OPPONENTS Chelsea at Stamford Bridge
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Saturday 22nd February 2020
PREVIEW Without a strong forward line-up Spurs are going to find a trip to up for it Chelsea even more difficult.

it is a shame, as a full strength Tottenham could have heaped further pressure on Frank Lampost's team, as they are being looked at differently from their early season results.  Obviously, VAR went against them on Monday when they lost to Manchester United, but Lampost won't mind if they get some on Saturday.  His reliance on the young players at the club was originally a consequence of the transfer ban, but when that was lifted and they didn't sign anyone in January, the onus is now on the manager's preference and with results being up and down, it has cast a shadow over his tenure.

Certain Chelsea players always raise their game against us and there will be an edge to the match, as the Pensioners seem to think we are their rivals.  That makes this sort of game even more problematical, as Tottenham will need to be urgent in their passing, but that will mean players moving off it to make themselves available to the person on the ball.  It will be important to have an energetic start, as we have been caught out recently by opposing sides, which Chelsea did at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.  If we can take the game to Chelsea, it might quieten the crowd and if they can't get into the game, it might put the onus on them to push forward more and allow the opportunity of a breakaway.

The crucial thing will be to stop turning possession over too cheaply.  We need to ensure that Chelsea work hard to get the ball and again, that will need our players to work hard.  The pace of the players we have available in forward positions will be utilised to test the Chelsea defence and with the current clouds hanging over their goalkeepers' heads, the need to get shots on target to make them work and test them out.

With the home side likely to be fired up, there could be a few cards flying around, as Chelsea have shown that they fly into tackles and to mis-time one could be an error of judgement.  On the other side of the coin, Spurs will need to be alert to the fact that Chelsea players will be looking for decisions going their way n the final third, with free-kicks giving them the chance to put our goal under threat.

The match couldn't have come at a worse time, but then we are stuck with this situation until the end of the season.  It is down to the management team to find a solution as to how they can get the best out of the remaining squad members available and it makes a fourth place finish more difficult, but the team have to carry on playing on three fronts to see where Spurs end up at the end of the season.

Unfortunately, without much striking threat, Spurs might find it tricky to get anything out of the game, which will leave us four points back behind the opposition.

PREDICTION Chelsea    2        Tottenham Hotspur    0
Harry Kane (hamstring), Moussa Sissoko (knee), Juan Foyth (groin) and Heung-Min Son (broken arm) are all out of the game at Stamford Bridge. 

Midfielder N'Golo Kante is ruled out with a adductor injury, while Marco van Ginkel (knee) and Christian Pulisic (groin) are both unavailable.  Doubts about Ruben Loftus-Cheek (calf), Tammy Abraham (ankle), Andreas Christensen (broken nose) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (hamstring) are likely to evaporate and they will probably play.


BT Sport 1 - live coverage
BT Sport 1 - Highlights  Sunday  07.00; Monday 10.00
Sky Sports Premier League - Game of the Day  20.30
Match of the Day BBC 1  (Highlights) Saturday 22.20; Sunday 07.40
Match of the Day 2  (Highlights)  Sunday   22.30
Sky Sports - Goals on Sunday  (Highlights)  Sunday 11.30

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Radio :  
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Commentary may be found on
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Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

Internet :
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BBC London -  Live commentaries listed down the page.
TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)

Premier League Kick off 12:30
Chelsea  2 (1)  
Tottenham Hotspur  1 (0)

Giroud  14m 19s
Alonso  47m 56s


Rudiger (o.g.)  88m 33s

Crowd :   40,608 Weather :  Sunny, mild
Referee :  Michael Oliver (Northumberland) Assistant Referees :  Mr. Simon Bennett; Mr. Stuart Burt
Fourth Official :  Kevin Friend  
Video Assistant Referee :  David Coote Video Assistant Referee Assistant :  Adam Nunn
Chelsea kicked off and played towards the Shed end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 7 minutes.
Christensen (foul on Moura)  63


Winks  (foul on Jorginho)  23
Lo Celso (foul on Mount - persistent fouling)  81


Chelsea : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit

  Antonio RUDIGER  (o.g.) 
  Andreas CHRISTENSEN      
28  Cesar AZPILICUETA  (c)

