WillHill

Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea: Preview, Likely Line-up & Predicted Score

By on December 21, 2011

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Guest post by Tottenham website www.thfc1882.com:

Spurs are used to playing on a Thursday night this season. Of course the previous fixtures have been in the Europa League, now the Premier League are getting in on the action too. This game is huge for both clubs. It’s 3rd versus 4th and a Spurs win would open a gap of five points with a game in hand on their London rivals. It would also leave the Lilywhites only two points behind second placed Manchester United, with that game in hand on them too. Heady times at The Lane. For years Chelsea called it ’3 point Lane’ though that hoodoo has now been broken and Spurs go into this as slight favourites with the bookies. So why am I so nervous?

Chelsea have, by their recent standards, had an up and down season and for much of it young manager Andre Villas-Boas appears to have been on the verge of the boot. Their defence, something they have built previous title wins around have looked all at sea on many occassions and they have attracted criticism from all quarters.

Meanwhile up front Villas-Boas has, like Ancelotti before him, struggled to get Drogba and Torres to play together. In recent games this has seen the £50m Spaniard sidelined with Drogba leading the line while Sturridge and Mata offer assistance. Assistance being the key word for Mata. With seven assists this season, he’s second in the Premier League in that statistic. The former Valencia man was always likely to end up in London this season, first Arsenal then Spurs appeared to be leading the race for him before he finally ended up at Stamford Bridge. Similar in style to his compatriot David Silva, Mata drifts across the front finding space between the lines of defence and midfield, probing for an opening. He’s also not shy to have a crack himself and is probably the biggest threat to Spurs tonight. Of course Mata has yet to come up against Super Scotty Parker and if anyone can stop him running riot between the lines, it’s Parker.

Sturridge and Drogba are also both on form and will need to be watched carefully. It must be hoped that Ledley King is again available as he is one of the few defenders in the League who can keep a rampaging Drogba at bay. Chelsea’s midfield is likely to comprise Lampard, Romeu and Meireles. Increasingly marginalised this season, Lampard seems to thrive when written off and has often proved a handful against Spurs, he as much as anyone will be ‘up for it’ on Thursday. Meireles has flitted in and out of form all season but can be a powerful presence on his day. Meanwhile Romeu has started to show the class that you’d expect of a La Masia graduate and is forging a role as a key player for Chelsea this season.

At the back, Chelsea’s real weakness this season, Villas-Boas may have a decision or two to make. David ‘Playstation boy’ Luiz may be fit to return which would allow Ivanovic to resume duties at right back and dropping Bosingwa. John Terry picked up a knock on Saturday but is likely to do all he can to make this game, while Ashley Cole will complete the back four. In goal, one time ‘best keeper in the World’ Petr Cech has looked increasingly unsteady this year and it must be hoped that he continues his downward spiral tonight.

For Harry Redknapp there is already the certainty that Aaron Lennon will be missing, with no other out and out right winger in the squad Redknapp will have to try and find the right balance to beat Chelsea. After missing Sunday’s win over Sunderland, Gareth Bale may make a return on the left, if he does then whichever right back Chelsea go with will be in for a torrid night, as neither can live with the Welshman’s pace. There is a fear that Redknapp will play Bale from the right, allowing Modric to continue roaming from the left flank, this rarely suits Bale and players are always happier in their favoured positions.

Another decision for Redknapp regards Sunday’s goal hero, Roman Pavlyuchenko. Assuming Bale is fit, starting Pavlyuchenko would mean dropping one of Sandro, van der Vaart or Adebayor. Sandro is a powerhouse who will be vital in helping Parker combat Chelsea’s equally powerful midfield. Van der Vaart was arguably Spurs best player in the second half against Sunderland and with a solid midfield of Parker and Sandro screening, he can roam free of the right wing, much as Mata will for Chelsea, and create havoc between the lines. His passing was sublime against Sunderland and will need to reach the same levels to unlock Chelsea’s defence.

Adebayor meanwhile has given Spurs a new dimension up front this season and even when not scoring has worked his socks off to unsettle defences. His presence against Terry is essential. So with all due respect – and thanks for his goal on Sunday - to Pav, he should be again consigned to the bench for this one. There will also be decisions to be made at the back. Younes Kaboul is available after suspension but after Gallas’ performance against Sunderland may not be able to walk back into the team. Much will depend on whether Ledley King’s knee can take a second game in four days. The rest of the team, Kyle Walker, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Brad Friedel picks itself.

