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Chelsea to stop Spurs charge?

Two London heavyweights meet in a highly anticipated clash in a top of the table battle, which sees Tuchel’s Chelsea take on a resurgent Tottenham side under Conte. Chelsea who currently sit 3rd in the premier league table with 44 points after 23 games played. While Tottenham on the other hand sit in 5th with 36 points but luckily for them they have games in hand as they have only played 19 times in the league.

Thomas Tuchel will be worried about the current form of his Chelsea team. Since the start of December it seems Chelsea’s struggles began.

As Liverpool and Manchester City pulled away at the top of the league to make sure the race for the title will be decided between them. 

 

Chelsea’s recent struggles have been aggravated by the ill timed Lukaku interview in which he criticised the German coach’s tactics which do not utilise the big Belgians strengths and injuries to some key players in defence and midfield.

Which has seen them pick up 14 points from a possible 30 in the last 10 games in the league.

 

In fact Tuchel’s hand was forced by the injury crisis in defence as Chelsea recalled Kennedy from loan, who will seemingly play as one of the wing-backs for the foreseeable future.

 

While Chelsea have been on their way down Tottenham have been on their way up. Not only in terms of points but since Conte’s arrival they seem to be invigorated. 

 

Their form seemed inconsistent but the game against Liverpool in December provided enough evidence that the Italian had his team pulling in the right direction.

Despite a draw against struggling Southampton after that they have looked like a team that deserves to be in the top 4. A win against Chelsea will go a long way in achieving that for Tottenham.

 

 Their most recent 3-2 victory against fellow champions league hopefuls Leicester in the league showed amazing character from Conte’s Spurs, something he’d be willing to bank on till the end of the season now. 

It will also be brilliant to see how the crowd react to Conte’s return to the Bridge as a London rival.

 

TEAM NEWS

 

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea squad have been hit with a very similar injury crisis in defence to that of Liverpool last season. Andreas Christensen, Tervoh Chalobah, Reece James and Ben Chilwell are all out injured and will not be available for this game.

This injury crisis has forced Tuchel to restructure as, in the last game he switched to a back 4 instead of his favoured 3 at the back system. But since Kennedy was recalled from his loan it is possible that he might return to a back 3 in this game.

Mendy is also not available because he is representing Senegal at the AFCON. 

 

Chelsea Probable Line-Up (3-4-3) : Kepa Arrizabalaga, Rudiger, Silva, Sarr; Kennedy, Kante, Kovacic, Alonso; Mount, Lukaku, Pulisic. 

 

Tottenham do not have a lot of players out with injury but the 3 that will not be available for this game are key members of the first team squad. Christian Romero and Eric Dier are still out with an injury while Conte would be counting the days till he can put Heung Min-Son back into the matchday squad.

The South Korean has been their ever present talisman this season and will sorely be missed.

 

Tottenham Probable Line-Up (3-1-4-2) : Lloris, Sanchez, Tanganga, Davies; Hojbjerg ; Doherty, Skipp, Winks, Regullion; Lucas , Kane

 

GAME CHANGERS

 

Mason Mount has arguably been the best player at Chelsea this season. He leads the squad for both goals and assists in the league with 7 and 5 respectively. His recent form has been a silver lining for Tuchel during this down period.

The German coach would be hoping that the dynamic duo of Pulisic and Mount behind Lukaku will cause Tottenham some serious trouble. The Chelsea number 9 will also like to showcase his true ability against Conte who resurrected his career.

 

Finally Harry Kane is back, it was about time anyway! Conte has made sure that the English striker is back to his best. He is moving and playing like a proper centre forward again.

Since the Italians arrival he has been inching closer to his best and will by far be the biggest weapon for Tottenham against Chelsea specially in Son’s absence.

 

PREDICTIONS

 

Although Chelsea welcome Tottenham to their home they will face an uphill battle from kick off. The Lilywhites Italian manager still has his imprint on this Blues side despite being managed by Tuchel for more than a year now.

But Tuchel has already beaten Conte’s Spurs twice already in a short span of time which will definitely boost the spirits in that Chelsea dressing room going into this one. Surely Conte would be able to crack their injury crisis stricken defence, which according to us will cost them the game. FootTheBall predicts a 2-1 victory in Spurs’ favour. A lot of drama and emotions are going to be seen on the sidelines of this game. 

 

Vidur Arora
A Swansea City fan, who fell in love with the game watching Joe Allen play. Usually found in the wild with headphones in his ears and bobbing his head. Love his art too.

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