  Reece JAMES
  3  Marcos ALONSO 

  Ross BARKLEY  (10  WILLIAN  77)
19  Mason MOUNT

  Olivier GIROUD    (  9
  Tammy ABRAHAM  71)

Unused subs: 
  Kurt ZOUMA
47  Billy GILMOUR


  1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

  6  Davinson SANCHEZ
Toby ALDERWEIRELD  (24  Serge AURIER  78)

39  Japhet TANGANGA
Harry WINKS      
28  Tanguy NDOMBELE  (11  Erik LAMELA  63)
33  Ben DAVIES

18  Giovani LO CELSO      
  Steven BERGWIJN  (
20  DELE Alli   78)

27  Lucas MOURA

Unused subs: 
  Oliver SKIPP

30  Gedson FERNANDES

Manager :  Frank Lampost Manager :  Jose Mourinho
Sponsor :   Yokohama Tires Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  Nike Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

Spurs lost this match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, which is not perhaps an unsurprising statistic having our past record there in mind, but the 2-1 defeat didn't come without controversy.   The late VAR call that came too late to make a difference saw Lampost furious that a decision didn't go his way (no change there), while the admission that the off-pitch referee had made a mistake was a revelation, as they would never admit that the one on the pitch had done such a thing.  Tottenham lacked a threat up front and as a consequence, the first goal of the game meant that it would always be an uphill struggle for us.

Both sides were subject to change from defeats in the preceding week, but the start was cagey until the game burst into life in the tenth minute. Spurs forced two corners and from the second, Moura linked with Bergwijn to take a return pass and smash a shot to the keeperís right, but Cabellero got down to it to push the ball wide.  Chelsea responded with Mount forcing Lloris to a smart save down at his near post as the shot came in from the left and then Jorginho played a ball through to Giroud, whose shot was kicked out by Lloris and then Barkley returned it against the post. The ball fell for Giroud again and he turned on it to fire the ball into the net at Hugoís near post from the right side of the goal. A goal down after 15 minutes, Spurs were going to have enough trouble without any recognised strikers, but now they had to be aggressive and sharper in getting a foothold back in the match.

Chelseaís French forward got away with stamping on Sanchezís foot, with Winks then picking up a yellow card for pulling Jorginho back after he lost the ball. Chelsea were closing Spurs down quickly, all over the Tottenham half and it was leading to them losing the ball too often. When a corner for the home side was cleared, it dropped to Alonso just outside the D and he took a touch, then fired a right foot shot narrowly over the left-hand angle of Llorisí goal.

VAR wasnít called upon when Mount fouled Lo Celso and the Argentine kicked out a foot at him, with the youngster going down exaggeratedly to try and get a decision out of the referee. Looking at the video of it, it didnít look too different to Sonís red card in the first game between the two sides.  However, why Mount was booked for the first foul, when Winks had just got one for the same thing, only Michael Oliver can explain. Tottenham needed to keep their composure, as the Blues were looking to make the most of any challenge that came their way.

Just after the half hour, Ndombele played the ball through to Bergwijn, who slipped it off the side of his foot for Lucas and Azpilicueta had to slide in to block it for a corner. Lo Celso played it in and Sanchez got his head to it, forcing Caballero to back-pedal and touch the ball over the bar. Toby struck a 60-yard pass beyond Alonso to Tanganga running on to it and he got to the ball first on the right corner of the box, taking it across the area, selling the keeper, who had rushed out. It was a foot race to the ball that Japhet was winning, but it just ran out of play to save Cabelleroís blushes.  It was clear to see that Chelsea had wobbles when Tottenham attacked, but Jan Vertonghen was alert when it looked like Kovacic was looking to play in Giroud and Jan played the ball off the striker for a goal-kick. Spurs were looking to work the ball out from the back, but were often playing themselves into trouble, with the press causing them to turn over possession and when we had throw-ins, there was not a man ready to receive the ball, leading to Chelsea winning the ball.

As usual, the home crowd was as quiet as Highbury as their team passed the ball, but to little effect.  There was little of note in the first half really, as the teams had mostly cancelled each other out.  Spurs were asleep from a throw-in halfway in Chelseaís half and the ball was played up to Mount from Giroudís header and it was then squared to Alonso, who struck the ball past Llorisí left hand to make it 2-0. Sloppy from Spurs, allowing the ball to be worked forward by Chelsea so early in the second half.