Likely Spurs Line-up

Friedel

Walker      King      Gallas      Ekotto

VDV      Parker      Sandro       Bale

Modric

Adebayor

Prediction

After predicting a 5-0 walkover of Sunderland, it’s clear that my prediction-o-meter is off base at the moment. This game fills me with huge nerves and may well hinge on the inclusion – or not – of King and Bale. With those two in the line-up Spurs have a far greater chance of success, obviously. I’m going to hope they are in and go for a 2-1 Spurs win and that would be the perfect Christmas present for all Spurs fans!

Thanks to THFC1882.com for submitting this guest post

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18 Comments

  1. Jamesalot

    December 21, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Like the line-up.. 1st!!

  2. bog

    December 21, 2011 at 10:23 am

    line up

    Kaboul Gallas King Ekotto
    Walker Parker Modric Bale
    VDV
    Adebayor

    this should combat the pace down the wings. As soon as we are 2 nil up, Sandro comes on for VDV (wishful thinking)

  3. Andrew

    December 21, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I predict a 2-o Chelsea win. Spurs can be caught on the break.

  4. kaka

    December 21, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Hmm manchester city where also slight favourites to us when we played them.Infact it was predicted that they would beat us 2-1 ,same as what has been published here. Well the rest is history. Now don’t go and write chelsea were lucky to have won that game and so and so. If you say that Spuds were the most luckiest to walk away with three points against sunderland.

    Plus Chelsea’s back four has become much more stronger than what they were when we were critcised. Infact the stats shows that chelsea have conceded only four in heir last six games while they conceded 15 in the first nine games.

  5. Parklaner

    December 21, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Spurs win 2-1

  6. Jarrod

    December 21, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Spurs 1 – 3 Chelsea, adebayor 27″, sturidge 41″ drogba 48″ & lampard pen 78″.

    • Nick

      December 21, 2011 at 4:24 pm

      Yep, spot on.

  7. abdikadir

    December 21, 2011 at 11:34 am

    the game will be so open and i predict chelsea win 3-2 totenham

  8. shatterednerves

    December 21, 2011 at 11:44 am

    I would love to tell you how many times that system has struggled to dominate games and win. How many times has Defoe and Pav being the latest have needed to rescue games for us . When we play with one striker teams energy levels rise dramatically and players prevent us from passing the ball. They do this by chasing the ball from one player to the other till a mistake or a bad pass means we lose the ball and struggle to get out of our half. Playing like this is easier when defences and packed midfield’s only have one striker to worry about. Teams using this energised way of playing rises when the points are at a premium. Just like Thursdays game and games at the bottom and teams not far of the relegation battle.The question i want fans too be asking is how come teams can play at this high tempo for so long is it better fitness better equipment pitches life style energy drinks. The answer is yes an this would mean today’s team would tire at about 80 mins where has teams years ago would tire on 70 mins. What staggered me was teams are playing too every second of some high tempo games and late goals are happening every week with some teams. So where has this extra energy levels come from the answer is in the gaunt looking faces of some teams players. You will find the answer in the opta states the will let you know who has benefited from this new high work rate way of playing. This worry s me more than skill of the Chelsea players. My biggest fear is how they will chase the ball from the first whistle too the last and stop us from playing. If i see this from the first whistle i cant watch the game and tape it till i no we have won. To win we need to score first or keep it down to one before half time and in some we need the ref to send a player off cos this means they lose part of there energy advantage. This only applies if they are losing at the time.Lets hope the FA gets a grip of this way of playing or the only winner will be Betting firms and these high tempo tampering teams.

  9. Allan shayo

    December 21, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Mata will tear spuds defence & thank God the blue kenyan(KING RAMIRES IS BAK)

  10. Allan shayo

    December 21, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Mata will tear spuds defence & thank God the blue kenyan(KING RAMIRES IS BAK). 2-0 chelsea win

  11. Jay

    December 21, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Spurs haven’t lost to chelsea at home for some time now. Spurs have got better where as chelsea have weakened. I’d go for this team. Kaboul-king-Gallas. Walker-Sandro-Modric-Parker-Bale. Ade-Vdv

    • Jay

      December 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm

      And if bale is not fit I’d put assou on the wing.

  12. Mayor

    December 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Spurs always strugles against chelsea and i see histroy repeating itself. Chelsea wins 3-0

  13. Mayor

    December 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Spurs always strugles against chelsea and i see history repeating itself. Chelsea wins 3-0.

  14. Nick

    December 21, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Chelsea win 3-0.

  15. Topmost 4r idanre

    December 22, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Chelsea ll trash spur by 3-0 bcos with ramires & mata it is d biginin of goals.

  16. Adekunle

    December 22, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Chelsea wil win by 2-1

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