Chelsea face Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday evening. The Blues beat Spurs four times last season and have a formidable home record against these opponents. After a fine transfer window, finishing in the top four and winning 4-1 on the opening day, confidence is very high in Antonio Conte’s squad.
Chelsea didn’t have the best finish to last season. The final ten rounds saw a 4-1 home loss to Brentford, 4-2 at home to Arsenal and 1-0 at struggling Everton. At one point, it looked like The Blues could throw away a top four spot.
The end to the season was slightly better despite throwing away a 2-0 lead at home to draw 2-2 with Wolves. Chelsea won 3-0 at Leeds and got a 2-1 win at home to Watford on the final day having already secured a top four finish by that point. They went to Everton and won 1-0 on the opening day of this season thanks to a Jorginho penalty.
Chelsea Team News
The Blues could hand a full debut to Marc Cucurella at left wingback in place of the ring-rusty Ben Chilwell. Timo Werner has been sold back to RB Leipzig this week in the attack. Kai Havertz should get another start despite some iffy form and the return from loan of Armando Broja.
Thomas Tuchel may consider an inventive formation with Ruben Loftus-Cheek possibly coming in to play a hybrid wingback role. In all likelihood though, it will be just one change from the win at Everton with Cucurella starting. There are no injuries to contend with for this match.
This is a huge fixture for Chelsea, perhaps the biggest on the football calendar. Tuchel’s team will play for the win and look to press at home on the smaller Stamford Bridge pitch. A draw would not be a disaster but a defeat certainly would.
Expect some interesting tweaks from the coach such as using Raheem Sterling as a false nine again or a hybrid 3-4-3 slash 4-4-2 diamond shape.
Spurs have been highly impressive under Antonio Conte, especially in recent months. They won eight of their final 11 league matches last season to finish in the top four places. Most impressive is how freely they have been scoring with six matches since February seeing four or more goals scored in a match.
A 3-0 win at home against Arsenal and then a 1-0 win against Burnley all but sealed Champions League football. They went to Norwich on the final day and won 5-0 for good measure. Their opening match of this season brought a 4-1 home win against Southampton having been a goal behind. Perhaps most impressive is that neither Harry Kane nor Son Heung-min were on the scoresheet.
Tottenham Team News
Oliver Skipp is the only player ruled out for Tottenham. Harry Winks, Gio Lo Celso, Tanguy Ndombele and Sergio Reguilon remain frozen out of first team affairs as they’re not in Conte’s plans.
The lineup is expected to be unchanged from last week. That means Yves Bissouma and Ivan Perisic will be on the bench again, as will Clement Lenglet. Richarlison is back from a suspension and will be in the squad for the first time.
Conte’s side will be hugely motivated to show their improvement from their three defeats in a two week period to Chelsea under the coach last term. They often cede possession in these big games and play on the counter attack and this could be similar.
Spurs will play to win but won’t see a draw as a poor result. It would still be a sign of progress for the club as they look to finish above Chelsea this season.
Chelsea have won just 4 of their last 11 home PL matches
CFC have conceded in 5 of their last 6 home matches (12 goals leaked)
Chelsea beat Tottenham on 4 occasions last season
Spurs have won 9 of their last 12 PL matches
Tottenham have kept 4 clean sheets in their last 5 away PL matches
Spurs have won 1 of their last 32 matches away at Chelsea since 1990
This match will be a great barometer of Spurs’ progress under Conte. Any of the three results is possible despite Tottenham’s awful record at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea look a bit undercooked physically so it’s hard to see them taking three points – a draw may be the best bet.
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