Jose Mourinho’s Spurs outfit will host his old club Chelsea on Sunday afternoon which could prove to be a pivotal match up in terms of who finishes in the top four this year, even at this relatively early stage in the season. Frank Lampard’s Chelsea come into their first visit to The Tottenham Stadium off the back off a torrid run of domestic form, while Spurs have been mainly rejuvenated under their new boss with four league wins in five since Mourinho’s shock appointment in North London after Mauricio Pochettino’s equally surprising exit from the club last month.
Spurs’ recent revival has been come at a bad time for Chelsea who a few weeks back were eleven points in front of them in the table, a gap which has now been cut to just three points. Four defeats in five in the league for The Blues has included uninspiring displays versus the likes of West Ham and Bournemouth at home and Everton away. Some superb league form before this lean period means Chelsea are just about still in the top four yet it’s clear the heavy buzz already their young and no doubt talented squad has softened considerably in recent weeks.
When looking at the raw stats it’s easy to see where Lampard’s side are struggling, there is a sharp divide between them and rest of the top four in regard to goal difference. A positive goal difference of just six is dwarfed by the those of Liverpool, City and Leicester above them with Chelsea conceding twenty five goals already this term. This wasn’t so much of an issue when Chelsea were in flowing form earlier in the season but now that they have regressed attacking wise in recent weeks, the issues for Lampard going forward are evident for all to see. Many will back his talented forward line and strong midfield to come back to some sort of form soon enough, yet it remains completely unclear if Chelsea can stop leaking so many goals. As even the return of Toni Rudiger couldn’t produce a clean sheet in Chelsea’s latest home defeat to Bournemouth over the weekend.
And when it comes to exposing Chelsea’s iffy backline, Spurs’ certainly have plenty of firepower to cause significant damage. Dele Alli has been given a new lease of life under Mourinho with three goals and three assists since Jose took the helm at Tottenham just over a month ago. Indeed under Mourinho Spurs have been become the free flowing attacking unit they once were under Poch with fourteen goals in their last five league outings. Ominous signs for Sunday’s visitors who have been continually unlocked by much lesser attacking forces in recent times. And Mourinho will no doubt look to use his far superior experience to outdo a man who was such a key player for him during his glory years as Chelsea boss.
Though you would expect Chelsea, now with a week’s break after a very busy period fixture wise, to cause Spurs plenty of problems as they have done when they have faced other big sides this term. Results wise, Chelsea have fared very poorly versus fellow top six rivals yet positive performances versus City, Liverpool and even in the first hour versus Manchester United in Lampard’s first league game in charge will give him hope that his team can achieve the breakout victory versus a big gun that they so desire.
Though in a purely results business admirable defeats count for very little and as a proven winner throughout his playing career Lampard will know that full well. Indeed, he like Mourinho will simply be looking for a positive result by any means necessary in one the season’s first crucial games when it comes to top four status. And with Liverpool running with the league followed by very strong Manchester City and Leicester sides, it looks as though there will only be a single available Champions League spot left, with Chelsea and Spurs one of at least a trio teams hoping that they can turn on the heat in the second half of the season to ensure top level European football next term.
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