The Easter Sunday match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge is pivotal to both clubs, and even though Spurs are (probably) without Harry Kane, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte isn’t taking anything for granted.
Conte, speaking to reporters on Thursday, said that Spurs are a dangerous side that can beat the Blues even if he doesn’t take the pitch.
“I think that we are talking about one of the best strikers in the world. I consider [Kane] one of the best strikers in the world. When you have a player, a striker, who scores 30 goals every season, for sure when he’s missing you can feel this.
”But, at the same time, Tottenham are an important team for the whole team. They have many important players, many talented players. They play good football with great intensity. Also, in the past, they showed that, despite Kane missing many games, nothing has changed.”
Conte’s probably more optimistic about Spurs’ chances than I am. Tottenham have never — repeat, NEVER — beaten Chelsea at home in league play in the Premier League era. You have to go back to 1990 and the old First Division to see a Spurs league win at Stamford Bridge, and that was also pre-Abramovich. It just doesn’t happen.
This match is hugely important, but probably more so for Chelsea than for Spurs. Tottenham take a five point cushion over Chelsea into Sunday’s match with seven to go. Any kind of result for Spurs at Stamford Bridge would make it much more difficult for the Blues to make up the gap. A win just might put them away entirely. However, add in the usual motivation that Chelsea always seems to have against Tottenham any time these two clubs play and Spurs are facing a huge uphill battle.
But hey, stranger things have happened. Spurs couldn’t win at Old Trafford either, until they did in 2012, and again in 2014. Spurs certainly couldn’t get a result against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, until they did this year (before throttling them at home).
What we know is that Spurs are a very good team on a good run of form, and even with an injured Kane they have enough talent to get a result against a flawed Chelsea squad. Cross your fingers.