Toby’s going to Wembley
The first of four London derbies in a fortnight. Nine league points are up for grabs but first we battle Chelsea for a Cup Final place.
Last time we played them, January, the momentum was all theirs. Thirteen wins on the spin and running away with the league. We were getting to grips with a promising new three at the back system whilst trying to keep a firm foothold in the top four. We dominated and won a game of few chances.
Has Gone All Trembly
This time, whilst Chelski are still hot favourites to still be top at the end of May, the winds have definitely shifted more in our favour. We have seven wins in a row, they have two defeats in three. Their success has been built on a consistent back six that has recently been disrupted by injury and may still be affected this weekend. Their main goal scorer has reverted to snarling type and Man United ‘s victory at Old Trafford last weekend could barely have revealed more clearly the path to victory over Chelsea. Stop Hazard and Pedro, game over.
Come On You Spurs
We too have had our injury troubles of late of course. Kane, Wanyama and Rose have been missing from the side that started in January and it’s the fact that we’re likely to have only the first two of this trio back that means that we’ll probably to begin with four at the back in a 4-2-3-1 formation on Saturday. It’ll be a surprise if we don’t field the same eleven that kicked off against Bournemouth, Victor Wanyama can feel unlucky to be left out for Dier but his back injury came at the wrong moment. He will start against Palace I suspect. So where does that leave “Stop Hazard and you stop Chelsea”? My guess would be that Poch will take a more holistic approach. If Chelsea don’t have the ball, then the Belgian is not a threat. The cost to disrupting our formation would be more than the benefits gained if we were to sacrifice a player to man to man marking.
Come On You Spurs
Chelsea would be foolish not to target Ben Davies, he is our weakest defensive link and we can expect all of Hazard, Costa and Pedro to make runs down our left hand side. Jan Vertonghen will be a busy man.
Our inability to play the system that brought us victory in January isn’t as big a disadvantage as it first appears as it allows us to field Son plus we should remember that we were the better side in the first half at Stamford Bridge when we played four at the back, and that was with Wimmer.
One would expect the FA to be well down the list of organisations employed to add comedy to Saturday’s proceedings but the appointment of Martin Atkinson is inspired. Satire lives! As do the memories of his complete balls up for Mata’s ‘goal’ at the same venue, against the same opponents at the same stage of the competition in 2012. Incompetence on a major scale.
The two sides are practically dead level with the bookies and that’s probably about right. The sides look so even that some inspiration, a mistake or a tactical rabbit from the hat may be required to win it.
Having said that, we will be justifiably confident.