Our last league game was….? Bournemouth? Yeah, blimey, it was. March 11th.
Since kick off in that game, Harry has ‘done’ his ankle, Son has turned into Cyril Knowles, Dele has become a topic of national debate (and had a good rest), Eriksen has moved further towards Godlike status and Trippier looks like he may be in England’s starting eleven for the World Cup. Strange times.
Let’s go back a bit further… In January 2017 Spurs brought to an end Chelski’s thirteen (?) game winning run with a comprehensive 2-0 win at WHL. It was a regularly repeated view last season that if everyone was fit we had the best starting eleven in the Premier League and that opinion was based largely on the team we fielded in that record run halting victory.
What about that starting eleven, how many are likely to start against Chelski at Stamford Bridge on Easter Sunday afternoon? Lloris, Vertonghen, Dier (though not in the same position), Dembélé, Eriksen and if he’s fit Dele. That’s it. No Walker, Rose, Alderweireld, Wanyama or Kane.
And yet, here we are, nestling in fourth, five points ahead of the current champions and with every chance this weekend of finally ending one of the last annoying records that Pochettino hasn’t swept aside: the lack of a victory at Stamford Bridge since the days of Howells and Samways.
That shows the job Poch has done: we’ve lost three fifths of the five man defence, our best player and such a key cog as Wanyama and we still go in to this game feeling positive about the outcome. His achievement in changing our attitude and the attitudes towards us should not be underestimated or forgotten.
It’s been said that Chelsea need to win this game and their home fixture with Liverpool to stand a chance of making the top four and whilst that’s not true, they would see a good result as a real marker towards not only breaking into the Moneybags League places but also as a good psychological weapon should we end up playing each other at Wembley on May 19.
Chelsea’s form during the last couple of months has been patchy at best but, as 2015/16 and the Battle of Stamford Bridge showed, they can be playing as poorly as you like, they’ll still raise their game for us. Willian is in top form, Hazard will look forward to taking on Trippier (or Aurier?), Giroud and Fabregas have history with us and Conte, that win last January apart, has a bit of an evil eye over Pochettino – just look at their spawny win at Wembley in August.
It’s going to be intense.
Andre Marriner is the referee.
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