Rampant Spurs face a recovering Chelsea
Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur will be wary of an apparently rejuvenated Chelsea when the London sides lock horns at White Hart Lane this afternoon.
The in-form Spurs have not tasted defeat in the Premier League since their opening-day loss at the hands of Manchester United, and head into the weekend’s clash off the back of a 1-0 victory over Azerbaijan’s Qarabag in the Europa League on Thursday evening.
However, Pochettino has spoken at length about his side’s lack of preparation time due to their lengthy travels this week, while José Mourinho’s Chelsea had two extra days off to recover following their 4-0 triumph over Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel on Tuesday night.
Tottenham are said to be one of the fittest teams in the Premier League, and their stamina will surely be put to the test by a Chelsea side still smarting from recent defeats to Stoke City and Liverpool.
However, this is perhaps the best possible time for Spurs to face Chelsea, who remain within touching distance of the relegation zone, and another defeat today would see Mourinho and his underperforming side face a renewed barrage of criticism.
Mourinho was in a combative mood ahead of the weekend’s crunch clash, though, telling the assembled press: “The reality is that we need points.
“We are all focused on doing our job the best we can. The only thing we can do is try to get maximum points. Chelsea is a big club; big clubs have difficult moments and cope with them. They try to build to have good moments again.”
On the team-news front, centre back John Terry and midfielder Ramires will undergo late fitness tests after missing training on Friday with minor injuries.
Tottenham, meanwhile, are expected to ring the changes for the clash with the Blues.
Dele Alli (suspension), Érik Lamela (groin), Nabil Bentaleb, Nacer Chadli and Alex Pritchard (all ankle) are all set to miss out, but Kyle Walker, Mousa Dembélé and Danny Rose return to the starting line-up after being rested for Thursday’s game.
While all eyes will be on the day’s early Premier League fixture, there are other interesting games lined
up. West Ham, shorn of the services of injured playmaker Dimitri Payet, will be looking to halt a three-match winless run when they welcome West Brom to Upton Park.
Despite their recent run of poor form, the Hammers are still flying high in the league standings ahead of the weekend clash, but can expect a stern test from the Baggies, who returned to the winning trail following back-toback defeats with a 2-1 triumph over title hopefuls Arsenal last time out.
At Carrow Road, Norwich City take on an Arsenal side aiming to banish all memories of a bitterly disappointing defeat to West Brom.
The Gunners cruised to a 3-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb in Tuesday night’s Champions League action and will be targeting more of the same against the struggling Canaries.
Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool are still riding the wave of optimism that followed the highly anticipated appointment of the former Dortmund coach, and the Merseysiders are clear favourites to claim all three points at Anfield after recording a memorable 4-1 win against Manchester City last weekend.
Another win today could see the rejuvenated Reds rise as high as sixth place in the standings, depending on results elsewhere.
Swansea have picked up just four points from their last five league fixtures and find themselves trailing Liverpool by six points in the standings. The form of the Swans has become a major cause for concern for the Welsh outfit’s board of directors, who are said to be eyeing potential replacements for manager Garry Monk, with a view to bringing in a replacement should results fail to improve in December.
– TEAMtalk Media
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