Match date & time: Saturday 8th March 2014. Kick off 5:30pm.
Competition: Premier League.
Venue: Stamford Bridge.
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1.
It’s a big one! A London derby to start off what is an extremely difficult March period for Spurs, the games are going to be coming thick and fast and this is when our Champions League credentials will be tested to the max; if we can win it will send a message, it will give the players confidence that they can make the top four, and it could also give our Europa League campaign a boost. The game is massive, for Chelsea’s title hopes and our Champions League hopes, but I think a loss for Chelsea is much more detrimental to them than a loss for us would be; as Sherwood has touched on in his press conference (below), we go to Chelsea without fear, without expectation and with the pressure off from the media; if we are to lose, it’s expected and wouldn’t be a shock, which means the pressure is on for Chelsea to conform to that, we’re going there to win, for sure, but we can play with freedom and with the expectation from the footballing world off, but obviously the pressure from the fans still firmly on. Hopefully, the underdog status will suit us as it has in the past, and we can cause a stir up at the top of the table. The last time we faced Chelsea, we got a 1-1 draw under AVB, in the very early part of the season with both sides still jelling under new conditions, with Chelsea it was a change of manager and with Spurs a change of squad, so the coming game will see for sure who has progressed under their new changes and who has fallen behind! We have the opportunity to make history; we are yet to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League era, so I think we are due a win!
Chelsea are top of the Premier League 4 points clear at the top, although Manchester City have two games in hand. It’s been a great season under Jose Mourinho, only losing 3 games out of the 28 played, less than anyone in the League, and so beating them is going to be a massive challenge. Chelsea are unbeaten at home under Jose Mourinho in the Premier League, and that makes our challenge even harder, but hey, To Dare is To Do as the famous saying goes. The team news for Chelsea is that Eden Hazard is fit even after picking up a knock with Belgium, but Ashley Cole, David Luiz and Marco Van Ginkel are out of the game. The main threat for the Blues is Eden Hazard, he brings so much quality to Chelsea, he is quick, strong, skilful and his end product has improved so much this season, scoring 12 Premier League goals and getting 7 assists, even in the games against the big sides in which in the past he was prone to disappearing, he has been one of the best players in the League this season, no doubt about it. Along with Hazard, Willian is an extremely talented player, and it pains me that we were so close to his signature and failed to sign him, he’s been great recently for Chelsea. Andre Schurrle is also in great form, getting a hat-trick last time out against Fulham, so we have to keep those three as quiet as we can, a job for Sandro.
The team news for Spurs is that Erik Lamela (thigh/back), Vlad Chiriches (back), Etienne Capoue (ankle) and Danny Rose (knee) have been ruled out of the game, which is a big blow, with Christian Eriksen (back) and Zeki Fryers (ankle) doubts, facing late fitness tests, so we hope for the best in those tests. The good news is that Kyle Walker, Younes Kaboul and Gylfi Sigurdsson return to action after injuries, a massive boost. The return of Kyle Walker is massive, if he starts it gives us something we have badly missed recently, a powerful, pacey threat on the right hand side, and Walker being able to defend against Eden Hazard, and not Kyle Naughton. Kyle Walker has been one of our most impressive players this season, hopefully he can come back into the side and put in a good performance. With Younes Kaboul possibly being put into the starting 11, it gives us a big lift; he is a rock at the back and gives others around him a lot of confidence, he is likely to pair up with captain Michael Dawson, with Jan Vertonghen moving over to left back with Fryers a doubt and Danny Rose out. I really hope Christian Eriksen makes it, I have a feeling he will shake off the knock and play, as the injury is hardly serious and I’m sure he could definitely play a part, it would be another boost for us if he could play, on the left or in the hole. Although Soldado scored against Cardiff, it would be best that he doesn’t start, and Paulinho plays in-behind Emmanuel Adebayor, because Chelsea play three brilliant midfielders, and so we may need to counter that with Sandro, Paulinho and Dembele who can rival any midfield trio, this protects against being overrun in the centre. Paulinho gives a lot when he plays higher up, much better than when he plays deep. If Eriksen is fit, I’d play him instead of Paulinho though.
Match facts provided by Opta
- 5 of the last 7 meetings between these teams have finished level, including three 1-1 scores.
- Chelsea’s 9 games this season against the current top 7 have featured just 15 goals.
- 5 of Chelsea’s last 9 matches have been goalless at half-time.
- Spurs have won the second half in 12 of their last 20 away games – the best record in the league.
- Chelsea have won 2-1 in 5 of their last 7 home games against top-six teams.
- Chelsea have picked up the most points on home soil in the Barclays Premier League (38) this season.
- No team have earned more points away from home in the Barclays Premier League than Tottenham (29).
- Chelsea have scored first in their last five matches.
- Gylfi Sigurdsson (Spurs) has scored 2 goals against Chelsea in his last 2 appearances against them.
- Emmanuel Adebayor has 11 goals in 17 appearances, level with Roberto Soldado who has 11 goals in 30 appearances.
Hugeeee game! It’s always a tense and passionate affair when Chelsea face Spurs, the rivalry is fierce and I think we can take confidence that anything can happen in a London derby, so let’s hope luck is on our side and we can get the win! I will be providing match updates, including goal updates, videos, pictures and vines at my twitter account @AddictedToSpurs. Let’s get three points!! COYS!!
My predicted/preferred team to face Chelsea at the Bridge:
Walker – Dawson – Kaboul – Vertonghen
Sandro – Dembele
Lennon – Paulinho – Sigurdsson
Tim Sherwood talks to the press ahead of our game against Chelsea: