|DATE||Wednesday 8th May 2013|
Tottenham's visit to Stamford Bridge effectively looks like being the Champions League play off match. Just like our games against Manchester City in two consecutive seasons, the marathon of a season comes down to the sprint of a single match ... although having witnessed Tottenham's ability to win more difficult games, only to lose points to seemingly easier opposition, this may be no means be over after this one.
Spurs visit Chelsea on a patchy run, which has seen a few points dropped through draws and the team do not look as fluent as they were earlier in the season. Chelsea are timing their run in to the end of the season well and a late winner against a weak Manchester United side came at about the same point in the match that Gareth Bale had nicked the points against Southampton the day before.
Chelsea have a squad packed with talent and event hose players who were under-performing at the start of the season have been revitalised by Rafa Benitez. Fernando Torres has hit 20 goals for the season when he was pilloried early in the campaign, while the conversion of David Luiz to midfield from a central defensive position has seen him start to hit the headlines for some of the right reasons (but not all after his involvement in the Rafael sending off on Sunday).
With younger players such as Nathan Ake and Ryan Bertrand added to the older guard of Lumpalard and Terry, the mix of youth and experience has worked well with the new signings, who have given Chelsea a more fluent attacking edge. The midfielders Oscar, Hazard, Mata and Moses have kept the likes of Marko Marin and Florent Malouda out of the picture. With Demba Ba being brought in during the January transfer window, he has not been a regular starter, but it shows what depth they have to their squad.
While not usually being defeatist, the chances of winning away at Chelsea are on the slim side of remote, what with our record there. Although it has improved over the last few years, with a couple of draws, the Pensioners will be up for it and with the ability to mix and match their starting XIs at the moment, amidst the important games they have, there will be a strong line-up, whoever they field.
Ramires is not just a hard worker in midfield, but gets forward with his leggy runs to support the attack and Azpilicueta also liked to overlap on the right, as Cole does on the other flank. Added to that the inclusion of Ivanovic, Cahill or Terry will ad a threat at set-piece situations.
With players comfortable on the ball and willing to work hard, Spurs might find it difficult to cope against a side who have the ability to finish moves off, as the got away with a less than energetic display against Southampton on Saturday. While Tottenham did miss Bale when he was out a few weeks back, they have also missed the dominating presence of Sandro in front of the back four, with his ability to break down opposition moves and start ones of our own.
Defeat in this game might not totally rule out a top four finish, but along with some of our recent results, you feel that it might point to a return to the arduous Europa League competition for the coming season. With the way the two teams are coming into the match, you would fear for Spurs, but anything less than a defeat would be a bonus and still leave something to play for.
|PREDICTION||Chelsea 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Tottenham will include Aaron Lennon and Mousa Dembele in the squad to travel to Chelsea for Wednesday's match. How fit they are to actually feature we don't know, but Jake Livermore is fit again and in the squad, while still out are Sandro (knee), Younes Kaboul (thigh) and William Gallas (calf).
Sky Sports 1 - (live coverage)
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
Chelsea 2 (2)
Wednesday 8th May 2013
Venue : Stamford Bridge
Tottenham Hotspur 2 (1)
Kick off 19:45
Ramires (kicking ball away) 90+1
Vertonghen (kicking ball away) 79
Bale (foul on Ramires) 87
|Crowd : 41,581||Weather : Dry, mild|
|Referee : Mike Dean (Wirrall)||Assistant Referees : J. Collin, J. Brooks|
|Fourth Official : Jon Moss||-|
|Chelsea kicked off and played towards the Matthew Harding Stand in the first half.|
|Chelsea :||kit||Tottenham Hotspur :||kit|
Eden HAZARD (03
Aaron LENNON (22
Gylfi SIGURDSSON 62
10 Emmanuel ADEBAYOR
|Manager : Rafael Benitez||Manager : Andre Villas-Boas|
|Sponsor : Samsung||Shirt sponsor : Aurasma|
|Kit Supplier : adidas||Kit Supplier : Under Armour|
A game that saw the two teams in fourth and fifth vying for a Champions League placing and needing a win end up with two goals apiece making it a great game to watch for the neutral, but ended up neutralising Tottenham's chances of obtaining a place at Europe's top table this season. Results will need to go in Tottenham's favour, but it is the Tottenham way for things not to go our way.
With Mousa Dembele not making
the 18, Scott Parker came in for him as one of the two in front of
the back four, while AVB preferred to start with Adebayor in the
lone striker role instead of Defoe. Chelsea had Torres back
for Ba and Luiz was restored to midfield.
Tonight our defensive play was a little loose and two players got away from their markers for the opening Chelsea goal. But Adebayor showed how effective he can be when he puts in a full shift. If he does that for the next two games, he might just get a reprieve at Spurs, but then will he repeat the performance next season ? Once again, AVB's substitutions paid off, with Sigurdsson finishing neatly to level the scores.
With Chelsea having Aston Villa and Everton left to play, with the latter maybe Moyes' last in charge of the club, there may be just a hint of a sliver of a hope they drop a point or two, but being left watching other team's results will not make for a very comfortable afternoon this Saturday or the following Sunday.
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|What you thought|
the end, a draw was probably the right result. We didn't do
enough in the first half and Chelsea did too much, meaning we were
stronger at the end of the match.
What did give me the hump was Graeme Souness' comments after the match on Sky. It looks like he has a thing about Spurs, because he didn't make it with the club as a youngster, but he took the opportunity to have a dig at the club and AVB for not being likely to finish fourth and that being the case, why didn't they keep Harry Redknapp (his golfing mate). Look at where Redknapp is now and look at the difference in the way players respond to AVB. That's why.
|Other scores during this mid-week :|
|Manchester City||1||West Bromwich Albion||0||Tuesday|
|Wigan Athletic||2||Swansea City||3||Tuesday|
|8||West Bromwich Albion||36||14||6||16||49||49||48||0|
|10||West Ham United||36||11||10||15||38||46||43||-8|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||36||4||13||19||29||57||25||-28|
Position before match :
Position after match : 5th
Position after the weekend : 5th
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