In our latest episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Paree (Owner – @CFCParee) and Danny (Writer – @danny_new_) gave their thoughts of our comfortable 5-1 victory against Chesterfield against Spurs. They also look ahead to the game against Spurs on Wednesday, as well as giving their thoughts on a potential formation change and the current wingback situation.
In another episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Orlando (Host – @0rland1nho) and Paree (Owner – @CFCParee) were joined by special guest Adam Newson (@AdamNewson) who talks about getting into Journalism and working for Football.London, his reaction to Lampard’s sacking and Tuchel’s appointment, Billy Gilmour, the upcoming game against Spurs and Hudson-Odoi at RWB, the 23’s game against Arsenal on Friday including a return for Dujon Sterling and so much more!
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The London derby has always been known to be Arsenal vs Spurs, but the emergence of Tottenham and the downfall of Arsenal in the last decade has lead to Chelsea vs Spurs being a much more feisty fixture.
After all, one of the best matches in Premier League history was our draw at Stamford Bridge against the white team in North London. Chelsea went 2-0 down and the mood in the stadium dropped right to the very bottom as the Blue fans realised they were 9th in the table and feared the thought of Spurs winning the league. Hazard came on at Half-Time, and before you know it he scores one top bins to end Tottenham’s dreams, and win Leicester City the Premier League. Stamps on hands, reckless tackles, saliva being thrown around, fights every minute – it truly is a miracle how there wasn’t a red card on that day, but I guess it only filled the hatred for one another. Spurs players themselves have said afterwards that they see Chelsea as a bigger rival than Arsenal, and Eden Hazard has said many times that he didn’t want Spurs to win the league, and that the Lilywhites winning the Champions League against Liverpool ‘would be a disaster’.
Now, it seems even more exciting than ever. Jose Mourinho vs Frank Lampard. Master vs Apprentice. Although, last season the apprentice came out on top twice, with some of the best performances of the season – Super Frank being the only manager to ever do the double over Jose. In his first season at Chelsea? That’s pretty impressive to me. The level of performance just rose right from the first minute, and that’s a clear sign of how much the derby means to Lampard, and I’m sure he will be installing that into the players once again this season, especially as they will be wanting to take revenge after Mason Mount missed the penalty against Tottenham in the Carabao Cup this season to kick us out of the competition. I guess in that game we weren’t playing the likes of James, Silva, Havertz, Ziyech, Pulisic – and these players will definitely want to make their mark across London this weekend.
Even if we remove all of the history, it’s still a huge fixture. Spurs and Chelsea will definitely quietly think they can challenge Liverpool to the League this season, if not the next few. Chelsea find themselves in third place, two points behind Tottenham and Liverpool, and a victory for the Blues would take us to the top of the league, and possibbly re-inforce the fact to some Chelsea fans that perhaps we can win the League this season. I don’t like to get ahead of myself that much, but I think the thoughts of Lampard lifting the Premier League trophy as manager, while the academy boys such as Mount, Abraham, James, Hudson-Odoi and Tomori all stand behind him, as well as world class signings like Havertz, Ziyech, Silva and Pulisic, is just getting to me. Like – imagine that?! But, we have to start winning big games, and today would be a great start.
When and Where?
Chelsea face Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge – Kick-Off 16:30 (UK). The game will be available to watch on Sky Sports, with there being pre-match coverage and live commentary on the Fifth Stand.
Team News and Squad Updates:
Frank Lampard revealed on Friday that the whole squad is available for selection this weekend. He mentioned specifically that Kai Havertz gained some valuable minutes midweek against Rennes, and that Christian Pulisic is fit but that ‘fit to start’ could be a question mark. Whether Billy Gilmour will be involved in the squad is yet to be seen.
Spurs do have a few more problems than us. It was stated by football.london that Hugo Lloris suffered an illness on Wednesday and that a late decision would be made as whether he’s fit to start against Chelsea – if not, Joe Hart will start for Mourinho’s side. They will also be missing Erik Lamela who scored against us in the Carabao Cup this season, as well as Alderwiereld who looks to be out for the opposition for another two weeks. There will be late checks on Lo Celso and Bergwijn, although I assume they will just about make the squad.
