Preview: Chelsea vs Tottenham – Top of the League?

Chelsea vs Tottenham – Introduction

It’s a special weekend in the Premier League as one of the fiercest rivalries of the league is set to be on showcase again with Frank Lampard’s Blues locking horns with Jose Mourinho’s Lilywhites this Sunday. It’s Chelsea vs Tottenham!

In recent years, the historic ‘Battle of the Bridge’ 4 years ago remains etched in memory. Not only did it disrupt Tottenham’s hope for a title but it also enhanced a disdain between the two London rivals.

The cagey aftermath paved way for an emerging and heated rivalry that continues to this day and once again will come into the forefront this Sunday at Stamford Bridge. Both clubs look much stronger this season thanks to astute transfer business.

Chelsea vs Tottenham – Recent History

Chelsea vs Tottenham extends beyond the teams and their fans as the managers from both the sides will be looking to make a point as well, especially Mourinho. The “Master” hasn’t so far been able to convincingly get the better of his former “apprentice.” The two have come face to face on four occasions with Lampard winning on 3 while Jose winning the last one on penalties.

The two teams have played each other on 162 occasions so far with Chelsea registering 72 wins and Spurs with 55 while 40 of those matches have ended in a draw. The record in the last 10 matches has been pretty close though, with Chelsea winning 6 and Spurs with 4 in all competitions.

Chelsea vs Tottenham will be the fourth clash between Jose Mourinho and Frank Lampard.
Jose and Lampard have history together. Image Credit: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images.

The fact that it will be Chelsea’s 1000th match this weekend makes it even more special and Frank will be hoping to make sure that it’s a memorable one for the fans and more importantly, the best owner in world football, Roman Abramovich.

Know your enemy – Tottenham Hotspur

   The situation at Tottenham Hotspur is completely different than what it was before the season started. Tottenham’s All or Nothing series became a world phenomenon on Amazon Prime and Mourinho still had doubters questioning him as Head Coach.

Fast forward 3 months later, Tottenham is top of the league and lead Chelsea by 2 points and Liverpool by goal difference. They have won their last 8 out of 10 games in all competitions and are on a current 4 game winning streak in the league. Their last Premier League match came against Manchester City where they managed to beat them 2-0 at home thanks to goals from Heung-Min Son and Giovani Lo Celso in a dogged ‘Mourinho Masterclass’.  

   Formations and Tactics

Mourinho’s primary formations are the 4-3-3 and the 4-2-3-1 where the latter is the most frequently used. Their build-up usually consists of a back three where Pierre-Emile Højbjerg drops deep between the CBs while the fullbacks push up. This happens mostly when Sergio Reguilon starts at left-back who is more adventurous in the attack. If Ben Davies starts, he would tuck in along with the CBs acting as a more defensive role due to his offensive limitations. Tottenham prefers to be efficient in how they create chances and sacrifice risk; therefore, aren’t afraid to go long to their front players (Kane and Son).

Spurs will rather invite pressure in their own half and allow the opposition to control the ball. They heavily rely on mistakes in midfield to punish teams on the counter, especially against top teams.

  Against Manchester City, they lost heavily in possession but came out the victors due to their ruthlessness up top, one of the notable characteristics of a Mourinho side.

Manchester City vs Tottenham was frustrating for the Citizens.
City were frustrated by Spurs dogged showing. Image Credit: Neil Hall/POOL via Getty Images.

   The transformation of Tanguy Ndombele is also duly noted, improving his overall game to become a more featured player in the eleven. His ball-carrying ability and 1v1 skills allow him to progress the ball high up the field and link up with the attack.

Heung-Min Son is their top goalscorer with 10 goals and 3 assists in all comps. His off-the-ball runs can be devastating if left unmarked as he tends to positions himself between the centre-backs and fullbacks with Harry Kane dropping deep as a false 9.  Tottenham’s deadly duo of Kane and Son is lethal with Kane assisting Son 7 times and Son assisting Kane twice. 

Dangerman: Harry Kane

Tottenham can be a devastating side on the offensive and are a threatening team on all fronts. Their quality on the wide areas is glaring and highly dangerous, with 15 goals out of all their wide players combined.

