Chelsea will be aiming to continue their unbeaten run while Tottenham will look to return to winning ways when the two teams clash on Sunday.
Matchday five of the 2021/22 Premier League presents us with another exciting London derby as Tottenham Hotspur gear up to host title contenders Chelsea at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday evening.
Tottenham made a perfect start to the new season, winning three in three in the league, but injuries hit Nuno Espirito Santo’s squad hard post the international break, leading to a shock 3-0 loss to Crystal Palace last weekend. That was followed by a 2-2 draw against Rennes in the UEFA Europa Conference League in midweek, leaving the Lilywhites under pressure to turn things around, even if it is early days in the season.
Chelsea, meanwhile, are off to a fine start to the new campaign. With ten games in four points, Thomas Tuchel’s men entered the matchday as joint table-toppers, although Liverpool have since moved to the top after a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace. The Blues defeated Aston Villa 3-0 last time in the league, which was followed by a hard-earned 1-0 victory over Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League. They will be hoping to extend that run on Sunday.
The corresponding fixture last season ended in a 1-0 win for Chelsea, courtesy of a first-half penalty from Jorginho. Ahead of their latest meeting on Sunday evening, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
— Lilywhite Rose (@Lilywhite_Rose) September 18, 2021
Nuno Espirito Santo is sweating over the availability of key players Son Heung-min and Eric Dier while the likes of Ryan Sessegnon, Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn are also doubts. Furthermore, the South American trio of Cristian Romero, Giovani Lo Celso and Davinson Sanchez were in quarantine in Croatia and returned to training only on Saturday and will be assessed to determine their availability.
Captain Hugo Lloris will be the last line of defence for Tottenham standing between the sticks. With Dier a doubt and Japhet Tanganga suspended after his sending off against Palace, Sanchez and Romero are likely to be rushed back into the starting XI, with the latter making his full Premier League debut. Emerson Royal and Sergio Reguilon ought to be the two full-backs.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Oliver Skipp will be tasked with keeping things tight in the middle of the park while the creative onus could fall on the shoulders of Tanguy Ndombele, who made his first appearance of the season in midweek against Rennes.
Dele Alli will slot in as the No. 10 and enjoy a free role wherein he will be allowed to drift across the final third in order to create openings. Harry Kane, meanwhile, will start as one of the centre-forwards, with Son likely to be rushed back into action given the importance of the clash. If the South Korean is not fit enough to feature, youngster Bryan Gil could feature from the kickoff.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Lloris; Emerson, Sanchez, Romero, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Skipp, Ndombele; Alli; Kane, Son
The good news for Chelsea is that N’Golo Kante is back fit and available for selection after missing the last couple of matches. Christian Pulisic, however, remains unavailable due to an injury he picked up during the international break. Thomas Tuchel will set his team up in a 3-4-2-1 formation with Edouard Mendy lining up under the woodwork.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 18, 2021
Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger are certain starters in the three-man backline while Andreas Christensen might once again edge out Thiago Silva for the remaining slot. Reece James, who has served his one-match ban, ought to return to the side at right wing-back while in-form star Marcos Alonso is certain to feature on the left.
Jorginho and the returning Kante ought to form the midfield partnership with Mateo Kovacic making way for the French midfield dynamo against Tottenham. Mason Mount should keep his place in the lineup as one of the two attacking midfielders, but Hakim Ziyech could be set to make way for Kai Havertz.
Up top, there is no looking past the in-form Romelu Lukaku, who has now scored four goals in four games in all competitions. Timo Werner remains an option, but is unlikely to get the nod ahead of the Belgian, although, he could be considered in the attacking midfield role ahead of Havertz.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kante, Alonso; Mount, Havertz; Lukaku
- Tottenham have conceded more Premier League goals against Chelsea (103) than they have versus any other opponent, while they have only lost more games in the competition against Man Utd (36) than against the Blues (31).
- Chelsea have won their last two Premier League away games against Tottenham, as many as in their previous 13 visits (D5 L6). They last won three in a row at Spurs between April 2004 and August 2005.
- Tottenham have lost four of their last six Premier League London derby matches (W2), as many as they had in their previous 18 such games combined. Spurs have lost their last two such games, last losing three in a row in August 2005 – the third game of which came at home to Chelsea.
- Chelsea have won each of their last five away league London derbies – they have never won six in a row on the road before in their league history.
- Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in 61% of their Premier League games under Thomas Tuchel (14/23) – it’s the best clean sheet ratio any manager has at a specific club in the competition’s history (min. 10 games).
Player to Watch
😬 Harry Kane has been booked as many times as he has had shots for Tottenham in the Premier League this season (2) pic.twitter.com/urACFd9YQ9
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) September 14, 2021
While all eyes will invariably be on Romelu Lukaku after his fine start upon returning to Chelsea, this will also be a game where Tottenham staff and fans will be hoping that their talismanic striker, Harry Kane, gets back into form. Following his failed summer move to Manchester City, the 28-year-old hasn’t been able to hit the ground running in the new season, scoring just two goals in five games.
Tottenham have been quite goal-shy in the league so far, scoring just thrice in four games, with the lack of creativity hurting the team and, in turn, Kane’s chances of boosting his tally. Coming up against a tight-knit defensive unit like Chelsea will certainly be a huge challenge, but a good performance here could do wonders for the 28-year-old’s form and confidence.
Tottenham Hotspur 0-2 Chelsea
Tottenham have not been the most fluid in attack, struggling to create enough chances and having trouble putting away the ones they create. And the task will only get more difficult when they face up a defensively resolute side like Chelsea, who have hardly given away an inch to opposition so far this season.
Furthermore, with Romelu Lukaku in the form that he is in, and Tottenham unlikely to be with their first-choice defensive pairing, The Hard Tackle is predicting a 0-2 victory for Thomas Tuchel & co.