Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea hope to continue their superb start when they face Tottenham Hotspur in this weekend’s showdown.
This is certainly shaping up to be a fascinating clash. Spurs were truly awful last week, suffering a humiliating 3-0 reverse against Crystal Palace. Japhet Tanganga lost his head completely and was shown a second yellow card, effectively ending the game as a contest.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have bounced back from their 1-1 Anfield draw with a 3-0 home win over Aston Villa. The sides lock horns this weekend at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Blues hot favourites heading into the clash.
English Premier League
Sunday 19 September
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
To Win Match
It hasn’t taken Spurs a very long to hit their first speedbump of the season. Their 3-0 loss to Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace was certainly the low point of their campaign thus far.
Harry Kane doesn’t look like he’s all there and before the cavalry start to attack me, consider this: I’m not suggesting that under Nuno Espirito Santo Spurs play the most attractive and end to end football… but they certainly look like a well-coached side and clearly playing to a plan and system.
Their use of width with their fullbacks is admirable and I’ll certainly doff my cap to that. Harry Kane made no secret of his desire to win silverware and Daniel Levy’s reluctance to let the England centre-forward god has been well documented.
Perhaps it would have been best for both parties if he was sold early in the window, allowing Nuno sufficient time to find a replacement.
It doesn’t get any easier for the North London side, though. Chelsea come into the fixture with form on their side. Of course, Japhet Tanganga’s red card would change the game, and so I wouldn’t read too much into the scoreline.
Looking ahead, Spurs have plenty of issues with player availability. Tanganga is suspended while their South American contingent of Cristian Romero, Giovani Lo Celso and Davinson Sanchez are in quarantine and may not be available this weekend. There are also question marks around Heung-Min Son and Eric Dier who will need to be assessed before the game.
Let’s get something straight, Saul Niguez is an incredibly talented player. I will concede that he struggled on debut against Aston Villa – yet another indication of the level and competitiveness evident in the English league – but his quality is still undeniable.
The fact that football fans on social media lamented at his performance and proclaimed that their respective clubs dodged a bullet is somewhat premature if you ask me. What I did enjoy though was a tweet by one fan suggesting that Saul was in desperate need of a ‘road to Damascus’ moment…
Anyway, the importance and value in a solid holding defensive midfielder has been well documented in the modern game. N’Golo Kante has long been the posterboy of the position made famous by Claude Makalele, but Thomas Tuchel is blessed with options at Chelsea. Kante, Saul, Jorginho and Kovacic would all stake steady claims for the position most (if not all) clubs in the league.
The value in the traditional ‘holding 6’ not only lies in the screening of your defence to break-up play in the centre of the park, but also having a player who can singlehandedly transition your side from defence to attack. This also provides the lubricant necessary for progressive, fast build-up play. Yes, I am aware this is an oversimplification of the role and responsibility – but you get the point.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Chelsea are a complete and dangerous team under Thomas Tuchel. They came away from their fixture with Aston Villa as 3-0 winners and, you wouldn’t be completely exaggerating had you felt it was hard-fought. However, Villa attempted 18 shots at Stamford Bridge – only Liverpool have had more attempts at the Bridge in a league game – and yet still their resolute defence, silky transitions and robust attacking talent seemed largely undeterred.
A lot has been said about the importance of keeping players like Lukaku fit, and I couldn’t agree more! Well, why would you when your striker has a 100% shot to goal conversion rate in the box?
Chelsea at almost even money is incredible value – value that nobody deserves to miss out on! Make sure to tell everyone and anyone that you can – this simply must be part of your multiple and weekend wager.
This Chelsea side is truly a well-oiled machine, especially in the so-called big games. I truly cannot see where Nuno’s Spurs could hurt this side (even if they look to be nice and neatly compact through the middle as was the case against City). I’m all in on Chelsea here!