Tottenham Hotspur will look to get back to winning ways when they host Chelsea in a Premier League London derby on Thursday at 8pm.
Spurs were on a roll until last week, losing two games in a row, including that debilitating 1-0 defeat to relegation-threatened Brighton, but a spicy London derby against their manager’s old club is just what the doctor ordered. For the Blues, this is a chance to win their second consecutive game under new coach Thomas Tuchel.
What will happen when Spurs host Chelsea? We’ve come up with five predictions:
1. Spurs will line up like…
Sergio Reguilon, Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Giovani Lo Celso all remain sidelined for the hosts, while it is not yet clear whether Serge Aurier will return to the matchday squad after he allegedly left the stadium after being taken off against Liverpool. The Ivorian was dropped for Moussa Sissoko in the Brighton defeat in what was described by Mourinho as a “technical decision”.
2. Chelsea will line up like…
Hakim Ziyech was kept on ice for the Burnley win and should return to the squad for this midweek clash, but Kai Havertz and Kurt Zouma are injury doubts heading across the M25, with Tuchel confirming the pair picked up ‘slight issues’ in Wednesday’s training session; their involvement is now “questionable” according to the German.
3. Vinicius to take his chance
Spurs will be without Kane against Chelsea, and as we saw in the Liverpool defeat, they struggle when their talisman isn’t on the field. A return of 12 goals and 11 assists this season is a phenomenal output for anyone, and of course Spurs will miss him.
The problem has been that, at least initially, Spurs have failed to turn to their back-up striker to fill the void Kane has left. However at half-time against Brighton, Carlos Vinicius came off the bench to take his place atop a 4-2-3-1 system and Spurs got better as a result.
The visitors had seven shots in the second-half at the Amex, hitting the target four times. This was a huge improvement from the first-half where they managed just the single shot and it didn’t even hit the target. They still lost but it was an improvement and Vinicius (two shots, both on target, one forcing a great save from Robert Sanchez) was a big part of that.
2020/21 Premier League outright winner odds by William Hill:
- Manchester City: 1/4
- Liverpool: 4/1
- Manchester United: 16/1
- Spurs: 66/1
- Leicester: 66/1
- Chelsea: 100/1
So not only should Vinicius get a chance from the off against Chelsea but he will surely take it as well. Chelsea’s defence has been very impressive since Tuchel took over, but as always it would be foolish to count out Vinicius just because he’s not a big name.
Vinicius’ skill-set is very balanced; he’s no Kane but he’s a very good striker who knows where the goal is. Supplied by the Spurs first-stringers, Vinicius will prove his worth by scoring against Chelsea’s back-line. It might not be the prettiest goal, but they all count!
4. Tuchel will aim for more bite
Tuchel has managed two games and his side have conceded zero goals. Chelsea have been impressively solid in defence with three centre-backs and two defensive midfielders covering their attackers. However it’s not exactly yielded much goal action.
Against Wolves, the Blues barely looked like scoring, and even though they netted twice against Burnley, both finishes were completely abnormal and they only really created two good openings besides that (which, to be fair, should have been converted).
Tuchel will know that to breach the Spurs defence he will need a bit more bite, but of course he won’t want to commit one of his midfielders to overload, at the risk of exposing his defence. Except he won’t have to, because N’Golo Kante is fit again.
So while Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic offer stability and possession as a pair, Mason Mount and Kante are slightly more chaotic as a duo, but in a way that should make Chelsea more dangerous. Mount will obviously drive on to help overload in attacking zones while Kante is such a legendary defence-minded midfielder that he should be able to cover that central zone by himself.
5. Chelsea to keep on rollin’
Tuchel’s good start at Chelsea has been helped by two teams who have really not done much of a job in terms of attacking, or even counter-attacking the Blues. Against Spurs that will obviously change as they have one of the best counter-attacking weapons in the game today with Son Heung-min.
And even though we predicted Vinicius to score, Tuchel’s changes in the middle, combined with what will undoubtedly be another rotated front three (Chelsea really do have an embarrassment of riches in attack), will probably see the Blues have just too much firepower for Spurs’ defence to handle, even a defence as well organised as theirs.
Spurs vs Chelsea betting favourites:
- Tottenham to win: 5/2
- Draw: 23/10
- Chelsea to win: 23/20
After all, if they do start Olivier Giroud, Christian Pulisic and Timo Werner in attack then, not only will they be subjecting Chelsea to multiple waves of pressure from dangerous attacking areas, but they will also be able to call on Tammy Abraham and potentially Havertz, injury permitting.
So yes, Spurs should score (maybe even first!) but Chelsea will have too much firepower at the end of the day. Maybe one of their subs scores, maybe more than one, but the bench will make a difference and the Blues should win consecutive games under Tuchel for the first time.