Conte v Poch this weekend | Can Spurs bounce back after CL exit?

By Soccer Blog | Nov 24, 2016

The pick of this weekend’s Premiership fixtures sees league leaders Chelsea host undefeated Tottenham Hotspur, with the first chapter in the Antonio Conte vs Mauricio Pochettino rivalry set to be written at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening.

The Blues went top of the table after Round 12, with a 1-0 win away at Middlesbrough propelling them to the summit after Liverpool were held to a draw by Southampton at St.Mary’s. They have a couple of very crucial fixtures coming up, with a trip to the Etihad awaiting them following this game against the Lilywhites.


League table after 12 rounds

Spurs have a terrible record at Stamford Bridge- their last win at the ground was back in February 1990 when goals from David Howells and Gary Lineker saw them triumph 2-1. Since then, Spurs have failed to win a game at the Bridge in 26 years and while the distance between White Hart Lane and Chelsea’s home ground is a mere 14 miles, it’s begun to feel like a bridge too far for the club’s players and fans alike. From the time the Premier League as we know it came into existence, Spurs are the only ever-present side not to win away at Chelsea.

Video- Chelsea 1-2 Spurs (February 1990- Spurs’ last win at Stamford Bridge)

The Lilywhites are also going through a form slump of sorts- they’ve won just one of their last nine games in all competitions and were knocked out of the Champions League by Monaco on Tuesday night despite the best efforts of skipper Hugo Lloris in goal. It was a disappointing performance from the team and Poch’s gamble of resting Vertonghen, Walker and Eriksen with one eye on the Chelsea clash didn’t pay off.

Monaco dump Spurs out of the CL- Video

Spurs are the only team left undefeated in the league this season, but few expect them to break their Stamford Bridge hoodoo this weekend. The bookies certainly don’t think so- a look at LeoVegas’ sportsbook page, for example, has Chelsea at 3/4 to win at the time of writing, with Spurs being quoted at 4/1 and a draw at 13/5.

Tottenham Hotspur’s last five visits to the Bridge- results

Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham
Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham
Chelsea 3-0 Tottenham
Chelsea 4-0 Tottenham
Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham

Video Chelsea 2-2 Spurs (May 2, 2016- result hands Leicester the title)

Pochettino also has some selection headaches ahead of the Chelsea clash. Key defender Toby Alderweireld is set to miss this clash, having still not recovered from the knee injury he picked up against West Brom in mid October. Spurs’ record with and without Alderweireld this season makes for interesting reading- with him, they have won six, drawn two and lost one in nine games and conceded only five times, and without him, they’ve won only twice in nine attempts and conceded nine goals.

With Ben Davies also injured and Danny Rose suspended, Pochettino is likely to restore Jan Vertonghen to the starting XI after resting him against Monaco, but at left back, leaving Kevin Wimmer and Eric Dier to continue their partnership in central defence.

It will be interesting to see if Pochettino gives Moussa Sissoko a run on Saturday. The midfielder has been a huge disappointment since his mega-money transfer on deadline- the £30m Spurs spent to buy him is essentially the same that Chelsea paid for N’Golo Kante. Sissoko’s fellow signings, Janssen and N’Koudou have also not had the kind of impact you’d expect summer signings to have in a side challenging on both domestic and European fronts. Victor Wanyama has been decent but Spurs have also been hurt by the fact that key players like Alli, Dembele and Eriksen aren’t displaying the form they were last season.

Michael Oliver is refereeing this clash. The last Chelsea game he oversaw was their 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in September, while the last Spurs game where he was in charge of the whistle was their 1-0 win over Crystal Palace in August.

Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur

Stamford Bridge, London. Kickoff 5.30 pm

Referee- Michael Oliver

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