It’s (London) derby time!
A week will have gone by since Chelsea’s humiliating defeat at the hands of AFC Bournemouth when the Blues take on José Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur — never thought I’d be writing that — at White Hart Lane on Sunday. Frank Lampard really has had his work cut out of late as the honeymoon period seems well and truly over after merely a single win in five games. It goes without saying that this slump in form has come at the worst possible time and a big reaction is needed from the players.
Spurs, on the other hand, have been able to turn things around almost entirely since surprisingly sacking former manager Mauricio Pochettino as four wins out of their last five games in the Premier League clearly has “the José Mourinho effect” written all over it. With Dele Alli and Heung-min Son looking like completely new players and continuing to go from strength to strength, Chelsea has a very tough task ahead of them if they want to get any kind of result out of this.
The Team News
This season has seen a host of players get injured and then again return to fitness, at no time leaving the Blues with an entirely healthy squad. However, Lampard has confirmed in his press conference on Friday that Chelsea will be able to draw on each and every single player for the game against Tottenham, with the sole exception of long-time absentee Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
This news comes as a huge boost at the right time as the possibility of being able to field the likes of Fikayo Tomori (whether he actually ends up playing or not) gives Lampard a further option in a recently very shaky defense. Additionally, Olivier Giroud makes a return after missing last weekend’s game, though one wouldn’t necessarily expect the Frenchman to feature, and much less start, anyway.
After initially relying heavily on multiple academy players during our strong start to the season, Frank Lampard has started to increasingly draw on more experience within the squad. It therefore doesn’t seem far fetched to assume that Chelsea will do so once more, especially given the fact that Fikayo Tomori’s just come back from injury and Callum Hudson-Odoi’s unfortunately not been the same since returning from own serious one back in September.
Also, the team has recently seen somewhat of an interchange in formations as the previously undisputed 4-2-3-1 seems to have gotten stern competition from a variation of last year’s 4-3-3. Given the circumstances, I believe Chelsea’s starting eleven will consequently see very few changes from last week’s one and could look as such:
Kepa | Azpilicueta-Rüdiger-Zouma-Emerson | Jorginho-Kanté-Kovačić | Pulisic-Abraham-Willian
The Blues have been notoriously unable to be clinical, not to say ineffective, in their big games this season as each encounter against one of last year’s “top six” saw them come off second best. Regardless, seeing that Tottenham is only 3 points behind us in the table and a win would put them above us on goal difference, we really do need some kind of a result here if we want to stay in the hunt for those Champions League spots in the long run.
Frank Lampard will be well aware of his former mentor José Mourinho’s ability to be a huge spoil sport and a master of mind games so I honestly hope that we do take game to them, yet nevertheless stay mindful at all times and don’t risk any lapses in concentration. If the team decides to turn up the way they did against Bournemouth then I really do see this game ending exceptionally badly, as much as it hurts me to say.
Let’s just hope Chelsea have learnt from their previous mistakes and are able to finally put an end to this dreadful record against the big guns. I mean, it’s Tottenham, lads, right?