The Capital One Cup Final sees Chelsea vs Spurs with silverware on the line, so we look at how to take on Jose Mourinho’s side.
We’ve each won a meeting a piece this season in contrasting fashion. Chelsea bossed a controlled and functional game to emerge victorious at the Bridge. Intent on upsetting the Blues, a frantic pace and organised chaos saw us win a shootout at the Lane. So, what did we do so well and what do we need to look for in Chelsea vs Spurs this time to beat Mourinho’s men?
1. Where Chelsea concede chances
Chelsea have been extremely tough for teams to breakdown this season, but their weakness, as it has been for a while, is in their right back zone.
The reason they are vulnerable here is the deployment of Branislav Ivanovic. The Serbian is an excellent defender, but under Jose Mourinho he has licence to get forward. This sees him as a threat in attack, but his positioning leaves him vulnerable to quick transitions.
We heavily took advantage of this in Spurs 5-3 Chelsea at White Hart Lane. Three of our five goals came from attacking his zone.
A great example was on our fourth goal. Ivanovic was caught forward and out from the rest of his defence, leaving us to get numbers in-behind. The quick break causes the other defenders to have to rotate over and the defensive midfielder, Matic in this case, to drop in. They are not quick enough and the confusion caused by the speed of the counter sees Harry Kane score.
It’s not just us that have exposed Ivanovic’s positioning, and sometimes his rashness to push up out of defence. Newcastle are the only other team to beat Chelsea in the Premier League this season and they did the same thing.
Jack Colback tackles Eden Hazard in midfield with Ivanovic caught high up in the attack.
This leads to a quick counter where he feeds in Moussa Sissoko before Ivanovic can recover and Matic can drop in.
Chelsea’s last Champions League match saw them draw 1-1 with PSG, but the French side also had great success by getting in to Ivanovic’s right back zone. This included their goal, a header from Edinson Cavani from a Blaise Matuidi cross.
The Tottenham tactics for Chelsea vs Spurs in the Capital One Cup Final this Sunday should see us do the same. The selection of players down our left, and getting the ball regularly in to this zone, will be key.
2. Chelsea creating chances
Whilst they can be exposed, Chelsea are an extremely talented side. They create chances from short; neat through balls and dribbling that has two outcomes.
The first is that it allows a runner to latch on to the through pass and get a shot away. Diego Costa and Eden Hazard very much combine in this way and their one-twos are a feature of many a Chelsea goal.
The second sees the player from the through pass in a position to provide a short cross or pull back from inside the area. This puts him closer to his target and thus the cross or squared ball is more likely to be completed.
Chelsea very much created chances in this manner in their last Premier League match with Burnley. This includes Eden Hazard’s pull back to Branislav Ivanovic after completing a mazy dribble.
They also went through the inside channels and played short pull backs against us in the 5-3 demolition at the Lane.
In the Capital One Cup Final on Sunday, the Tottenham tactics for Chelsea vs Spurs should be well aware of this.
The reason that Chelsea are so successful doing it is that they have two natural playmakers on the field in Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas. The Belgian can beat you with his dribbling and quick feet, the Spaniard with his passing. They also have a third auxiliary playmaker in Willian, who can combine both dribbling and passing. They get these men between the opposition lines where they can destroy defences.
3. Stopping Chelsea between the lines
Chelsea’s success comes from getting their men between the lines. They took the match at the Bridge away from us extremely quickly by doing just this.
Eden Hazard got free to play a one-two with Didier Drogba for their first.
Oscar was then in this space to set up the second.
Opponents have to condense this space and take away this zone. Sunderland did this pretty well in their 0-0 draw with Chelsea in an extremely defensive ‘all hands to the pump’ manner.
We did it slightly differently in our 5-3 win at the Lane. Having three men in central midfield, with Chadli and Townsend drifting in, we forced the Blues out in to the wide areas where we could recover the ball.
This approach wasn’t as stifling as Sunderland were, but then they set up to defend and rarely created. Our approach was more risky and open, but did allow us to create the chaos and rampaging counter attacks forward, which overran Chelsea.
Either approach is valid, but what is crucial in Chelsea vs Spurs this time is keeping the Blues from getting in-between the lines once more.
The number of errors we’ve seen in our play recently has seriously increased. These are not just physical errors, but more mental ones that have seen us play poor passes and easily turnover over possession. Thursday night in Florence was an all too familiar example as Federico Fazio and Jan Vertonghen committed silly mistakes to gift La Viola the game.
Maybe it is the number of games we’ve played this season catching up with us? Hopefully it’s just because we’ve had one eye on the Capital One Cup Final. Whatever the reason, there can be no mental meltdowns on Sunday. Chelsea are too good a side to gift goals to.
5. Dictating tempo
Whoever is in control of the tempo of this match will be key to winning it.
At the Bridge, Jose Mourinho had his side dictate the speed of play and Chelsea emerged winners. In the game at the Lane, Mauricio Pochettino wanted it to be frantic and frenzied and we won a shootout 5-3.
Mourinho will want this to be a grind, whereby his team can wear us down over the course of 90 minutes with their strength and power. Pochettino will want it to be an athletic contest, where our speed and physical stamina over for the full 90 minutes will be the deciding factor.
The game will see patches whereby each team asserts it’s control. It will be whoever makes the most of the moments when they are in the ascendancy that will emerge victorious.
Also don’t underestimate the size of the Wembley surface. Spurs have done better on the bigger pitches this season and this should also play in to the hands of our improved fitness and stamina.
Chelsea vs Spurs outlook
In spite of all of the above factors, we have to operate with a zip and tempo to our play from the outset. We cannot let the occasion overawe us in to playing a slower and more timid game, as this will play in to Chelsea’s hands.
From the team selection side, the biggest factor will be the loss of Nemanja Matic. His ball recovery and ability to move it to the Chelsea playmakers will be a big miss for Jose Mourinho. His replacement will not be in the same class. If it is indeed Jon Obi Mikel, then we need to get players in and around him to overrun him on counter attacks. Ramires won’t be as susceptible to pace.
Chelsea vs Spurs prediction: Chelsea 1 Spurs 2.
Chelsea vs Spurs betting
The game is setup to be a classic and here are a few of the bets that I’ve had.
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