Kante will need to keep a close eye on Harry Kane. Image Credit: Nick Potts via PA Images/Getty Images.

Harry Kane leads the line and will be a thorn in the flesh for Chelsea. The Spurs captain is on a tremendous run of form in the Premier League registering 7 goals and 9 assists in just 9 games. This means he leads for assists this season.

Chelsea FC – Blues in Good Form

Frank Lampard has rejuvenated his midfield in a more dynamic attacking approach assigning two mobile 8s and one holding midfielder.

The first matches were tough for Chelsea, as many of the new acquisitions were not yet ready to be integrated into the lineup. The reintroduction of the 3-man midfield permits Chelsea to be more fluid in their build-up and look more convincing in the final third.

Chelsea have scored at least 2 goals for six matches running. Image Credit: Owen Humphreys via PA Wire/PA Images.

As a result, the Blues are currently on a winning streak themselves, only losing once all season in acrimonious circumstances to Liverpool. Chelsea comes into the match 3rd in the table and 1st in the league in goals scored (22).

Formation and Tactics

The last time vs Tottenham, Frank opted for a back three and tried to stretch out Mourinho’s side with wingbacks. This boded well initially creating many attacking opportunities in the first half and dominating Spurs in possession. Mourinho countered this by denying space to the wingbacks and pushing his fullbacks against them to force them centrally.  Lampard can go about this game in many directions, such as going for a direct approach on the flanks. Tottenham struggled against City in many areas despite winning. They forced Manchester City wide by creating a congested midfield block. City however still managed to create good chances but their inefficiency in front of goal ultimately let them down. 

Thiago Silva will be expected to start vs Tottenham
Thiago Silva has been instrumental in Chelsea’s good defensive form. Image Credit: Getty Images.

    The Blues will have to be wary on the counter and try to avoid leaving space in midfield. Harry Kane enjoys dropping deep to pull in the opposing centre-backs out of position and create gaps in behind. The pace of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Timo Werner could prove useful and might be a possible pairing for the weekend.

The directness and speed of CHO opened the scoreline against Rennes after Mason Mount delivered a wonderful over the top pass on the counter. Tottenham ordinarily tries to prioritize defensive structure and will be compact between the lines so stretching out their defenders is crucial. Our attacking front line will also need to be clinical in front of the goal to ensure a positive result.

One to Watch: Timo Werner

Despite fatigue playing a part in his average performance in Chelsea’s UCL fixture against Rennes earlier in the week, Werner is in red-hot form for the Blues.

Timo Werner scored his first Chelsea goal vs Tottenham.
Werner scored his first Chelsea goal against Spurs. Image Credit: Matt Dunham via PA Wire/PA Images.

He has 4 goals and 3 assists to his name in the Premier League so far, and he has scored twice in his last two outings against Spurs, once for Chelsea in the EFL Cup tie in October and last season for RB Leipzig during a comfortable Champions League win for the Germans.

Chelsea vs Tottenham Predicted Lineups:

Chelsea: 4-3-3

Mendy; James, Silva, Zouma, Chilwell; Kantel Mount, Havertz; Ziyech, Tammy, Werner

Tottenham Hotspur: 4-2-3-1

Lloris; Doherty, Dier, Sanchez, Reguilon; Sissoko, Hojbjerg; Son, Ndombele, Bale; Kane

 Chelsea vs Tottenham – Final Thoughts

   It is a huge London Derby, and coming out the victors could place us as favourites to challenge Liverpool for the title. Moreover, capturing 3 points could also elevate our confidence in the upcoming busy schedule and help us sustain our current momentum.

Will Chelsea vs Tottenham end in more blue delight?
Will we see more celebrations like this on Sunday? Image Credit: PA.

A match against Tottenham is never dull and putting on a strong performance against this tough Mourinho side could dictate where we stand in the league and whether we can make a strong push for the premier league season. 

Chelsea face Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday 29th November at Stamford Bridge. Kick-off time is 4:30pm.

Written by Rey Aguilar (@Rey_Blues30) & Shyam (@shyamtalks)

Edited by Rob Pratley

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