It gave the home team confidence, with Barkley getting the ball on the left and turning to hit a shot heading for the top corner of Hugoís near post, but the Spurs captain produced a good save to tip it over the bar. Lo Celso was involved again, when James pulled him off balance and Azpilicueta slid in, with Giovaniís foot coming down on the Chelsea captainís calf. It took a lot of viewing by VAR, but decided that nothing was doing on the violent play front. Lampost wasnít happy about it, but when youíre Frank Lampost, you donít have much reason to be happy. He was constantly in the fourth officialís ear and it was just a continuation of Chelseaís long-held disrespect for officials.  When Spurs had possession in midfield, Lucas came short to receive the ball, but nobody was going beyond him to give Bergwijn support. With a target man in Giroud, Chelsea had more of an out ball than Tottenham.

A spell of passing in the Chelsea half ended with Ndombele ghosting past three players, but instead of getting his shot away, James got back to block him off. With that Jose made the decision to change things with just under a half an hour left. Lamela replaced Ndombele.  Mount made the Chelsea scream every time they got tackled, winning a free-kick on their right wing, before Christensen was all over Tanganga, who was deemed to have run the ball off the pitch for a throw-in to Chelsea.  A crude foul on Lucas Moura by Christensen got a yellow card and a free-kick 25 yards out, which Lamela took and it was deflected over the bar by the wall. When the corner was cleared, Winks played it back in for Toby to float a header at goal that Cabellero saved, but nearly pulled it back over his own line as Sanchez came in to challenge.

With 25 minutes left, Chelsea looked as though they were tiring, as Spurs were finding more space to move the ball and move with it, as Moura did, going across the pitch 20 yards out, but his pull back was hacked away. Abraham came on for Giroud, as fresh legs were introduced by Lampost.  Spurs were passing better and when a right-wing move played in Winks close to the dead ball line and his cross bounced back to him off Jorginho and then Rudiger looked to push him down from behind, but Oliver showed no interest. Both teams swapped players in midfield, with Dele coming on for Spurs, having less than 15 minutes to change the way the game was going, as Serge Aurier also came on for Toby.

A ball curled behind Vertonghen saw Mount look for the ball across the box for Abraham, whose touch was very well stopped by Lloris as the Chelsea forward ran into the post with a leg each side !!  Chelsea were gifted another opportunity when Lo Celso stuck a leg up to clear the ball and Mount came in form his blind side to run into it in the D of the penalty area. Alonso took it but he could get it down quickly enough, seeing it bounce back out off the face of the bar.

Chelsea dropped deeper allowing Tottenham to have more of the ball, but the two banks of four made it difficult to find a way through. But that was what they did with a minute left, as Spurs played the ball well and Mouraís pass put Erik Lamela through on the left and he took an extra touch, looking like the chance had gone. His ball across the box took a touch off Rudigerís heel and with Cabellero going the other way, he couldnít change his position with his weight going left, leaving the ball to sneak in at the near post.

Chelsea looked to try and grab a goal back, with Willan going through into the box, but he could only toe-poke the ball at Lloris as that was the last chance of the game.  Tottenham left it a little too late to start running the ball at the Chelsea defence, who looked suspect in the closing quarter of the match.

VARís admission that Lo Celsoís ďstampĒ on Azpilicueta should have been a red card only serves to show how flawed it is, as they spent a long time looking at it at the time, without coming out with that decision. Given enough time, I am sure you could come to any decision you want, but they could have said that they werenít sure and allowed the referee to look at it on the off-pitch monitor.  If anything, his kick out at Jorginho might have been worse and they didnít admit to that, even after Maguireís kick out on Batshauyi on Monday night.  "Clear and obvious" error.  Would the VAR official know one if it bit him ?  There is no doubt that Lo Celso was a bit naughty all game and he should have been sent off for one or the other incident, with the first being more likely.

What isn't in dispute is that Spurs are suffering.  Comments by Mourinho indicate that he feels Troy Parrott's head isn't right to be thrown into the first team and we have no other recognised all-out forward.  So, we are left with using our attacking midfielders/wingers or playing with a false nine.  The problem we might have with the latter is that it leaves the opposition's defence to have space and time to play the ball and pressing them needs to be done across the line.

