Written By Onyeka Daniel
It will be a North London derby as Tottenham Hotspur welcome Chelsea to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with referee, S. Attwell set to be in charge of proceedings at the centre. It promises to be an exciting game as both teams go for broke in their search for points to achieve their various aims this season.
Spurs currently occupy the 4th and last UCL position in the EPL table and also an 11-point gap between them and Chelsea and the objective will be not to drop points as Newcastle United are breathing down their neck in fifth position. But they haven’t had the desired results in this fixture in the past, winning just seven of 61 games in the PL era, only suffering more defeats in the competition’s history to Manchester United (39).
Coupled with the absence of their coach and former Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, who is still recuperating from a surgery, it couldn’t get any worse for the home side. But the team have won the last three matches that assistant coach, Christian Stellini is in charge and given the current abysmal form of their guest, there’s hope.
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Except when he just took over, Chelsea, under Graham Potter have been below average and that was really highlighted in their two last two losses (Dortmund and Southampton) by the same margin (1-0), meaning that this is the best time to face Chelsea since the turn of the century, with confidence at an all-time low.
They also face a goal crisis with the team scoring just 4 goals in their last 10 games, a poor record for the team with the highest spending during the winter transfer market. For Potter, this game presents the perfect opportunity to turn things around, but first he needs to sort out the goal scoring problem which could require doing things differently instead of sticking to the same tactics that has failed to yield any result in recent matches.
Style Of Play
Both teams are expected to stick to their most recent formations and for Tottenham, it will be 3-4-2-1 formation not minding the absence of Conte. They tend to remain compact at the back, using the passive pressing that becomes active when the opponent crosses the half way line.
With Kane upfront and the duo of Son and Kuluveski assisting while the full-backs join occasionally, they have their counter attack planned down to the last touch. For Chelsea, they’ve played with the 4-2-3-1 formation lately, shifting from a 3-man defense. This change seems to have coincided with the return of James Reece from injury, a pointer to the importance of wing play in Potter’s pattern of football.
In their last 20 games played across all competitions, Tottenham have 10 wins, 3 draws and 7 losses. Chelsea in the same breath have fared worse with 4 wins, 6 draws and 10 losses. They haven’t won in their last 5 games and have also lost their last 2.
Head To Head
In their last 20 games played against each other in all competitions, Chelsea have the better record with 12 wins against 5 for Tottenham while 3 has ended in a draw. In the first leg at the Stamford Bridge, Spurs needed a dying minute goal from Kane to help them grab a point as the game ended 2-2.
Players To Watch
The triangle of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Dejan Kuluveski will be key for the home side if they wish to get any point from this game. For Chelsea, Enzo Fernandez and Joao Felix will be provide the creative spark but they will also need one of Kai Havertz or Mykhailo Mudryk to up their game if they’re to stand any chance.
Injuries And Suspensions
Rodrigo Bentacur, Yves Bissouma, Ryan Sessegnon and Hugo Lloris will be missing through injury for Spurs. Chelsea will be missing Cesar Azpiliqueta, Christian Pulisic, Eduoard Mendy and Armando Broja through injury while Ngolo Kante who just resumed training is not expected to feature either.
This fixture is looking more like a draw with both teams seeking for precious points. Unless Chelsea manage to take their chances, it will end in a stalemate (1-1).
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