A trip to Stamford Bridge is up next for Chelsea vs Spurs in the Premier League, but just how do you take on Jose Mourinho’s well-oiled machine?
Our best performance of the season is followed by the toughest. Chelsea are undefeated in the Premier League this term and have only dropped points away from home.
After finishing third in the last campaign, Jose Mourinho has re-tooled and re-moulded his side and they are now sweeping all before them. So, what should we be on the lookout for and is there any way to take on the Blues in Chelsea vs Spurs this time?
Navigating the Chelsea pressure
Jose Mourinho has always coached a counter attacking style, but this season he has his side playing with different levels of pressing at home and away.
At Stamford Bridge, he often has side drop off in an attempt to draw the opposition out. Many opponents will come and sit back; this is his way of creating the space for the likes of Eden Hazard to exploit.
Take Chelsea’s last home Premier League match with West Brom where they rarely recovered the ball in the final third.
Compare that to last weekend’s away trip to Sunderland where Mourinho’s men were much more aggressive in their pressing.
The home team are often forced to come out and play. Therefore, Mourinho can be more aggressive when on the road as there is often more space to exploit. This is part of the reason why Chelsea struggle at grounds like Villa Park, where the Villains will always sit back and play on the counter.
The Tottenham tactics for Chelsea vs Spurs should see the Blues once more give us enough room to move up before they press and counter attack. However, we have conceded the most goals in the first 15 minutes of Premier League matches this season, so Jose may be tempted to go for it from the off. Us having to chase the game would really play in to his side’s counter attacking hands.
Chelsea creating chances
Going forward Chelsea are a team that creates chances from short, neat through balls and dribbling that have two outcomes.
The first is that it allows a runner to latch on to the through pass and get a shot away. The second outcome sees the player in a position to provide a short cross or pull back from inside the area.
Chelsea very much created chances in this way against Sunderland last weekend.
Chelsea are not naturally a crossing team, but when they do, they will often be delivered from very short distances. This is designed to get the deliverer of the ball as close to his target as possible, which should increase the accuracy of his cross.
Chelsea’s last home match with West Brom saw them create from their usual through passes. But they also opened the scoring from a short cross as Cesc Fabregas found Diego Costa.
In their previous home match, QPR went to the Bridge and also suffered from the constant through balls, as Fabregas slid in Oscar to score. They also created from a couple of short accurate crosses from the right.
Stopping Chelsea from creating chances this way is extremely difficult. The reason being that Jose Mourinho has two natural playmakers on the field in Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas. The Belgian can move the ball quickly through dribbling and passing as he drifts in from the left. The Spaniard is tough to pick up as he moves forward from deep and can often get on the ball unmarked.
Many teams have tried and failed to stop them this season. Sitting deep and trying to take away the space between the lines has been the more favoured tactic. Man City tried to push them back in wide areas and had a fair amount of success in drawing the match, but this was at the Etihad, not the Bridge.
The Tottenham tactics for Chelsea vs Spurs may well see us adopt the counter attacking approach we saw at the Emirates in Arsenal 1 Spurs 1. This proved extremely effective in taking away the space the Gunners like to enjoy between the lines.
If Mauricio Pochettino is feeling confident, we may well see the same ‘bridge press’ that he deployed against Everton at the weekend. Three players push up high and try and pressure the opposition’s defence in to errors or having to clear the ball long downfield, creating a turnover. The other seven outfield players drop off to narrow the space between the lines.
Chelsea conceding chances
Chelsea once more have been extremely tough to break down this season. Teams that have done it go about the task in two ways.
The first is to expose Branislav Ivanovic going forward and not recovering his position in time. Sunderland created several chances last weekend from getting behind the right back, but were unable to profit.
Another Premier League match where Chelsea dropped points was at the Etihad. Man City had a fair amount of joy getting behind the full backs, as their equaliser came from Ivanovic’s right back zone.
The second method is through quickly countering on the break. This is the main way teams have had success at Stamford Bridge.
Leicester missed a glorious opportunity at 1-0, which would’ve squared their game late on. QPR scored their equaliser from Charlie Austin turning home Leroy Fer’s shot on the break, but they narrowly lost 2-1. Swansea also profited from countering quickly to create several chances, including Jonjo Shelvey’s goal, as a fair few of their opportunities came from Ivanovic’s right flank.
Scoring at the Bridge is no easy task, but counter attacks looking to expose Ivanovic getting forward would be our best bet of success here.
Chelsea vs Spurs outlook
This game could be a tight affair or it may well get out of hand depending on both manager’s tactics.
Mourinho may well have his side come out and look to blow the game wide open due to our poor record of conceding early on in matches.
How aggressive Mauricio Pochettino sets us up will dictate the pace and tempo. A closed formation, such as we saw on our trip to the Emirates, may well stifle Chelsea and see a tighter, slower game. An open one, like we set up in away at Man City, could make for a very fast and high-scoring affair. The one saving grace is that Chelsea will be without top-scorer Diego Costa.
The team will need to play with the same “fantastic mentality and spirit” Mauricio Pochettino talked of after our win over Everton. A rampant Chelsea at the Bridge is no place for the feint-hearted.
Chelsea vs Spurs prediction: Chelsea 2 Spurs 1.