Chelsea will be hoping to return to winning ways when they take on a resurgent Tottenham side at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday
The curtains will fall on Gameweek 18 of the 2019-20 Premier League season with a blockbuster of a game. Jose Mourinho faces his former team on Sunday, when Tottenham play hosts to Chelsea at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with just three points separating the two sides.
Tottenham have been on a resurgent run since Jose Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino at the helm at the north London club. Having taken over a side that was languishing in the bottom half of the table, Mourinho has overseen a run of four wins in five games, a quick turnaround which has brought them within three points of a place in the top four.
Chelsea, on the other hand, have tailed off a bit lately, with four defeats in their last five Premier League games taking them away from a potential tilt at the title race and into a battle for a top four spot. The poor run of results have left them just five points ahead of 10th placed Burnley as the top half of the Premier League table continues to get increasingly congested.
The corresponding fixture last season had ended in a 3-1 win for Tottenham, with Olivier Giroud scoring a late consolation goal for Chelsea. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Jose Mourinho has no fresh injury concerns to contend with ahead of the visit of Chelsea. On Sunday, the Tottenham Hotspur boss will be without just three first-team players and has in fact greeted some positive news heading into this weekend.
Tanguy Ndombele has recovered from his groin injury and will be assessed ahead of the game. After missing each of the last two games, though, it is unlikely that the Frenchman will be thrust into the starting lineup straightaway, owing to a congestion in fixtures. Hugo Lloris (shoulder), Ben Davies (ankle) and Erik Lamela (hamstring), however, will only return next year.
With Lloris still unavailable, Paulo Gazzaniga will continue between the sticks for Tottenham. The Argentine will need to be at his best against a Chelsea side that will be desperate for goals. The defence is unlikely to see a change, with Jan Vertonghen continuing as the left-back ahead of Danny Rose to shore up the defensive side of things.
Toby Alderweireld, who committed his long-term future to Tottenham this week, will partner up with Davinson Sanchez at the heart of the defence, with Serge Aurier retaining his place on the right flank. With Ndombele unlikely to start, Eric Dier and Moussa Sissoko will resume their partnership in the midfield double pivot.
The attacking quartet will be tasked with harrying Chelsea off the ball high up the pitch, while Harry Kane could even drop deep at times to take up a playmaking role. Son Heung-min will often be the furthest man for Tottenham, while Dele Alli will bank on his ghosting runs off the ball to arrive late into the box.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Gazzaniga; Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Sissoko, Dier; Moura, Alli, Son; Kane
Frank Lampard has a near full-strength squad at his disposal ahead of the cross-London trip to take on Tottenham. On Sunday, the Chelsea manager will be without just Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who is still some way off returning from a long-term Achilles injury.
Lampard is likely to line his side up in a 4-3-3 formation, with the motive being to create overloads in midfield before moving the Blues forward at pace. The contentious position in the side, though, is the left-back spot, with Emerson Palmieri failing to impress in recent games.
To that end, Cesar Azpilicueta could move out to the left side of the Chelsea defence, with Reece James likely to be entrusted with the responsibility of being the right-back. Antonio Rudiger seems to have regained his sharpness upon his return from injury and should continue his central defensive partnership with Kurt Zouma.
With a three-man midfield likely to be named, there is no looking past Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic in the middle of the park. The preference of formation means there will be no place for Mason Mount in the starting lineup, with the Englishman relegated to the bench.
Tammy Abraham will spearhead Chelsea’s attack once again against Tottenham, with Christian Pulisic and Willian providing support from the flanks. Pulisic and Willian, though, have seen their forms drop off a cliff and will need to rediscover their best in order to inspire Chelsea to a big win on Sunday.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Kepa; James, Zouma, Rudiger, Azpilicueta; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Willian, Abraham, Pulisic
1. Tottenham Draw No Bet @ 1.72
2. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 1.50
1. Dele Alli to score anytime @ 3.60
- Tottenham have won three of their last five Premier League games against Chelsea (L2), as many as they had in their previous 20 against them in the competition (W3 D9 L8).
- Chelsea have had 53 different Premier League goalscorers against Tottenham (excluding own goals), more than any side has had against another in the competition.
- No team has won more Premier League London derby matches than Chelsea (128, level with Arsenal), while only West Ham (100) have lost more such games than Tottenham (87).
- Tottenham have won four of their last five Premier League games (L1), more than they had in their previous 15 in the competition (W3 D6 L6). On the other hand, Chelsea have lost four of their last five Premier League matches (W1) – as many as they had in their previous 24 in the competition (W14 D6 L4).
- Jose Mourinho has won 12 and lost none of his 13 home games in all competitions against sides he’s previously managed, including winning all three against Chelsea (once with Inter Milan, twice with Manchester United).
Player to Watch
After a brief revival, wherein he had scored five goals in three Premier League games, Pulisic has seen his form drop alarmingly. In fact, the drop in his levels has coincided with Chelsea’s poor run of form, pointing towards the Blues’ reliance on him and fellow winger Willian.
Up against Serge Aurier, who is likely to afford him plenty of space in behind him, Pulisic could potentially have a field day at work at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. However, potential will count for nothing if Pulisic cannot find a way to return to his best form. A big game for a player struggling to produce the goods.
Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Chelsea
Whenever Jose Mourinho comes up against his former teams, one can expect fireworks. There is added fire when the opposition is Chelsea, a section of whose fans had once labelled him Judas. Both Tottenham and Chelsea come into the game after a full week’s rest, having not been involved in the Carabao Cup excursions.
Chelsea, though, are struggling to impose themselves on their opponents lately, and Tottenham’s tactics to press high up could work against the visitors. With Son Heung-min in inspired touch and Dele Alli always enjoying himself against Chelsea, the scales appear to be tilted in favour of Spurs.
Expect a keenly contested affair to begin with, before Tottenham take the game away from Chelsea as the match progresses. The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-1 win for the hosts, as Mourinho continues his fine run in home games against his former sides.