Chelsea have yet to lose a game at Tottenham Hotspur’s brand new soulless bowl since it opened in 2019, outside of a penalty kick shootout in the 2020-21 League Cup, but we will be putting that habit to its biggest test on Sunday when we visit for an early afternoon kickabout with the locals.
Graham Potter’s Blues arrive on the back of 2 wins (8 defeats) from 14 in all competitions, and just 12 points collected from our last 14 Premier League matches. We have not won any game away from Stamford Bridge in 10 tries, since late October. Spurs aren’t in stellar form either — 6 wins and 5 defeats in all competitions (4 and 4 in the league) since the new year — but have won back-to-back home games, including against Manchester City earlier this month.
Rivalry games can often produce a different intensity just by their nature — remember the Tuchel-Conte handshake silliness last time? — and can become less about tactics and form and more about determination and desire (or bad refereeing). Who wants this more?
Date / Time: Sunday, February 26, 2023, 13.30 GMT; 8:30am EST; 7pm IST
Venue: New Three Point Lane, north London
Referees: Stuart Attwell (on pitch); Paul Tierney (VAR)
Forecast: Cold as ice
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); USA Network, Telemundo (USA), Star Sports Select HD1 (India); SuperSport Premier League (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Tottenham Hotspur team news: After a brief return, Antonio Conte has decided to take a bit more time away from the team to properly recuperate from gallbladder surgery. In his stead, assistant Cristian Stellini has taken charge once again; he is a perfect three-for-three so far.
Spurs have picked up a few injury concerns in recent weeks, including a torn ACL for midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur, foot surgery for former Brighton man Yves Bissouma, a hamstring strain for young winger Ryan Sessegnon, and a multi-week absence with a knee problem for Hugo Lloris. Former Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster has been deputizing in goal.
Tottenham are in the thick of the fight for a top-four or at least top-six finish, neck-to-neck with Newcastle United at the moment. They have the third best attack in the league, despite a subpar season from Son Heung-min, but they also have the worst defense of any team in the top 10, which is certainly surprising for a Conte team. Harry Kane is the second leading goalscorer in the league with 17.
View from the enemy: Cartilage Free Captain
Chelsea team news: Not much is going right at the moment, but we are the healthiest we’ve been in some time — and N’Golo Kanté, Christian Pulisic, and César Azpilicueta are all very close to fully returning as well. Armando Broja (ACL) and Édouard Mendy (finger surgery) remain out long-term. The schedule has been relatively light as well and the squad’s massive, so fitness levels should be as good as they can be for late February.
But after the promise (!) of a 1-0 defeat in Dortmund, Chelsea took several steps back in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at home to bottom of the table Southampton. Not even Graham Potter was able to find any positives in that performance. So it’s back to square one.
We spent much of the past week getting inundated with club PR about how everyone’s super committed and working very hard to turn things around. But as Potter himself also said, the only thing that will actually convince the increasing number of skeptics, is winning.
“The solution is that we have to win matches. [...] We’ve got to win matches. There is nothing I can say.”
-Graham Potter; source: Football.London
Previously: Speaking of winning, Chelsea have more against Spurs than any other team in our history (77), though a fourth straight league win away win against them would still be a first. Only once (2008-09) in Premier League history have we finished a season with Spurs getting more points than Chelsea out of our head-to-head fixtures ... unless they win this one, after we were robbed of two points in our first meeting this season.