Monday, January 18, 2021

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Master vs Apprentice

Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea meet on Sunday in a huge top of the table clash. Spurs are currently joint top of the Premier League alongside Liverpool, but Chelsea sit in third place just two points behind. It is also a matchup between Chelsea manager Frank Lampard and his former manager José Mourinho.

Both Chelsea and Tottenham will want to get these wins to announce themselves in the title race and get an upper hand. It is also a meeting of two former colleagues.

The Story So Far

Frank Lampard was appointed Chelsea manager in the summer of 2019 after an impressive season as Derby manager where he guided the Rams to the playoff final. Josè Mourinho was appointed Tottenham manager after the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino midway through last season. 

Frank Lampard after Derby’s playoff final loss to Aston Villa.

Mourinho’s appointment received mixed reviews after replacing the much loved Pochettino. Mourinho has been criticised for his negative tactics and not adapting to modern football. However, Mourinho’s tactics appear to be working this season.

This season, the Premier League has lacked teams who can defend. Mourinho has managed to turn Spurs into one of the most well organised units in the Premier League. Hugo Lloris has kept the second most clean sheets for goalkeepers this season in the Premier League

Jose Mourinho during his first week at Tottenham Hotspur

Chelsea were handed a transfer ban, which meant that Frank Lampard could not buy any players. To add salt to the wound, Chelsea also saw their best player in Eden Hazard leave for Real Madrid.

Not even the biggest Chelsea fan would have expected much from Lampard in his first season as Chelsea manager. Instead, Lampard guided Chelsea to a fourth place finish as well as a runners up medal in the FA Cup.

Lampard was rewarded with a huge summer spend of £222.48 million and so far, most of these signings have paid off.

The jury is still out on record signing Kai Havertz but striker Timo Werner is looking more dangerous every game, despite missing some recent sitters. The German international has so far scored 4 goals in 9 Premier League games.

Frank Lampard and Timo Werner.

In February, Hakim Ziyech agreed to join Chelsea in the summer after impressing at Ajax. Whilst it has taken him time to get into the team, he is now looking worth every penny of the €40 million Chelsea paid.

Ben Chilwell is exactly what Chelsea paid for. Edouard Mendy has brought some stability to the goalkeeper position that the club lacked with Kepa between the sticks.

Frank Lampard initially struggled to know what his best team was, which was evident in the results. The first five games saw two wins, two draws and a loss. Since then, Chelsea have drawn once and won three straight games.

José Mourinho vs Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard and José Mourinho won two Premier League titles together at Chelsea.

The matchup between both sides will be interesting. Mourinho has transformed striker Harry Kane’s all round game from being known as just a goalscorer. I have talked about this in a previous article where I discussed Tottenham’s title credentials.

Since writing the article, Tottenham have continued to win. Last weekend’s 2-0 win over Manchester City sent out a statement to the rest of the league.

Chelsea will need to be at their best to stop the lethal duo of Kane and Son Heung-min who are high up on the goals and assists table. Kane is still the league’s top assist maker so far this season and Son is the second top goalscorer.

Kane and Son during Tottenham Hotspur’s 5-2 win over Southampton.

Kane does a great job of dropping back deep and allowing Son to break through. We have seen Kane’s work rate massively improve under Mourinho.

Kurt Zouma and Antonio Rüdiger were the centre back pairing in the 2-0 over Newcastle last weekend. Zouma has been a regular whereas Rüdiger played his first football of the season. Zouma will almost certainly play and will do so alongside either Rüdiger or Thiago Silva. Whoever plays on Sunday will need to be on high alert for this Tottenham attack.

Timo Werner remains a threat in the Chelsea attack and Tammy Abraham has began a resurgence, with two goals in as many games. The Tottenham defence manage to shut out the Man City attack, which will give them the confidence to take on Chelsea’s attack this weekend.

Tammy Abraham and Timo Werner.

Prediction

Chelsea won 2-0 and 2-1 in the two Premier League fixtures last season and Mourinho will hope it’s third time lucky against his former player. I think that this will be the case as there is a certain mood around Spurs at the moment. I am going for a 1-0 Tottenham win.


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