Sunday 4:30 pm
Stadium Stamford Bridge
Referee Anthony Taylor
Previous result Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham
This is a massive game.
Chelsea has a good manager, a good squad and is reportedly close to bringing in both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Frenkie De Jong from Barcelona. Theoretically, Chelsea should be in a good place right now.
But, despite that, it feels as though something isn’t quite right at the West London club. The new owner, Todd Boehly, has appointed himself as the club’s interim sporting director without any significant prior experience and Thomas Tuchel has publicly criticised his players’ desire during pre-season. Those factors, combined with an uninspiring performance against Everton at the opening weekend, mean that Chelsea needs to make a statement in this match. They don’t necessarily have to blow Tottenham away, but they do need a victory to prove that they are still the team to beat in the Premier League’s ‘best of the rest’ chasing pack.
It won’t be easy though because Tottenham looks like the real deal under Conte. The biggest compliment I can pay them is that, even after conceding early on against Southampton, I just knew they were going to get the three points. That’s what the top teams do – they stay composed under pressure and continue to play their game. Tottenham hasn’t always done that; in fact, in recent times they have rarely done that. But under Conte, the so-called ‘Spursy’ nature of Spurs seems to have vanished.
They have an excellent defensive structure – under Conte, they have conceded just 36 goals in 37 games since his arrival, which allows them to soak up pressure against the better sides. And in Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min, Dejan Kulusevski and now Richarlison, Spurs possess one of the most dangerous attacks in world football, never mind the Premier League.
This will be a very interesting game, with both sides likely to want to make a statement to the rest of the league.
Thomas Tuchel revealed on Friday that Chelsea would be without Marcus Alonso, who is trying to finalise his transfer to Barcelona as well as Mateo Kovacic (knee).
Oliver Skipp (foot) will miss the game after suffering a fracture in his foot.
Spurs are also likely to still be without Clement Lenglet (Groin).
This is a tough fixture to call. Chelsea vs Tottenham is always a feisty game, full of drama, full of excitement and usually full of goals too.
Tottenham does look like the better side right now given they had a more impressive end to the season last time out and have taken that form into the start of this campaign too.
But Stamford Bridge is a massive factor in this game. Tottenham’s record away at Chelsea is shambolic, and it may just tip the scales back into Chelsea’s favour. In fact, before their 3-1 victory away at ‘The bridge’ in 2018, Tottenham had gone a shocking 28 years without a win at the ground – add to that the fact that Spurs have failed to score in any of their last six matches against The Blues; and it becomes clear that this will be a tough encounter for Conte’s men.
As I have already said though, this Tottenham side has undergone a revolution under Conte. They aren’t ‘Spursy’ anymore, and as an Arsenal fan myself, that is not something I would say lightly.
In fact, since the start of last season, only Liverpool (21) has been able to better Tottenham’s 17 points earned from losing positions, and that is a testament to the mentality that Conte has been able to instil at Spurs.
For that reason, I am going to go for a narrow, hard-fought victory to the away side in what should be an excellent game to watch.
Chelsea 1-2 Tottenham
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