The early kick off is arguably the biggest game of the weekend, as Chelsea face the possibility of dropping out of the top four. Tottenham are the visitors on Saturday, with Jose Mourinho looking to get one over on his former player Frank Lampard. Neither team come into this game in great shape due to injuries. The hosts are missing a number of key players and will have to rely on the old guard in attack to provide the goals. Meanwhile, Spurs have a forward crisis as well, with Son Heung-min and Harry Kane on the sidelines. It could be a very tight game and a win for either side could prove a turning point in the battle for Champions League football.
Chelsea will feel very unfortunate following Monday night’s defeat to Manchester United. On another day, Michy Batshuayi is more clinical and Harry Maguire receives a red card for violent conduct. However, they didn’t manage to get anything from the game and the pressure increases on Lampard. There have been lots of positives to take from the first half of the season, but the recent run of form has been troubling. Since their win against Tottenham in December, they have won only two of their following eight Premier League matches. They need to find consistency again, especially at Stamford Bridge. The Blues can’t afford to lose on Saturday.
A victory on Saturday will see Tottenham move above Chelsea into 4th position. Considering their lowly position when Jose Mourinho took the job, that would represent a huge landmark for the new manager. Following the move to their new stadium, it is important for Spurs to consolidate themselves as Champions League regulars. This will allow the club to continue growing organically. The recent injuries to Son Heung-min and Harry Kane have put a dent into their hopes, with the attack looking limited against RB Leipzig. Despite a disappointing result in the Champions League, the focus will be on the league and improvement is needed if they are to beat their rivals.
Chelsea have lost seven games at home this season across all competitions. This is their most home losses in a campaign since the 1994-95 campaign.
Last weekend, Son Heung-min scored the winner after 93 minutes and 34 seconds. This is the latest winning goal in a Premier League game since August 2009.
Olivier Giroud has been sidelined by Frank Lampard this season, having played only 214 minutes of Premier League football. The Frenchman was linked to several clubs during the January window, but Chelsea’s failure to sign anyone led to the striker remaining at Stamford Bridge. His cameo performance against Manchester United showed that he still has something to offer at the club. The French international was much more effective than Michy Batshuayi, as he managed to hold up the ball and get his team further up the pitch. This is crucial if they are to get Pedro and Willian into goal-scoring positions. Although his goal was disallowed, it underlined the threat that he does possess. Jose Mourinho will be very envious that Lampard has such a quality player in reserve. Tammy Abraham may be back to start this weekend, but Giroud is likely to have a part to play. In such a tight game, he has the ability to make a key contribution to his side. Tottenham have been fragile at the back, keeping three clean sheets across all competitions since Mourinho was appointed. The 33-year-old striker can cause chaos and he could be key on Saturday, whether he is used as a starter or an impact sub.
Lucas Moura will have huge responsibility on his shoulders, as he will be required to lead the attack across multiple competitions. There have been flashes of brilliance during his time at Tottenham, but this year has been an underwhelming one for him. At the time of writing, he has scored four goals in the Premier League. This will need to improve in the absence of Son and Kane. Although Spurs also have Dele Alli, Steven Bergwijn and Erik Lamela, it will be the Brazilian that is asked to play as a central striker. His pace in behind can be a real weapon, as he showed during last season’s Champions League semi final against Ajax. The hat-trick in the second leg was exceptional and was the reason why the Premier League side progressed. Chelsea leave a lot of space in their defensive third and the movement of Lucas will be a real issue for them if he performs well. This is the 27-year-old’s opportunity to secure a long-term role under Mourinho. He needs to grab it, starting with a good performance against Chelsea.
Christian Pulisic remains on the sidelines, while Callum Hudson-Odoi is expected to miss out on Saturday. Pedro and Willian could be given starts again. Andreas Christensen and N’Golo Kante went off injured against Manchester United, therefore they are both doubts. Olivier Giroud is pressing for a start, while Tammy Abraham may return.
The major blow for the visitors is that Son Heung-min has been ruled out for a long period with a fractured arm. Mourinho has suggested that he may not play again this season. He joins Harry Kane and Moussa Sissoko with long-term injuries. Lucas Moura, Dele Alli and Steven Bergwijn are expected to start in attack.
It will be a very nervy affair on Saturday, as a loss would be very damaging to either side. The attacking injuries of both teams suggest that there will be a lack of goals. However, neither are reliable at the back and that could mean that there are goals. Chelsea look to be a more settled team with a defined style. The personnel may not be Lampard’s first choice, but they are more comfortable in the system. Meanwhile, Tottenham need to change their style following the injury to Son, as they don’t have a natural goal-scoring forward. The pressure will be on Lucas Moura to lead the line. It’s difficult to back either side in their current guise. A draw looks a good bet.
Chelsea 1-1 Tottenham