Date: Sunday 14th August 2022
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick-off: 16:30 BST
Second game of the new season for us this afternoon and it’s Sp*rs visiting Stamford Bridge.
I’d have to say it doesn’t feel the right time to be facing them given they strolled to a win against Southampton for the opener, tucking away 4 goals in the process whilst we looked less convincing in a much tighter win courtesy of a Jorginho penalty.
Not unexpectedly, it was tough opener for us but games against the Toffees generally are. It was a win though, and however it comes we’d take that against a tricky side for us. We’re a way off being a well-oiled machine however – more a Robin Reliant with mechanical problems, losing power when accelerating and going round in circles.
It’s not all bad news though, Thiago Silva was an absolute beast again; someone needs to check his birth certificate – along with his Champions League medal, eh Jamie? We can’t grumble about the new signings either; Cucurella looks a solid buy, Koulibaly slotted in as if he’d always played there and we know Sterling has goals in him, as long as we don’t dull them down.
Onto the negatives though, the square pegs in round holes system doesn’t accommodate the players’ strengths. Yes, Chilwell is a little way off his best – unsurprisingly after his injury – but even when firing on all cylinders, how do you get the best out of him and Reece if there’s no-one to whip the ball in to? Sterling’s not going to pick up anything much above waist height and a false 9’s just not happening with Havertz – what have we done to his game by the way? Mason Mount the same, superb under Frank Lampard now seems stifled playing further forward under Tuchel. I’m not sure why any manager would be happy with a midfield content on passing sideways when we could be moving the ball forward with a more energetic, attacking set-up. Number 9 or not, you don’t score goals by fannying around in the middle of the pitch.
Ironically, Antonio Conte was there to witness the only Sp*rs win against us at Stamford Bridge in the league since 1990, because he was in charge of the losing side in April 2018. Obviously, we beat them and Conte four times last season, but our former boss was quick to strengthen in the window and I’d expect them to be much more prepared for today’s game.
In fact, I’ve a feeling this afternoon’s game might expedite any remaining plans in the market.
Going into today’s game, Thomas Tuchel says “I think coaches would prefer to play these games later but it’s very exciting at the same time because you feel the tension and the excitement. People will be excited to watch and follow, but in general we would like to have a bit more time, but we don’t. You don’t have time in football, so we need to be ready at the moment every week and very soon be ready twice a week to be competitive and live up to our own standards.
We try to find solutions to win this game and to be on our highest level. It can also help to have a big match like this very early, it lifts you up and gives you a push that is sometimes also needed. They took advantage of their situation with a stable club, the ownership was clear and it’s clear that they reached Champions League and they took advantage to reinforce their squad very early, very direct and very straightforward. They had a calm pre-season, were on their system and the roles were clear, so it seems like they are a bit ahead of us from the start and out of the blocks, but it does not mean that you win the race just because you win the start.”
Tottenham manager, Antonio Conte meanwhile, says “Last season, we played three games after only two months since I arrived. Now we’ve had seven months plus one month of pre-season. I think the work we implement that as a team we’re better than last season. Then the transfer market is for us and for Chelsea, but the most important thing is not only to sign players, which is important especially when you have to face four competitions you have to have a good squad in the numerical aspect but also to try to improve the quality, and I think we did this. But I think Chelsea is one of the best teams in England and Europe. Two years ago they won the Champions League and last season they won the World Cup as a club. I was there, I know the investment that they do every season.
For sure on Sunday it will be a difficult game but we want to play this game. I want to play this game and my players want to play this game because it will be important this game to make the right evaluation of our improvement. I think this game will be very important for us and then if we win, lose or draw, we have to be good to make the right evaluation about the game, because you can win a game and be lucky and lose a game but be unlucky.
For me it will be very important to understand and make the right evaluation after the game, the performance, the way we played and to feel our improvement for the future.”
For Chelsea, Mateo Kovacic (knee) and Maros Alonso (outgoing) aren’t available although there don’t appear to be any concerns around Koulibaly, who went off against Everton with cramp and Cucurella could start.
For Tottenham, Clement Lenglet (adductor muscle) and Oliver Skipp (foot) will miss out. New signing Richarlison is available after suspension.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Koulibaly; James, Jorginho, Kante, Cucurella; Sterling, Mount, Havertz
TOTTENHAM (Possible line-up): Lloris; Romero, Dier, Davies; Emerson, Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Sessegnon; Kulusevski, Kane, Son
Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham (23rd January 2022)
CURRENT FORM (PL)
- Tottenham have won seven of 60 Premier League games against Chelsea
- Tottenham have only beaten Chelsea once in the league at Stamford Bridge since February 1990
- Chelsea have dropped points in their opening Premier League home fixture in four of the past seven seasons.
- Tottenham are on a run of four successive Premier League victories, the longest current winning run in the division.
- Tottenham have won 99 Premier League London derby matches, and could be the third side to reach 100 victories after Chelsea and Arsenal.
- However, Spurs only took one point in their five away London derbies last season, scoring just one goal.
- Harry Kane needs two goals to break Sergio Agüero’s record of most Premier League goals for a single club: 184 for Manchester City.
Sportsmole: Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham