Deccan Chronicle

Tottenham vs Chelsea: Antonio Conte's massive problems an advantage for Spurs?

Deccan Chronicle| Soumo Ghosh

Published on: August 18, 2017 | Updated on: August 18, 2017

While Chelsea have enjoyed the better record (56-44), Tottenham have clawed back under manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Antonio Conte is missing two huge names in the form of Cesc Fabregas and captain Garry Cahill. (Photo: AP)

Antonio Conte is missing two huge names in the form of Cesc Fabregas and captain Garry Cahill. (Photo: AP)

London: Two of the biggest clubs in the top flight of English football are set to renew their vigorous rivalry on Saturday, in a bid to get the edge early on, in Premier League campaign.

The two clubs have enjoyed a bitter rivalry, which dates back to the pre-World War I era. This fixture has become one of the most hotly contested matches on the Premier League calendar, as Spurs slowly started to become serious contenders for the title.

While Chelsea have enjoyed the better record (56-44), Tottenham have clawed back under manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Team News and Tactical view

Despite the fact that both the sides are playing a similar system, both Tottenham and Chelsea have their own way of going about things. Blues manager Antonio Conte had brought about a revolution in football, reaping the rewards of the three-at-the-back system at Juventus and Italy.

Last year, Chelsea benefited from this system, storming their way to a Premier League triumph.


However, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, who sets his team up in a similar manner, goes about things a bit differently.

Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs got off to a flying start to their Premier League campaign, with a 2-0 victory at newly-promoted Newcastle, with Dele Alli and Ben Davies getting on the scoresheet.

While they face a sterner test against defending champions Chelsea, they will take heart from the fact that they are playing at home this time round.


Pochettino is set to miss out on a couple of key players in this game though, with the likes of Erik Lamela and Danny Rose out injured. Lamela’s absence could turn out to be a bit of a blessing in disguise, as it paves the way for Pochettino to bring Victor Wanyama into the midfield.

The Kenyan midfielder’s energy on the field affords more time and space to his midfield partner Mousa Dembele to bomb forward. However, playing Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli behind striker Harry Kane could put the Spurs at a bit of a disadvantage as they are not naturally wide players.

Probable Starting XI (3-4-2-1): Lloris; Vertonghen, Dier, Alderweireld; Davies, Dembele, Wanyama, Walker-Peters; Eriksen, Alli; Kane.

Chelsea FC

The Chelsea fans are accustomed to calling Spurs’ former home ground "Three-point lane" instead of "White Hart Lane". However, Spurs have moved on from their less illustrious past now, and not even the best teams in Europe can go to an away Game at the Wimbley Stadium with any kind of surety in their mind.

Chelsea has started on poor form with a 3-2 home defeat against Burnley, a result that was barely expected of the defending champions on opening day. To add to that, the Blues have lost two of their key players, defender and captain Garry Cahill and midfielder Cesc Fabregas, both of whom were sent off against Burnley last week.

The biggest problem that Conte faces, going into this match is finding reinforcements for his midfield. With Nemanja Matic being sold off to Manchester United, the Chelsea’s Italian boss does not have an experienced player to partner N’golo Kante in the middle of the park. New signing Tiemoue Bakayoko has been brought in to man the midfield, but his is yet to get back to full match-fitness, something that compounds Conte’s problems.

Although, these circumstances have depleted Chelsea’s squad strength quite a bit for this match, it also affords Conte the opportunity to the formation under which he had thrived at Juventus – the 3-5-2.

Centre-back David Luiz is a versatile player and has been known to play in the middle of the park. The Brazilian could take up the defensive role in the middle of the park, alongside Kante, with Willian playing as more of an attacking midfielder ahead of them.

One advantage of this formation is that Conte can throw both his forwards – Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi onto the pitch.

Probable starting XI (3-5-2): Courtois; Cristensen, Rudiger, Azpilicueta; Alonso, Luiz, Kante, Willian, Moses; Morata, Batshuayi.

Key Players

Tottenham Hotspur: Harry Kane

Harry Kane

Although he did not score in the opening Premier League fixture, Harry Kane has been one of the most prolific strikers for Spurs over the last few years. His goalscoring eye is brilliant, and a game in front of the home crowd may be all he needs to open his account this season.

Chelsea FC: N’Golo Kante

N'Golo Kante

The absence of Fabregas has made Kante’s role in the Chelsea midfield all the more crucial. The Frenchman, who is known for his endless energy, will have to be alert at all times, keeping close tabs on the creative Spurs players like Alli, Eriksen and Dembele.

DC predicts

Tottenham 2-1 Chelsea

The defending champions are facing a few too many problems ahead of the Spurs game, making the "Three Point Lane" chants from the away stands unlikely. Tottenham have a strong side at their disposal, despite the absence of Lamela, and in front of their home fans, could hold the advantage in this London Derby.

About The Author
Latest News
Most Popular