The key battle(s) for me will be Kante and Silva vs Son and Kane. Despite it being a few years late, people are actually realising Harry Kane’s passing abilities and that he isn’t just a striker who scores goals. His partnership with Son has been highlighted in the last few Premier League games, with both being in top form at the moment.
Kane has been dropping a lot deeper and playing into Son who is running in behind this season. The French midfielder will certainly have to keep an eye on the England captain when he drops deeper, and that won’t be easy as he’ll also have the likes of Ndombele and Lo Celso to keep an eye on, two incredible midfielders on the ball who can really push forward from midfield. Thiago Silva would have faced incredibly fast attackers in his career and I’m sure Frank Lampard would have made the Brazilian aware of Son’s ability, so we can hope that the 36 year old will be able to deal with him despite not having anywhere near as much pace.
If Chelsea can keep these two forwards quiet for as long as possible, it will give real confidence to the rest of the team, and with our attacking ability you would expect us to score.
It certainly will be interesting to see what Lampard does, and I think it all depends on whether Kai Havertz is fit enough to start. If he isn’t, I have a feeling we could switch to a three at the back formation, although I do hope we stick with the 4-3-3 and play Kovacic a bit deeper and closer to Kante if needed. Saying that, here’s my predicted lineup:
If Kai Havertz isn’t fit to start, we could either see Kovacic come in for Havertz in the 4-3-3 as he has done the last few games, or switching to three at the back seems more likely, with Azpilicueta coming into the defence, and with Mount out wide.
Do you agree with my predicted lineup and pre-match thoughts? Make sure to let us know on our social media platforms!
We also recorded a preview for this game on our very own podcast with special guest Alison Bender, which you can listen to on all our listening platforms:
Sorry for taking a two week break, but we’re back! In another episode of The Chelsea Spot podcast, Orlando (Host – @0rland1nho) and The Chelsea Spot writer Chris (@ChrisOflynn4) discuss our remarkable comeback from 3-0 down at Half Time against West Brom, and also discuss the upcoming game against Spurs…
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Willian has long been Chelsea’s ‘marmite player’. Years before Jorginho came in and challenged the Brazilian for his title of the most divisive player at the club, Willian was either loved or hated by most fans, with very few sitting on the fence. With a potential reunion between the man who ‘hates Tottenham’ and Jose Mourinho in North London this summer, I will try and give a breakdown on Willian’s time at Stamford Bridge, and whether or not we could see him stay past this summer.
Having reportedly turned down an offer of a two year contract extension, telling Esporte Interativo that he wanted ‘three more years’ at the club, Willian is free to find a new team come the season’s end. The interview, given after the Bayern Munich game in March, angered Chelsea fans worldwide. Club legends, such as John Terry and Frank Lampard, were only offered one year contract extensions after turning 30 – due to club policy – and now that the board has eased its stance for Willian, they had been rejected. In a column written for The Players Tribune, the Brazilian said, “If you ask my wife if she wants to leave London, she’ll say no”. This has led to him being linked with two of Chelsea’s biggest rivals, Arsenal and Spurs, so clearly Willian is a man in demand. After his most productive season in blue to date, why would so many fans be keen to see the back of him?
Well, despite numerous incredible displays, most notably against Barcelona; where he hit the post twice before scoring in a 1-1 UCL last 16 tie in 2018, tempting the Catalan giants to make a £50 million bid for the then 29 year old, which was promptly rejected. An excellent performance against Spurs earlier in the season will also be fondly remembered by many fans. In fact, Willian has long been the scourge of our London rivals, not only did he score both goals in our 2-0 away win over them in December, but he also backed out of a seemingly agreed switch to White Hart Lane in order to join Chelsea. However, Willian’s Chelsea career has been tarnished by an incredible inconsistency. The forward has posted an underwhelming 74 goal contributions in 230 league appearances, at a rate of one every 3 games. For context, his predecessor in the number 10 shirt, Eden Hazard, racked up a huge 146 goal contributions in 245 league games, at a rate nearly double that of Willian.
