Tottenham will want to show Chelsea that the shift in power and momentum in London is accurate ahead of a much-anticipated derby.
Arsenal lost their crunch clash away at Newcastle United, leaving Tottenham Hotspur as the only remaining unbeaten team in the league ahead of their game against Chelsea. Ange Postecoglou will want to continue with this momentum for as long as possible, cement their place at the top of the standings, and ensure Manchester City are only a temporary incumbent.
Under Postecoglou, Tottenham have been brilliant. But many have suggested they have not played top competition until now. Sure, they have managed a point against Arsenal and a victory over Manchester United, but the question remains whether they can sustain this challenge when facing more formidable adversaries.
Hat-trick of nominations 🎩
Ange Postecoglou is on the shortlist for October’s @PremierLeague Manager of the Month! 👏
Submit your vote ⤵️
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 2, 2023
This London Derby against Chelsea is a big test for Postecoglou despite the Blues’ struggles for relevance. For Tottenham, it is a big opportunity to showcase how the tide in the city has changed as they welcome former boss Mauricio Pochettino back to North London. A victory and the momentum that comes with it are key for Spurs, especially with one look at their next five fixtures, including this one on Monday.
Pochettino, on the other hand, has a massive point to prove upon his return to North London four years after losing his job at Tottenham. Chelsea have come to a position where they desperately need wins. And while they have performed well overall, that needs to reflect in their standings.
It feels like forever since Chelsea have broken into the top half of the table. While things looked good following recent results, especially against Arsenal, Brentford asked a few questions last weekend. Two goals from Thomas Frank’s men condemned the Blues to another defeat at Stamford Bridge.
One thing about Chelsea this season are their performances, especially against the big sides. They have showcased ample quality in games against Arsenal and Liverpool, something Pochettino would want his side to showcase at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Team News & Tactics
Ange Postecoglou mentioned it is a case of late fitness tests for his two left-backs, Destiny Udogie and Ben Davies. The latter replaced the Italian against Crystal Palace but suffered a problem as the game continued. The former was only out with a knock and should ideally return for the stern test against Chelsea.
Support from family & friends
Extra rehabilitation sessions 💪
An emotional return
Bentancur | The Recovery 🤍
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 4, 2023
Tottenham also have Rodrigo Bentancur back in their setup after the Uruguayan made a long-awaited return off the bench against Palace. Ryan Sessegnon, Alfie Whiteman, Manor Solomon and Ivan Perisic are the other absentees, as their status remains unchanged.
Postecoglou might only make one change to the side that won against Palace, with Udogie likely to come for Davies. The manager will retain the other members of the back four while keeping his midfield selections intact, as Yves Bissouma and Pape Matar Sarr will continue their partnership in the middle.
Son Heung-min will continue to lead the line for Spurs, with James Maddison behind in that No.10 role and Dejan Kulusevski on the right wing. Postecoglou might make another late decision for the left-hand side, with Brennan Johnson an option. But for now, he might stick with Richarlison.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Vicario; Porro, Romero, Van de Ven, Udogie; Sarr, Bissouma; Kulusevski, Maddison, Richarlison; Son
Mauricio Pochettino still has a long list of injured first-team stars unavailable for selection. But there are those he is hoping will shake off minor issues to make themselves available. Mykhailo Mudryk and Cole Palmer are slight doubts but are expected to feature against Tottenham.
Team! 💙 pic.twitter.com/ZUHltzA9ST
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) November 5, 2023
Benoit Badiashile also made his first start in midweek against Blackburn Rovers. But there are doubts whether Pochettino will select him from the start. The manager will have a choice to choose the Frenchman centrally, which could allow him to move Levi Colwill to the left-back spot. But for now, Marc Cucurella will stay there.
On the other flank, skipper Reece James is in line to make his first start since the opening weekend. He also featured in midweek, and Pochettino will hope he makes himself available for this crunch clash. The manager will also have Enzo Fernandez for this clash, which could allow him to field a midfield three.
Raheem Sterling and Palmer could form part of the attacking three, with Pochettino yet to choose his leading striker. Armando Broja is available again, but from the context of fitness and momentum, Nicolas Jackson will feature in the central role.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Sanchez; James, Silva, Colwill, Cucurella; Fernandez, Caicedo, Gallagher; Palmer, Jackson, Sterling
- Tottenham have won eight of their last nine matches in the Premier League.
- Tottenham have scored at least two goals in ten of their last 11 matches in the Premier League.
- Tottenham have won all their four home games so far this season in the Premier League.
- Chelsea have won only three games this season in the Premier League, with two of those coming on the road.
- Chelsea have lost 15 Premier League games in 2023.
Player to Watch
🔵 Pochettino: “Reece James is one of the best fullbacks in the world, it’s key to have him back”.
“We need our captain to stay fit and help the team. We go step by step but he’s key player for us”. pic.twitter.com/32zizCFVCM
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) November 2, 2023
Chelsea has done a fair bit of their share to elevate James’s stature as one of their top stars by handing him a massive contract and the captain’s armband. Now, it is up to the right-back to showcase his talent but, more importantly, keep himself injury-free for extensive periods.
The trip to Tottenham is a massive test for James to prove his worth. But he has always been the man for the big occasion. Captaining his Chelsea side to a good result in enemy territory will be high on his agenda. Still, the spotlight will be on his fitness levels and whether he can maintain them for extended periods.
Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Chelsea
Chelsea may have lost out to opponents they should have won this season. But their performances against the big teams like Liverpool and Arsenal have brought in renewed hope about getting a result in north London. The significant factor here is that this game is an away fixture, while those games above came at Stamford Bridge.
Ange Postecoglou will want his side to silence doubters complaining about Tottenham playing weaker opponents in their run to the top. A victory over Chelsea seems like a possibility, comparing squad quality and recent momentum, as Spurs could take three points and reclaim the top spot in the Premier League standings.