleb (foot) and Erik Lamela (groin) are doubtful for the game, although the latter has been making good progress and has a good chance of starting from the left wing.
Star forward Harry Kane is set to start against the Chelsea FC side that he completely terrorized in the New Year fixture between these two clubs last season, while Christian Eriksen should start behind him.
With manager Mauricio Pochettino favouring a set backline protected by holding midfield player Eric Dier, Chelsea FC might just find it a tad bit too difficult to break Tottenham Hotspur down.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Rose, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Walker; Dier, Dembele; Son, Eriksen, Lamela; Kane.
Jose Mourinho’s side have not had an altogether good time this season, managing to win just four of their 13 Premier League matches, but it seems that the West Londoners are making some sort of a comeback, stringing together two wins in the last two matches.
Although those two wins came against a below-par Norwich City and a weak Maccabi Tel-Aviv, who were reduced to 10 men, the Blues would have gained some confidence from these rare wins. While they will be trying to build on these wins and get a win over Spurs, Chelsea FC will miss their talismanic captain John Terry in defence.
The former England captain injured his ankle in the match against Maccabi and is doubtful for the match. Thus, Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma are set to take the field against Spurs,in the center of the defence. One person who is set to make a comeback to the team is Cesar Azpilicueta, who was rested in the Maccabi game.
Mourinho is most likely to go with star man Eden Hazard in the No. 10 role behind central striker Diego Costa, with Willian and Pedro on the flanks to complete the front four. The Belgian international has done well as a No. 10 and has even indicated that he likes playing that position, instead of on the left wing.
However Mourinho has said that he is only playing Hazard there so that the latter can get more of the ball, and gain back his confidence, before going back to his usual position on the right wing. This is unlikely to affect the larger scheme of things much, as the three attacking players behind Costa are generally given the freedom to drift around.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Begovic; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Cahill, Ivanovic; Fabregas, Matic; Willian, Hazard, Pedro; Costa.
- Spurs have been in exceptional form and are on a a 12-match unbeaten streak. Their current club record for the longest unbeaten streak in the top flight is 14 matches in 1985.
- Tottenham Hotspur have lost only two of their last 20 Premier League home matches.
- Chelsea FC have scored at least two goals in seven of their last eight clashes against their North London Rivals.
- Out of the last 12 matches between these two teams, Tottenham Hotspur have only been able to win one.
- Eden Hazard likes scoring against Spurs, and he has done exactly that in each of his last three Premier League appearances against them.
Player to watch out for
Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur FC)
Of course Harry Kane remains the greatest threat to the rather vulnerable Chelsea FC defence, but Tottenham Hotspur do need to stop Hazard, who seems to be getting back some of his old form of late. Spurs holding midfielder Eric Dier would be crucial in stopping the likes of Hazard and Willian, if his side wants to get the victory at the White Hart Lane.
Tottenham Hotspur FC 4-2 Chelsea FC
A battle between these two teams have generally been high-scoring affairs and, with Chelsea FC’s defence leaking goals, we can expect more of that. There might not be much to separate the two teams, but Harry Kane’s clinical finishing and Diego Costa’s wastefulness might just be the difference.