Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur head to Stamford Bridge this Saturday to take on one of their biggest rivals – Frank Lampard’s Chelsea – in a huge Premier League fixture that could go some way to deciding who claims one of the final Champions League spots for next season.
Both sides have seen some mixed results as of late; Chelsea have failed to win any of their last four league fixtures and have only won once in Premier League action since the start of 2020, and while Spurs have won their last three league fixtures, they were below-par in their recent Champions League loss to RB Leipzig.
Last time these two London giants faced off, the Blues came away 0-2 victors in a game that saw Son Heung Min sent off in controversial fashion. This time Mourinho will desperately want to get one over his former star player by beating his side – and these 3 players could help Tottenham pull the win off.
#1 Giovani Lo Celso
Argentina international Lo Celso has arguably been Tottenham’s key player as of late, and the creative midfielder is proving to the Spurs faithful that there’s definitely life after Christian Eriksen. The 23-year old has yet to contribute in terms of goals and assists in Premier League matches, but his all-action style has already endeared him to Mourinho and to the fans.
Lo Celso was Spurs’ most impressive performer in their loss to Leipzig, driving them on from midfield with both his dribbling skills – almost emulating former Spurs star Gareth Bale’s famous solo run against Barcelona at one point – and also his tendency to launch himself into tackles. And in their recent win over Manchester City, it was his midfield partnership with Harry Winks that allowed Spurs to thrive despite giving up the lion’s share of possession.
Mourinho can be expected to deploy Lo Celso from the start against Chelsea after he played the full 90 minutes against Leipzig, and if he allows him to attack the heart of the Blues’ midfield and defence, he could well open up chances that allow Spurs to take advantage of Chelsea’s somewhat soft underbelly.
#2 Steven Bergwijn
Things couldn’t have gone better for Dutch forward Steven Bergwijn on his Tottenham debut; he scored a stunning goal that sent Jose Mourinho’s side well on their way to a monumental win over Manchester City, and while he’s had quieter games since – against Aston Villa and RB Leipzig – right now the former PSV Eindhoven star should still be considered Tottenham’s most dangerous attacker.
Shorn of their most deadly goalscorers – Harry Kane and Son Heung Min – for Saturday’s London derby against Chelsea, Spurs will need to look elsewhere for goals, and one man they should definitely look to turn to is Bergwijn. Likely to be deployed from a wide left area again as he was in his recent games, he’ll probably find himself up against youngster Reece James.
If Bergwijn can get the better of the England youth international – and can look to get behind Chelsea’s central defenders like Antonio Rudiger and Kurt Zouma, neither of whom is the quickest – then he could be the key to Spurs finding the goals they’ll need to win this match.
#3 Tanguy Ndombele
Much has been made over the fitness issues surrounding Tottenham’s record signing Tanguy Ndombele; the French midfielder hasn’t been starting many of Spurs’ recent games due to Mourinho’s distrust of his ability to complete 90 minutes – but if the Portuguese boss is smart, he’ll deploy him this weekend against Chelsea from the start.
Against Leipzig, Gedson Fernandes was chosen to partner Harry Winks in Tottenham’s engine room, but while the youngster showed some good touches and flashes of his potential, he can’t carry the ball forward in the same unique way that Ndombele can, nor does he offer the passing vision that the Frenchman does; witness his assist for Son Heung-min in the win over Manchester City.
With N’Golo Kante out with an injury for this weekend’s game, Spurs’ midfield is likely to be up against Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and Mason Mount – three players that could be outmuscled by a midfield duo of Winks and Ndombele – so this should be the chance for the Frenchman to prove that he can live up to his potential and play an important role under Mourinho going forward.