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CHELSEA v Spurs: Preview

Venue: Stamford Bridge

Date: Sunday 20 September

Kick-off: 1600 BST

Chelsea’s game this weekend sees us at home to Spurs in the late game today. So, even before we kick off, we’ll have seen how things have panned out in the Manchester derby before we try to maintain our 100% start to the season – no pressure then!

Obviously, there’s those out there who are already saying the mere fact that start has been against the likes of Hull, Sunderland, Fulham, Burnley and Stoke, suggests the results were a forgone conclusion, although as I’ve pointed out previously, Burnley’s result against United kind of chokes that particular argument.  Like everyone else who’s played this season, we’ve just had to beat whatever’s been in front of us and so far we seem to have done that pretty effectively. Mind you, Spurs have got off to a bit of a flyer themselves, albeit halted by United in their last game but then given they haven’t won away against any of the top four since 1993 that was hardly a shocker. 



Despite a record of 19 years without a win at Stamford Bridge, Redknapp reckons Spurs really won’t be bothered about that when they turn up tomorrow, stating “You get different players. If you ask Wilson Palacios about Tottenham’s record with Chelsea he wouldn’t have a clue, would he? Sebastien Bassong wouldn’t have a clue.  I don’t think it’ll be a case of ‘we can’t beat Chelsea’. We’ll go there and it’s another game, a game against a top, top team.  We know how Chelsea play and the system they play. We have the players to exploit that system, there has to be areas we can exploit. It will be a tough game.  Carlo Ancelotti’s record is brilliant and he’s taken over a great team. It’s another big game. I don’t look at the managers, whoever they may be; it’s about the players.  They play a system which is difficult to play against and they have good players.  Drogba and Anelka is guaranteed 20 goals each plus Lampard as well – that is 60 goals between three players. What a fantastic return.  We have to be aware of that but we have good players as well. We’re full of internationals and we have to believe that we can cause more problems than them.  We can’t go there and nullify them for 90 minutes – we haven’t got the players to do that. I have attacking players who like to play and express themselves. We’ll attack them and give it our best shot.”

Enough of the niceties though, because trying to hit us where it hurts, Redknapp goes on “I am not being disrespectful to Chelsea but they are a long way from being in the same bracket as Manchester United, because of what United are.  United have always been a massive football club, they have a fantastic tradition and history, and they get 76,000 people watching them every week.  Chelsea might finish above them in the table, but to get the recognition around the world that United have is very difficult.  It would help if they could manage to win the Champions League, but you have to remember that United are a special club.”

Carlo Ancelotti also gives a bit of credit to our opponents in his pre-match chat, saying “I am not surprised by our start to this season. I had one month before the start of the season to know the players, their mental attitude and their quality.  I know the rivalry between the two teams and how important this match is for the fans. We have to pay attention to this and we want to win.  I saw Tottenham’s last games and they have started very well. For me it was a surprise, they played very well against Liverpool and Manchester United.  They lost that game but they have good style and quality players. In attack, Jermain Defoe is a very dangerous striker and Aaron Lennon is a very quick player.  We have to pay attention to this because they can cause us difficulties in the game.  We are in a very good condition and have a very good feeling about our play. We have the possibility to win this important match.  I said last week that this is a very important moment of the season and we have started very well with victory over Stoke and Porto and we want to continue this.  Tottenham will play two strikers that we will have to control. We know the quality of Peter Crouch, Lennon and Defoe. They can be dangerous because they are very quick. We don’t leave the possibility for them to counter-attack against us.  We want to start at the top of the league and maintain this position and if possible, improve the distance between us and the second placed team.”

Although shrugs off Redknapp’s attempt at a dig, saying “Chelsea are on the same level as Manchester United, as a club and as a team.  The only thing is that Manchester has more tradition in respect to Chelsea, but this means that for us it can be a very good motivation to start this season very well.”



For Chelsea, Deco (calf) and Alex (groin) remain out. The suggestion is that Joe Cole, Yuri Zhirkov and Paulo Ferreira (all knee) could all feature against QPR but probably won’t be risked in this game, but we do have Didier Drogba and Jose Bosingwa back in the side after they missed the Champions League through suspension.

For Spurs, Dawson (Achilles), Modric (broken leg) and Woodgate (groin) miss out. Gareth Bale could be in contention after managing 90 minutes in a friendly against our Carling Cup opponents and Redknapp has to decide between Carlo Cudicini and the fit again Heurelho Gomes in goal.



Tottenham 1-0 Chelsea (21 March 2009)



CHELSEA (from): Cech, Turnbull, Hilario, Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Carvalho, A Cole, Ballack, Mikel, Lampard, Anelka, Drogba, Sturridge, Kalou, Malouda, Essien, Hutchinson, Belletti.

SPURS (from): Gomes, Cudicini, Walker, Hutton, Naughton, Corluka, King, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto, Bale, Palacios, Huddlestone, Jenas, Kranjcar, Lennon, Bentley, Giovani, Rose, Pavlyuchenko, Keane, Defoe, Crouch.



On paper, we should really take the points here. Spurs haven’t managed a win at Stamford Bridge in 22 games and whilst we’re unbeaten in our last 13 at home in the league, Spurs have only managed one clean sheet away in 13. Sadly though, the game’s not played on a sheet of A4 and whilst the statistics look favourable for us, we shouldn’t forget we haven’t beaten them in our last four meetings. They were also the last side to beat us in the league – albeit not at the Bridge. Will their embarrassment at Stamford Bridge continue? I certainly bloody hope so!



Howard Webb



Blue is the colour is an honest insight to the World of Chelsea FC. Not always pretty, sometimes rather cynical, but always realistic.


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