Chelsea are going through a rough patch this season as they continue to struggle with injuries and an inability to get results. With N'Golo Kante, Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Andreas Christensen injured, the Blues will have to dig deep when they face Jose Mourinho's Tottenham Hotspur in a high-profile Premier League clash on Saturday.
Frank Lampard's men are in dire need of new ways to defend and score goals. Their tendency to be wasteful in front of goal this term has cost them dearly and their defenders' inability to keep clean sheets and concede cheap goals has certainly not helped their cause.
Spurs are also struggling with a few injuries, with Harry Kane out for several months, and will be looking for a win after losing their first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 fixture to RB Leipzig.
In this article, we take a look at three things Chelsea can do to beat Tottenham:
#1 Start Olivier Giroud over Michy Batshuayi
Chelsea started this season off with Tammy Abraham as their starting striker and Frank Lampard largely used Michy Batshuayi as a back-up. Due to Abraham's injury, however, the former Derby County manager was forced to start the latter against Manchester United.
Batshuayi's performance showed why he has never been a starter at any of his loan clubs. He was in good positions throughout the game but failed to put away any chances that came his way. He also lacked confidence and seemed afraid to put the ball into the back of the net.
However, the Blues started moving quickly as soon as Olivier Giroud came on, with the Frenchman ultimately scoring a perfect header at the end, only to be denied by VAR. The performance highlighted the incisiveness of the former Arsenal striker and signified his importance to the side. As the Blues struggle for motivation, a start for Giroud could just be what Chelsea needs to get a win out of Spurs at Stamford Bridge.
#2 Shift to a back three
Chelsea's defence has been a cause of worry for the club in the past couple of seasons. Lampard's decision to play N'Golo Kante in a more advanced position this term has left them exposed on too many occasions, which is also partly due to Jorginho's defensive shortcomings.
Moreover, the Blues have also failed to deal with set-pieces regularly, something which was seen in their Premier League game against United. With doubts also hovering over the goalkeeper position, Lampard must prioritise defence against Saturday's opponents.
Chelsea have the perfect wing-backs in Marcos Alonso and Reece James as they are good crossers and experts in overlapping the wingers. Moreover, with three centre-backs, Lampard could start Mateo Kovacic and Mason Mount in midfield without thinking about fielding a defensive midfielder like Jorginho.
#3 Restore Kepa in between the sticks
Lampard made a statement to the world by starting Willy Caballero over the world's most expensive keeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga, in two consecutive games against the 'Big Six'.
Anyone who has watched football for the past few years knows the kind of volatility Caballero brings to the pitch. His distribution can be wayward and his decision-making ability isn't the sharpest anymore. Moreover, it doesn't make sense to leave Kepa on the sidelines for a player who will only be able to provide him with competition for a short time.
Chelsea believe that the reason behind Kepa's poor performances is a lack of competition. However, fielding a 38-year-old isn't the ideal method to bring about any solution. Instead, a better idea would have been to show faith in an academy product like Jamie Cumming and give him a game or two in the middle.
Lampard's experiment with Caballero is understandable to an extent but is a gamble of its own. The Blues have conceded four goals in the past two games and it is time that Kepa is given another chance.
Published 20 Feb 2020, 13:26 IST