- The Special One welcomes the club he once loved wearing the badge of bitter rivals Spurs
- Chelsea face another big-six rival after a horrible run of form, wishing Hazard was here to save them
Not to be superstitious or anything but since Jose Mourinho was unveiled as Tottenham’s manager, Chelsea’s form took a dramatic nosedive. The Blues have won an abysmal 2 in 7 games, and they were fragile 2-1 wins.
Meanwhile in North London, a refreshed Mourinho has settled in well, cooling the Spurs seat, and steering his team from 14th position in the league to 3-points away from the final UEFA Champions League spot (Chelsea is 4th). The Special One goes up against Lampard for the second time. The two enjoyed success in the early 2000s, forming a core part of Chelsea’s golden years, but on Sunday they go head to head as bitter London rivals.
Tottenham welcome Chelsea to their glamorous stadium for the first time on Sunday 22nd December 2019 in the mouth-watering clash of the weekend. This is a fixture that rarely ends as a draw as both tend to go all or nothing. So who will give their fans an early Christmas present?
Mourinho Looking to School Lampard
Tottenham form: WWLWW
Spurs impressed last time out, beating Wolves in a hard-fought battle at the Molineux, taking a huge stride towards top-4. Right now they look like the only team ready to secure the final Champions League spot. They are unbeaten at Home in the last 5 games, have a fantastic manager, a great squad, and the players are beaming with joy.
Earlier this season, the Portuguese warned that the Blues will miss out on the top-4 because they lack the pragmatism to control big games. A lesson that should’ve been taken seriously. The Blues have lost all games against the big boys this season. So does Mourinho have a point? This young Chelsea side are naive thinking they can match rivals toe to toe- and he will try to teach his counterpart this lesson on Sunday.
Spurs players have quickly grasped their manager’s demands. The counter-attacking 4-2-3-1 system makes the most sense with the players on ground. So their raw pace and technique should expose Chelsea’s weaknesses on the counter. Indeed Tottenham will fashion a few clear-cut chances.
Although this is a rivalry, Spurs have the key to unlock Chelsea’s defence- we can expect a lot of goals in this one. The devastation the quartet can cause on a very good day was mentioned before, therefore they will be licking their lips when facing a porous Chelsea defence. Heung-Min Son put in a world-class performance last time in this fixture, so he is the one to watch out for. It would be interesting to see him go up against Azpilicueta.
Young Blues Need New Ideas to Arrest Poor Form
Chelsea form: LLWLL
Chelsea fans were confused after witnessing a heart-breaking 4-0 defeat to Man Utd in Lampard’s first game as manager. The young Blues outplayed their opponents for 90 mins, but four simple counter-attacking moves rendered the performance useless. Little did they know, this was a sign of things to come- Lampard’s Chelsea cannot beat big teams. So it’s cringe that assistant manager Jody Morris sees the funny side of this.
Too many people have rightly complained about Chelsea’s defence and goalkeeper. They have kept 1 clean-sheet in the last 10 games. With most goals coming in the second-half when concentration levels drop. So expect them to concede again.
In the past five games, teams have figured out how to deal with Chelsea- just defend deep, limit their attackers spaces, and close down Jorginho. This led to Tammy Abraham struggling to score when facing gallant defenders. Now the Pensioners are starting to miss Eden Hazard’s magic- in times like these, he would just pick up the ball and do something crazy that leads to a goal. Lampard is expecting Pulisic to do the same, but how?
The Blues manager has only one style of play, relying on high pressing, quick direct passing, and keeping possession. When it works Chelsea look like world-beaters, but when it doesn’t they look like Norwich. We’ll have to see which Chelsea turns up on Sunday- indeed they have players that can cause problems for Spurs. So this should be a very good game.
Team News and Likely Line-ups
For Tottenham, Tanguy Ndombele is sidelined with a groin injury. Ben Davies, Lamela, and Lloris are all ruled out. Harry Winks is back from injury but might be on the bench for this one, with Eric Dier set to keep his place. Mourinho will stick with his trusted 4-2-3-1 formation, with the aim of hitting Chelsea on the counter. It is likely they will defend deep, and afford little spaces for the Blues attackers. He will probably name an unchanged line-up from last time.
Chelsea have a relatively fit squad. Loftus-Cheek was seen back in training, doing some light ball work. Although Tomori is back, he will not be fit in time, and Giroud has a slight ankle injury. If a pragmatic Chelsea turns up they would ditch the usual 4-5-1 formation and adopt a 3-4-3 to avoid counter-attacks and give the defence a stronger shield. This will also allow the wing-backs to be more involved in the game when the attackers can’t get space. This is the expected line-up.
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Kenny Obi (Twitter: @chigiviews)