Matchday Preview: Chelsea vs Tottenham – History, team news, and what to expect

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Chelsea
(Photo by Visionhaus)

On Sunday Tottenham will travel across the capital to face rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea’s home has been an uncomfortable visit for Spurs over the years with the blues picking apart Tottenham in every meeting there over the past four years, before that it had been a painful 28 years since Spurs had won away to Chelsea (GOAL). These statistics beckon the question; can Antonio Conte beat his former employers and set up Spurs for a memorable victory just two games into the Premier League season?

Last Time Out

Last time these two met was in January of 2022 as Chelsea killed off Tottenham’s hopes of walking away with at least a point as a quickfire double from Ziyech and Thiago Silva secured yet another home victory for Chelsea. The result at the time meant that Chelsea had established an 11-point gap between them and Tottenham, leaving Spurs struggling in 7th place (Premier League), a gap that was shortened to just three points and one league position come the end of the season (Premier League).

Memorable Meeting

As always is the case with derby days, there’s a possibility of a game becoming a classic, and this derby has made plenty. The ‘Battle of The Bridge’ springs to mind, even though the result left a bitter taste in Spurs fans’ mouths as it buried any remaining title chances the game is an undeniable classic due to its fights and drama. Another close contender would be the ending of the ‘Stamford Bridge curse’ that lingered above Tottenham for 28 years; Pochettino’s side came back from an early goal by Alvaro Morata to beat the blues with Dele Alli being the star of the show on a memorable April afternoon (Sky Sports).

However, above all the most joyous win game against Chelsea for Spurs fans has to be the ‘Carling Cup’ final at Wembley where Spurs were victorious over Chelsea with their reward being silverware, the disappointing fact is that this trophy would be the most recent taste of success Tottenham fans have experienced, still, 14 years on.

What’s at stake?

With the fixture being very early in the Premier League schedule it’s hard to understand at this stage how crucial three points over a team like Chelsea could be come the end of the season, especially with Chelsea being under new ownership and weeks of the transfer window left, but if history is to tell us anything its highly likely that the Blues will be very much in around the top four this season, therefore Antonio Conte will be chomping at the bit to make a statement to the league this Sunday.

Beating a team like Chelsea, away from home could outline Tottenham’s intentions this season to fight on all fronts and unlike years gone by Tottenham could start to strike fear into opponents and start to have that aura of inevitability around them with such a venomous attack and an elite manager in Antonio Conte.

A loss would feel a bit like pressing a reset button on the momentum that Tottenham are starting to gather with new signings and a sense of belief around the club, but above all it may feel like a missed opportunity for Conte’s men with Chelsea seemingly in transition and manager Thomas Tuchel clearly unhappy with his squads state at the moment, this could be Tottenham’s best chance to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in years.

The State of Play:

With this fixture being placed in the Premier League’s second game week of the 2022/23 season there are not many injuries of note.

However, due to the timing of the game, the transfer window is still open which has caused there to be absences due to players completing moves as Thomas Tuchel confirmed ‘Marcos Alonso is not in training at the moment as he tries to finalise his transfer, so he won’t be in contention for Sunday’ (Metro).

Most Tottenham fans will be delighted to see the back of Marcos Alonso, his record against Spurs’ makes for painful reading as he’s totalled up 5 goal contributions in 10 starts against Tottenham (TransferMarkt).

Despite it being very early in the season there is still injuries that have forced players to miss out on this weekend’s clash in Southwest London.

Chelsea: Thomas Tuchel confirmed in a Friday press conference before the weekend game that ‘Kova [Kovacic] is injured’ as the Croatian apparently ‘has issues with his knee’ that will prevent him from taking part in this weekends tie (Metro), apart from that Chelsea are forecasting no other injury concerns.

Tottenham: Tottenham’s squad availability has somewhat improved since their opening day game against Southampton last Saturday as new signing Richarlison has served his one-match ban. Alongside this we can speculate that Perisic and the other new signings have worked their way towards an Antonio Conte level of fitness.

There is however a new injury concern that Antonio Conte has announced and it’s that there is ‘a little problem with Clement Lenglet’. When asked about the French defenders’ injury Conte explained ‘it’s a little problem of fatigue and he’s a bit tired in his adductor’ he then wen ton to explain that the injury is ‘nothing serious, only a precaution but its not good to take a stupid risk for one game’ (Football.London).

What to expect:

As with most derbies, the game is likely to be feisty but with two elite managers in Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte, you can also expect the game to be a tactical battle.

When these battles occur, the game tends to go either way, it can either be a very high-scoring affair as both teams play at a high tempo, or it could be a slower, more considered tie where both teams are scared to make the first move with a worry of conceding first.

However, whenever Tottenham and Chelsea meet it’s always a great game, at least definitely for the neutral.

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