It wasn't a terrible performance, as Chelsea are not playing that well at the moment, but they score two goals that caught out our defence and my worry is that teams are perhaps identifying Jan and Toby as being slower on the turn, so a ball bent behind them might give strikers and opportunity to get in behind them.  The team needs to be better drilled at tightening up the middle and back of the side.  If we are not being able to score as many goals as we would like, we need to be less likely to concede.  With a string of games coming up over the next three weeks, our season could be determined by how we get through those fixtures.

Euan Oosarmi

Match facts

Hugo Lloris makes his 250th Premier League appearance.

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How the players did
Hugo Lloris Another performance that stopped us suffering a heavy defeat.  Maybe at fault for the first goal, being beaten at his near post.
Toby Alderweireld Looked a little slow when the ball was played beyond him in the build up to the first goal, but stuck at it and made some good blocks, trying to launch forward passes that almost led to Tanganga getting past Caballero.
Jan Vertonghen Looked a little out of sorts, not reacting when the throw-in was taken for the second goal, as Mount turned him one way the the other to set up the goal, with Jan standing off him.
Davinson Sanchez Played pretty well and brought a good save out of Cabellero with a header from a corner.
Japhet Tanganga Did well and try to get forward, but often ran into traffic when trying to make progress with the ball.
Ben Davies Another who had a decent game, but in the new formation, his role is mainly defensive thus restricting the attacking side of his game.
Harry Winks Got stuck in, but after an early booking, he had to be careful.  Outnumbered when Chelsea flooded back behind the ball.
Tanguy Ndombele Looked good on the ball, but laboured getting back when he had lost the ball and didn't last the whole game again.  Could be very effective when fully fit.
Giovani Lo Celso Played very well, but lucky to stay on the pitch.  The Argentine in him is coming out and we cannot afford to lose him to suspension, so needs to concentrate on his own game.
Steven Bergwijn Another one who tried hard, but had little chance to test the Chelsea defence, although he did set up a couple of chances.
Lucas Moura Laboured away and had the first shot of the game, but difficult for him to utilise his pace against a packed defence.
Erik Lamela Made a difference and ran at defenders, creating panic that resulted in the own goal, but it came a bit too late.
Serge Aurier Brought on to change the formation.  Got forward on the right, but didn't make much in terms of chances.
Dele Alli Frustrated by not being found when he made runs into the box, Dele could not influence the state of the game.
Paulo Gazzaniga Unused.
Eric Dier Unused.
Gedson Fernandes Unused.
Oliver Skipp Unused.


What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Burnley 3 Bournemouth 0 Saturday
Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle United 0 Saturday
Sheffield United 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Saturday
Leicester City 0 Manchester City 1 Saturday
Southampton 2 Aston Villa 0 Saturday
Manchester United 3 Watford 0 Sunday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 Norwich City 0 Sunday
Arsenal 3 Everton 2 Sunday
Liverpool 3 West Ham United London 2 Monday


League Table  2019-20
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Liverpool 27 26 1 0 64 17 79 +47
2 Manchester City 27 18 3 6 68 29 57 +39
3 Leicester City 27 15 5 7 54 27 50 +27
4 Frank Lampard's Chelsea 27 13 5 9 45 36 44 +9
5 Manchester United 27 11 8 8 41 29 41 +12
6 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 27 11 7 9 43 36 40 +7
7 Sheffield United 27 10 10 7 29 25 40 +4
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 27 9 12 6 38 32 39 +6
9 Woolwich Wanderers 27 8 13 6 39 36 37 +3
10 Burnley 27 11 4 12 33 39 37 -6
11 Everton 27 10 6 11 36 41 36 -5
12 South Coast Big Club 27 10 4 13 34 48 34 -14
13 Crystal Palace 27 8 9 10 24 32 33 -8
14 Newcastle United 27 8 7 12 24 41 31 -15
15 Brighton & Hove Albion 27 6 10 11 32 39 28 -7
16 AFC Bournemouth 27 7 5 15 26 43 26 -17
17 Aston Villa 27 7 4 16 34 52 25 -18
18 West Ham United London 27 6 6 17 32 48 24 -16
19 Watford 27 5 9 13 24 43 24 -19
20 Norwich City 27 4 6 17 24 51 18 -27

Position before match :  5th
Position after match :  5th
Position after the weekend :  6th

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