Another aspect of the Brazilian’s character which has not endeared him to fans was his attitude towards Antonio Conte. Immediately after the 2018 FA Cup final victory over Manchester United, Willian uploaded an image to his social media accounts of the trophy presentation, edited so that the Italian manager’s face was covered by emojis. He insisted his daughter had done it without his knowledge. Such pettiness didn’t go down well with Chelsea supporters, with the popular Conte sacked a few weeks later only a year on from his incredible league success.
However, despite all of the negativity surrounding previous antics, there is a reason that Chelsea offered Willian a two year contract. He has proved to be an extremely valuable player this season, regularly starting in the 3rd youngest squad in the league (with an average age of 25.3 years). Azpilicueta, Kanté and the Brazilian are the only players aged over 28 to start more than half of the league games played so far this season, building an experienced spine to Lampard’s youthful side. Despite his advancing years, the Brazilian has managed to start 25 of the available 33 league games, notching up an impressive 9 goals and 5 assists (including 3 penalties). Statistically this has been his most productive season in front of goal for the Blues already, beating his 13 goal contributions in the 2017/18 campaign. With Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic struggling for fitness for large parts of the season, Willian has stepped up and dragged Chelsea through some tough encounters. But does his form this season mean he deserves a three year contract extension?
Chelsea have been aggressive in the market, sealing deals for both Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner before the transfer window has opened. Both recruits are extraordinarily talented, and – unfortunately for Willian – are able to play on the wing. Although Werner is naturally a number 9 or a second striker, he has adapted his game to make darting runs in from the left flank, helping him to bag a phenomenal 36 goal contributions in 34 Bundesliga start this term. Ziyech, meanwhile, is a more natural winger, playing mainly on the right flank and cutting in to provide 6 goals and 13 assists from 21 league outings. With Christian Pulisic in extraordinary form and Hudson-Odoi a hugely talented youngster waiting for his chance, Willian would probably find himself to be a bit-part player at best next season. He is clearly a player with huge self-confidence, and doesn’t appear to be happy to sit on the bench. Could this push him towards the exit door?
It is worth noting that Willian has performed admirably this season, not just in terms of goal output. He tops the squad for key passes, creating an average of 1.9 chances every league game, as well as sitting third for dribbles, with 1.8 completed every game. He also draws more fouls than anyone in the squad (1.3 per game), and gives the ball away less than half as often as other key winger Pulisic. The fact that he has accumulated the fourth most playing minutes in the league for us this season demonstrates how highly rated he is by the manager, and should we lose him this summer it is clear that whoever starts on the wings next season has big boots to fill.
Finally, when debating whether or not Willian should stay, it is vital to note his incredible work rate. Our 2015/16 Player (and Players’ Player) of the season, has managed the most tackles and interceptions of any of our attacking players to have started at least 5 league games, with an average of 1.9 in the league this season. This demonstrates his willingness to track back down the right flank and support whoever plays at right back. Whilst his inconsistent application – unless a new contract is up for grabs! – of his obvious talent frustrates all Chelsea fans, his effort and passion cannot be called into question.
Whenever Willian leaves it will naturally be to a mixed reception. Some will remember him at his electric best, others will remember him for constantly hitting the first man at corners, but there is no doubting how crucial he has been to Chelsea this season. With a three year contract unlikely to be offered – Willian would be pushing 35 by the time it runs out – and talents like Tino Anjorin pushing for first team minutes, it could be for the best that Willian leaves. He could probably be useful as an impact substitution, with his pace causing problems late on against weary defenders, but it is unlikely that he would be happy to fill such a role. Whatever your opinions on Willian, we can all be thankful that he signed a short-term extension in order to see out the rest of the season, when others would have looked after their own self-interests and left at the end of June. The Brazilian’s goals may still fire Chelsea to Champions League qualification, so for the rest of the season we should all get behind our number 10. After all, Spurs may have bought his flight, but…