Tottenham Hotspur vs Chelsea: Match preview, predicted line-ups, injury news | Premier League 2018-19
Spurs host Chelsea at home this Saturday, on PL Matchday 13, in the first meeting of the two sides this season. Pochettino’s men have the chance to hand Sarri his first defeat of the season, possibly ending Chelsea's unbeaten run in all competitions.
A Spurs win over Chelsea will help them overtake The Blues, but the North London side do not boast a good record against the top four this season, losing to both Liverpool and Manchester City so far.
The North London side have won only 6 of their previous 52 matches against Chelsea in the Premier League. However, 6 wins in 8 matches has given Spurs a strong position in the Premier League, with a 1-point gap separating them from their weekend rivals.
Pochettino will be looking to continue the team's consecutive 4 match win in the league, and cup, having won their last six London derbies
However, their home form has been poor, having collected only 22 percent of the points at home this season - 27 points overall, with a mere 6 points from their Wembley home.
Spurs have gone about their job quietly, and beating Chelsea could see them go third, possibly beating The Blues in back to back league games for the first time since August 1987.
Pochettino speaking to the media on Chelsea:
“They are doing very well with Sarri this season, still unbeaten. It's true that first season with Conte they were not involved in Europe and the next season Chelsea struggled a little when they were in the Champions League.
This season they are competing in the Europa League and it's completely different for Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool or us because we're competing in the Champions League.
It's a completely different competition. I am not surprised because Chelsea have an unbelievable squad and players. This summer they invested. They signed players, quality players and they added to the squad. But it's normal, they have one point more than us. It's not surprised me that they're doing very well”.
Pochettino on derby day:
“For me it's important to win because it's three points and it's important for us to be in a better place in the table. But for me it's not more than another game. It will be so competitive and of course it's another derby in London and of course that is so important to win”
Over in Central London, Chelsea have gone on an impressive 18 match unbeaten streak this season.
Maurizio Sarri has hit the ground running by drilling in his Sarriball philosophy, and has seen Chelsea play a possession based, one touch, quick passing football, which when executed from back to front is the most stylish and fluid football in the league, with an emphasis on attacking.
However, Chelsea have been disorganised against the bigger sides, earning two draws against Liverpool and having to come from behind to secure a draw against Manchester United in the 95th minute.
They were also held to a draw against West Ham, and a 0-0 stalemate against Everton prior to the international break. Chelsea's draw against Everton showed signs of vulnerability and lack of fluidity in midfield and attack, with The Toffees effectively marking Jorginho out of the game by giving him very little time on the ball, thereby stopping Chelsea’s transition and ball distribution.
Chelsea had racked up 5 successive wins in all competitions, including victories over Crystal Palace and Burnley in the Premier League, Derby County in the EFL Cup last 16, and BATE Borisov (twice) in the Europa League.
Chelsea have beaten Spurs just twice in their last 12 away trips, the last victory being 1-2 courtesy of Marcos Alonso. The Blues also are the only side to have beaten Spurs at Wembley on four different occasions.
Chelsea’s biggest threat might be Dele Alli, the young Englishman has scored 5 goals in 4 games against Chelsea.
Sarri speaking to the media on Pochettino and Spurs:
“He has done a very good job. They play very good football. They are very dangerous, very dangerous in the offensive phase, very dangerous in the short counter-attacks.
They are a technical team. In the match, they run a lot, too. From a physical point of view, they are a strong team. They are competitive. They will fight for the Champions League positions, for sure, so it's a very difficult match. We must be careful not to lose the ball in our half, because they are very dangerous in these situations”.
It's setting up to be a cracking game of football, with two theoretically brilliant teams about to display their theory in practice.
Spurs: Lloris, Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Winks, Dier; Lucas, Dele, Eriksen, Kane
Chelsea: Kepa, Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Barkley, Willian, Morata, Hazard
Kovacic picked up a minor leg injury, and hence didn’t participate against England in the Nations League, he is poised to make the bench.
Jan Vertonghen returned to training midweek, and is in contention to start.
Argentina’s Foyth and Lamela returned late from international break, and Pochettino has stated there might be fitness concerns, so they look set to make the bench.