We've had a running joke for a few weeks now, about how Chelsea's next game in this winning streak is The Toughest Test™, regardless of whether that's Manchester City away or Bournemouth at home. While there's certainly an aspect of that saying that is nothing more than cliché, there is also a certain dose of reality to it. Especially when your team go 13 for 13 and now have a massive target painted on their backs.
During this run, certain teams have sat back and defended deep. Others pressed high and tried to out-work the Blues. Some tried to go toe-to-toe, man-to-man. Others tried to outnumber and overload in critical zones and situations. Some came in hoping to simply avoid embarrassment. Others were confident of victory. Spurs, for example, are hoping to galvanize Premier League-nation and all the neutral lands to support their cause.
But throughout it all, Chelsea have survived, adapted, and achieved victory. Obviously, this will not go on forever, but one more would set a new Premier League single-season record. As usual, it will be our Toughest Test™. And so we will need to adapt once again, especially as Spurs will be the first team to face Chelsea for a second time since the switch to the 3-4-3 system.
"You see your players are very good at adapting to different situations."
"The Stoke game was different to the last one because they played long balls to [Peter] Crouch. For us it was very difficult to stop this situation, above all the second balls, and the free-kicks and corners to find him, but I'm pleased because I saw my players ready to face this situation. You have to fight every game to win, and the Stoke game was another great example of that."
"Tottenham is another challenge, another type of football to face. They like to play from the back, they like to put a lot of pressure on when you are in possession. We have to prepare very well because this game will be very tough, for us and for them."
"Tottenham are a great team. Last season they could have won the title, and this season they have a stronger team. For sure we will see a good game. We only have three days to prepare for this game, but we also have a lot of work we did in the past and we need that in this moment because we haven't a lot of time to find a solution for this game."
-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC
Adapt and advance. There will be no Crouch in this game, but there will be Kane and Dele and Son and Eriksen and Dembélé and others. Spurs had the upper hand at Stamford Bridge for most of the first half, before Chelsea flipped the script. Similar heroics may be required on Wednesday.
Adapt and advance.
(And work hard and fight and always improve.)