PREVIEW: Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea – 20/08/17
Tottenham v Chelsea
TV: Sky Sports Main Event
It’s only one week in and we are set to be treated to one of the biggest fixtures of the season, with both teams vying to demonstrate their title credentials. The opening weekend proved to be drastically different for both of these London rivals, though what can we expect when Spurs and Chelsea commence battle at Wembley on Sunday?
Whilst Tottenham achieved a solid win away to Newcastle, Chelsea lost at home to Burnley – a team who only won one away game last season. Both Tottenham and Chelsea have been subject to plenty of scrutiny over their transfer activity recently, and so it will be intriguing to see who comes out on top, as the winner will go some way to silencing the critics.
Tottenham will be hoping to have a positive start to their stay at Wembley, keen to avoid the poor results witnessed there last season when knocked out at the group stages of the Champions League. In front of Wembley’s 90,000 spectators, Spurs will likely name a similar side to that of the Newcastle game, as there are no further injuries or suspensions. One name that will likely change however, is Moussa Sissoko.
The £30m flop was arguably the poorest performer for Tottenham last weekend, and with transfer rumours escalating it seems that Sissoko will be left out in favour of Heung Min-Son. Son breathed life into the Newcastle game that was slowly fading away, and so Pochettino should look to reward this lively cameo with a start against the Blues. All eyes will also be on Kyle Walker-Peters to see if, after an extremely encouraging debut against Newcastle, he can cope against top opposition.
Chelsea have had a fortnight to forget, with losses to both Arsenal and Burnley alongside plenty of media scrutiny regarding morale within the club. Additionally, the seemingly never ending Diego Costa saga continues, with the player’s feud with the club intensifying.
The club will be looking to put that all aside on Sunday, hoping for a more passionate display compared to their previous Wembley outing against Arsenal in the Community Shield. There is no doubt that this will be a huge game for the Blues, given that Tottenham were their main competitor throughout most of the last campaign, as well as being one of the few clubs to beat them.
Unfortunately for this mighty occasion, Chelsea are unable to call upon their best players. Rash decisions and play against Newcastle now means that Cahill and Fabregas will be absent through suspension.
Despite Cahill being captain, covering for him seems an easier task as both Christensen and Rudiger are capable defenders; although they are new to Premier League life. With Fabregas the situation is much tougher, as it remains to be seen if Bakayoko will be able to overcome injury concerns and make his debut.
One shining light for Chelsea, however, is the potential return of Eden Hazard to the side – a player who excelled once again last season. Finally, with Batshuayi proving ineffective against Burnley, Morata will likely replace the Belgian after he proved himself with a goal and an assist from the bench.
Prediction: Tottenham 2 Chelsea 1
Written by Theo Atherton-Green.