Chelsea entertain Tottenham Hotspur in the Saturday’s early Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge. The hosts have been in a wretched run of league form of late and they have registered just two points from the previous four matches.
In the same period, Spurs have managed to accumulate 10 points and that has closed down the gap between them and fourth-placed Chelsea to just one point ahead of the weekend’s London derby.
Here are three things to watch out for:
Tottenham Hotspur’s approach: The north London side went with a defensive-minded approach against Manchester City earlier this month and that paid dividends as they picked up maximum points at home after the Cityzens were down to 10 men. A similar approach could be on the cards against the Blues at Stamford Bridge but the question marks arise as to who can make the difference in the final third. Their regular goalscorers in Harry Kane and Heung-min Son have been ruled out for the season with injuries and Spurs will require a standout performance from one of their attackers to register a rare away win for them against one of the so-called big-six teams.
Willian’s performance: The Brazil international has remained an influential player in the derby and he has contributed four goals from the previous six meetings against Spurs in all competitions. In the reverse fixture, Willian managed to standout by scoring a first-half brace but besides this, he was hugely impressive with his diagonal cross-field balls which his teammates were unable to take full advantage of. The 31-year-old managed to find a Blues player with seven of his eight attempted long balls from the left wing. Spurs can’t afford to provide him with the space to replicate the same and need to close him down regularly.
Chelsea’s formation: Frank Lampard went with a three-man central defence during the previous meeting between the teams and that worked to great effect with Spurs managing just one shot on target. In the pre-match press-conference, Lampard happened to suggest that the situation was quite different in that contest but it won’t come as a surprise, if the Blues boss goes with the same 3-4-2-1 formation. The Blues have conceded two goals in each of the previous three league games and Lampard may want more assurance at the heart of the defence against a Spurs side, who have quality in the attack despite the absence of key frontmen in Kane and Son.