Saturday 28th September, White Hart Lane, 12:45 live on BTSport
The clean sheets keep coming and Spurs keep rolling on. Everyone realises how good a start to the season it has been given the changes made to the squad. Twenty goals scored and only a single conceded in nine games are the headline stats but league alone is a slightly different prospect, five goals and one conceded in five games. Still good but not as eye catching. I am quite happy to continue winning one nil though!
What is funny is that Andy Gray has come out saying Chelsea need to sort their scoring out given they have only scored six league goals in five games. I suppose using that logic means we need to sort ours out as well!
A lot of people are suggesting that this game will be a good gauge on our current progress. I could not disagree more! It is a single game of football and essentially proves nothing no matter the outcome (win or lose), it is a derby and anything goes. Gauge how we are doing come Christmas or Easter not a single game.
Having said that, lose and the media will be all over it. How Spurs cannot beat the top teams or back to ‘does AVB know his strongest team’ rubbish. Win and the media will be go to the other extreme, we will be contenders this year and will win everything!
There are a lot of people pushing for a start in this game, there are some who cannot really do anymore when they have been given the chance. I’m thinking really about Defoe and Holtby, yes the opposition have been poor or a second string but if that is all they get a chance to play against then what more can they do.
Our last two league games have shown that the team have started to understand each other and this is an encouraging sign. It needs to continue but this is probably the first game where the starting line up does not pick itself as easily as before…
We know what we are up against. They may not have set the world alight with Jose’s return but they are not a bad squad overnight. They will be up for the game, it is a derby and they will want to win. It is a massive surprise that he does not play Mata. I know Jose has said he needs to adapt but he has been the best player for the last two seasons, not someone you should leave on the bench. Jose clearly thinks he is surplus to requirements which is probably why he signed Willian.
I hope the fans do not goad Willian too much, it will come back to bite us. He’ll probably score a hat trick in injury time with Spurs leading 2-0. I am a Spurs fan after all, it is natural to have these pessimistic moments! Jose has changed his team quite a lot this season so who knows who will play (except Oscar, he’ll play). We do have a poor record against this lot, 3 wins in 42 Premier League games is beyond shocking but times are a changing.
Expected line up
Team news has come out a bit earlier than normal, Rose is pretty much back. Kaboul is a doubt while Lennon has only just rejoined the team so unlikely to be involved. Capoue is out until after the international break. We have a lot of players in some form at the moment, it will be hard for AVB to select a team. I have gone with:
Subs: Friedel, Chiriches, Naughton, Sandro, Holtby, Lamela, Defoe
I said previously that this would be a hard team to pick but with Kaboul likely to be out, the back four picks itself. Now the controversial bit, I went with Paulinho and Dembele. I know Sandro is the obvious choice (to kick the Chelsea attacking midfielders) for this game (probably at Dembele’s expense) but I am not sure AVB will want to change that partnership at the moment. They dominated the midfield in the last two league games albeit against what you would normally class as weaker opposition in relation to Chelsea. Neither of them are traditional defensive types but both are not afraid of a challenge.
Again, with so many attacking options and the majority of them knocking on the door for a start the three attacking midfielders is a little controversial. Some are saying play Holtby and Eriksen together, but that would mean one of them will have to predominantly start from a wide position. They can both do that but are more comfortable being in the middle to start so this is not the game to try this out in. It will be Eriksen who starts for me, not because Holtby has done anything wrong (I wrote an article before Eriksen signed that he should be the number 10) but because Eriksen has the understanding with the other choices I have made.
The two wide midfielders are Townsend and Sigurdsson. Chadli has only just returned from injury so this game is probably a little too soon for him hence him not even making the bench. Lamela has been playing well it little bits (for me), clearly he is a classy player but he is still finding his feet at the moment. With Ivanovic likely to play at right back for Chelsea I want to see Townsend on the left at some point to take him on with pace, in my opinion he is a better centre back than right back and I think a winger can get at him.
The striker, along with Sandro, is probably the hardest call to make given Defoe’s current form. If you look at Defoe’s first goal against Villa it was made by him coming deep to get involved and then making a run from deep. From what I have seen from Soldado so far (and I admit it is little) I am not sure he is as willing to do this. I have gone with Soldado though because Chelsea will be playing more of a European style of football rather than British and that may well play into Soldado’s hands.
It is scary when you look at the bench and realise that Kaboul, Capoue, Chadli, Lennon and Adebayor are not there and all could easily be first team starters…
We should not expect to roll these boys over handsomely but neither should we accept a draw as a good result. I am going for a 2-1 win, Soldado and a Townsend thirty yarder!
So what do you think? Sandro and Lamela in? What is your line up and predicted score?
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