There is a special sort of hatred in this rendition of the Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea F.C. rivalry. The squads seem to have a genuine contempt for each other that makes this encounter closer to a blood thirsty North London Derby than really any other match on the 2016-17 schedule.
The form of both teams is stellar. Chelsea and their thirteen game winning streak is, rightfully so, the big story entering this match, but Spurs run-in to this game hasn’t been too shabby either. Tottenham have won four on the trot in the Premier League and six of their last seven matches overall. Further, the right players seem to be peaking at the right time. Dele Alli has scored in three straight, while Harry Kane can’t stay off the scoresheet. Toby Alderweireld and, to a lesser extent, Mousa Dembélé are finally healthy and other members of the backline, including Jan Vertonghen, Kyle Walker, Hugo Lloris, and Danny Rose are all having incredible campaigns. Spurs haven’t hit full stride this season yet, but their point accumulation and spot in the table wouldn’t tell you that. Only five point behind second place with a game in hand, Spurs are on pace for a whooping seventy-eight point this term.
Chelsea are tops in the league and have been, without question, the best side in the Premier League for the vast majority of this season. They lost to Liverpool and Arsenal in an eight day stretch in September, but have been lights out since. The dismantling of both Manchester sides and Everton, combined with a strong win over Spurs, have made them feel a bit invincible no matter what opposition they play. To put it bluntly, it looks like the league might already be in the bag.
And they always had the talent. Eden Hazard is back to performing at a world-class level with nine goals so far, while Diego Costa, Chelsea’s effortlessly unlikeable talisman, seems unstoppable this term. Pedro is tireless and creative, while Nemanja Matic and Ngolo Kanté form the most daunting midfield partnership in the Premier League. Their defense is beastly and has already notched eleven clean sheets this season; four more than any other side.
The match in November has separated these sides from their violent encounter at The Battle of the Bridge, but the events of that day remain ripe in both squad’s mind. The role of front-runner has switched, but oh how Tottenham Hotspur would love to shatter that thirteen game win streak that the Blues have going for them now. However challenging a test it is for Spurs though, it has the potential to be the statement game of the season. The form of the players on the team is accelerating and a win against Chelsea would give the side every confidence to make another credible run at the top four and beyond in the second half.
How to Watch
Date/time: Wednesday, 8:00p.m. (UK), 3:00 p.m. ET (USA)
Venue: White Hart Lane, London, UK
Official: Martin Atkinson
TV: NBCSN (USA), Sky Sports 1 (UK), TSN2, TSNGO (Canada), Optus Sport (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)
Radio: Audio streamed at tottenhamhotspur.com, also often at BBC Radio London,BBC Radio 5 Live, and TalkSport
Save Erik Lamela, Tottenham Hotspur have a clean bill of health heading into Wednesday’s match against Chelsea. In addition, both Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Walker return to action after their yellow card suspensions.
I have almost always chosen the 4-2-3-1 when picking lineups in this series (though sometimes alluded to 3-4-3 lineups!), but that streak ends here. With a fully healthy side, I think Poche wants his best eleven on the field and really why switch what has worked so well? Jake Meador wrote an awesome tactics piece on this, but the distribution from Eric Dier and Jan Vertonghen from the back, to bypass the wrecking crew of a midfield that the Blues will run-out, seems like a good tactic and is just one of the benefits of running this lineup. It has been working, even without its preferred personnel, so lets see it in action against the league leaders. I also like the match-ups that Kyle Walker and Danny Rose will be presented in this formation too.
Hugo will start in net, with Danny Rose and Kyle Walker at the wing-back positions. Toby Alderweireld will start in the middle of the back three, with Eric Dier to his right and Jan Vertonghen to his left. Victor Wanyama and a rested Mousa Dembélé will give Kanté and Matic their toughest task of the season in the center of midfield. Harry Kane will start up top with Dele Allie and Christian Eriksen playing behind him to round out the lineup. The form, creativity, and tenacity of these three must continue if Spurs are to have a shot.
Everyone won, nobody lost, everyone failed to pick the exact score. I don’t have the authority to award extra points extemporaneously, but if I did, I would grant Menno an extra point or two extra for calling Watford the “HornetMooses”. That was/is funny. The HornetMooses suck.
Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League Table
|Earl of Shoop||10|
Dustin Menno: If you offered me a bore 0-0 draw before this match, I’d take it. So that’s what I’m predicting. 0-0.
Matthew Pachniuk: The opportunity is ripe for payback against a league destroying Chelsea side. The prediction might be hopeful, but the right players are peaking in form at the right time. Tottenham prevail in an absolute classic. 2-1 Spurs.
Jake Meador: We grind out a draw and keep Chelsea from the consecutive wins record.
Luke Zimmerman: Prediction: Pain. Chelsea 4 - Spurs 0
Pardeep Cattry: It's been fun being Tottenham lately; too bad Chelsea's coming next. Chelsea will take the three points, but Spurs will do better than last time and make it hard work for the Blues. Chelsea 1-0.
GN Punk: A couple of years ago, Chelsea were steamrolling everyone on their way to the title. Around New Year's, they came to White Hart Lane and ran into a Spurs side that played one of their best offensive matches of the season, sending them home with a loss. Let's do it again. 5-3 Spurs.
Brian Mechanick: I cannot believe good things are going to happen against Chelsea. No loss for Spurs, but I can't see us outscoring the Blues. 1-1 Draw.
Bryan A: Both teams score, but Chelsea scores more, and their good run continues. 3-1 Chelsea.
Skipjack: 2-1 Chelsea because God hates us.
Alex Greenberg: A family friend came up to me on New Years Eve and started singing "Blue Is The Colour", as a way to announce that he is now a Chelsea fan. He then left his drink near me, and I didn't even spit in it! That good karma will be repaid as Spurs THWART Chelsea's attempt at history. 2-0 Spurs win.
Salmon Chase: 1-1, because... jerk chicken? Sorry I got nothing I'm sorry I'm in the Bahamas
Earl of Shoop: We're looking good these days, but this just isn't going to happen. 3-1 Chelsea, sadly.
Ben Daniels: TBD
Brian Meyers: TBD
Ed F: TBD