Another week and another big game for the Blues as they face London rivals Tottenham. In a match that will be vital for the top four challenge. For Frank Lampard, he will be wanting to use this game as a springboard to get back to winning ways and help to ease the memory of the previous home game.
Losing 2-0 to Manchester United was an awful result, filled with VAR controversy but the boss will demand nothing less than three points here. Jose Mourinho returns to the Bridge with another team and they are fresh off the back of a 1-0 loss to RB Leipzig in the Champions League; this is a game with two teams in faltering form, but at the end of the day, it is still Chelsea versus Spurs.
We’ll start with the big news; Ruben Loftus-Cheek is back the Blues and available on the bench. After a lengthy layoff, the man mountain has missed out on the youth revolution at Chelsea and fans will be hoping they get to see him in any format tomorrow – even if it was just a small cameo.
Lampard had this to say about the injuries at the current time ‘N’Golo Kante is not fit, he has a muscle injury and will be out for three weeks. Pulisic is not fit. Tammy has trained and is in the squad. Christensen went to get a mask for a broken nose but is available.’
On the goalkeeper situation he claims he’ll choose the player that he feels will give them the best chance of winning the game. He indicated that work in training and a good attitude will be the main factors in his selection across the team.
But for now, no Christian Pulisic, no Kante or it seems Callum Hudson-Odoi, who missed the game against United.
For the opposing team, star players and attackers Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min are both out of the game. Whilst Moussa Sissoko is still battling a long term injury. But, the main cause for concern will be the fitness of the team after completing a tough Champions League game only on Wednesday night ahead of the early kick off on Saturday.
With Chelsea stuttering in recent weeks, the United was a reflection of the struggles they are facing. Top four almost looked a certainty with all the teams dropping points left, right and centre. But now, it has come full circle and Chelsea find themselves in a real battle with Tottenham, Manchester United and Sheffield United all a win away from overtaking the Blues.
Chelsea have picked up only five points from their last five games whilst Spurs have picked up double the amount in the same time. Most notably, the win at home against former Champions Manchester City.
With players out injured for both teams, the lack of Kane and Son are a huge miss. With Leipzig operating with a three at the back formation on Wednesday night, surely Lampard will take inspiration in perhaps emulating those tactics as he did in the game at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium in late December.
He claims it is a much different game, however with Lucas Moura likely to start up top on his own and without genuine attacking output, that formation could really frustrate and nullify Spurs. Especially in that first game where they were forced to go long due to the high press and going long this time to the likes of Alli and Moura will not pay dividends, one would think.
Chelsea need to bring in the likes of Mount and Willian and hope that Tammy is available from the start as Michy Batshuayi really struggled against United. Reece James in a wing back role could be a masterstroke as he has looked good going forward all season; this role would give more freedom with three centre backs. Christensen, Rudiger and Tomori at the back could be the back three – with Jorginho and Kovacic anchoring the midfield.
I believe the Blues will get back to winning ways as the game against United was generally an unlucky game due to certain decisions. However, this will not be an easy game as we are struggling to put the ball in the back of the net. We can take inspiration from the last time we faced them when the team also came into the game in a bad run of form. From the outset, there were big tackles, energy in the press and in the end, a lot of quality on show. Something similar needs to be replicated tomorrow to come away with the three points.