Don’t look now, but Spurs are top of the league, and are actually looking good value for it. José Mourinho, freed from the pressures of winning, is back to winning again. To borrow a line from the Second Captains, “he’s like the fur coat you hung on to and waited to come back into fashion, and suddenly it’s a nuclear winter”.
Then again, Mourinho’s Spurs could barely buy a win last winter. Opinions, fortunes, and narratives can change very quickly in football, as Lampard alluded to in his pre-match presser as well.
“The game is very reactionary at the moment and particularly in the modern era with social media reactions, form will always be judged very harshly. They are in good form. They have good players, they have a good manager and it will just be a very difficult game for us.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
That’s not to say that Spurs’ results are fake as if they were Chelsea’s 2015 preseason. It may only be match 10 of 38, but they have the best defensive record in the league, the second best attack in the league, and they have excellent momentum, having already beaten us once, albeit in a penalty shootout, in the League Cup fourth round.
That loss was Lampard’s first ever against Mourinho in four tries, arriving on the heels of SuperFrank becoming the first manager to ever do the league double over The Special One. The Special Once?
The Special Once Again?
Date / Time: Sunday, November 29, 2020, 16.30 GMT; 11:30am EST;
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Paul Tierney (on pitch); Craig Pawson (VAR)
Forecast: Cold and dreary
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); NBCSN, Telemundo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); SuperSport Premier League, Canal+ Sport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Chelsea team news: Since the debacle of a second 3-3 draw in the span of four games (which also included the 1-1 draw against Spurs and subsequent penalty shootout defeat), Chelsea have conceded just 2 goals in 8, winning 6. We’ve re-found our feet in a classic Mourinho shape, though Lampard’s version of the 4-3-3 is a fair bit more dynamic — though just as fifteen years ago, it provides great balance between attack and defense. Wonder if Lampard will stick to it, or tinker a bit and maybe roll out the 3-4-3 again, which proved so successful against Spurs last season.
There are options aplenty for the head coach, should he choose to tinker indeed, with the entire squad declared fit, though Christian Pulisic may only be fit for the bench and Billy Gilmour doesn’t really seem to be back int he first-team reckoning just yet.
Spurs team news: The shootout win against Chelsea two months ago was just 1 of the 13 wins Mourinho’s side have rattled off in their last 16 games in all competitions, losing just once. To say that they’re in great form would be an understatement.
Since the debacle of a 3-3 draw against West Ham United, Spurs have conceded just 3 goals in 8, winning 7. Set up in a modern Mourinho standard 4-2-3-1, they can win nice, they can win ugly, and as last weekend’s 2-0 against Manchester City proved, they can win in classic José spoiler style as well.
When Mourinho’s teams build up momentum, it’s very hard, if not impossible to stop them. We know that first-hand, good and bad. And now it’s up to us to do so and stop them in this early-season title race six-pointer.
Spurs will be without Toby Alderweireld and Sharp Elbows Lamela, while Giovanni Lo Celso, Steven Bergwijn, and Hugo Lloris are facing late fitness tests with various knocks and bruises.
View from the enemy: Cartilage Free Captain
Previously: Derbies against Spurs hardly need any introduction. Here’s what happened last time we met at the Bridge — noted Tottenham-haters Giroud and Alonso with the goals.