Ben & Rob's preview - Chelsea
Sat 18 September 2021, 18:00|Tottenham Hotspur
N17 Live presenter Ben Haines and Club Commentator Rob Daly give us their thoughts and insight on Chelsea ahead of Sunday's huge derby in the Premier League at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (4.30pm).
What are the guys expecting from Thomas Tuchel's side on Sunday?
Rob: "Chelsea are playing at an extremely high level right now. Perhaps they weren’t at their flowing best against Zenit midweek, but the game proved to be a perfect example as to why they invested so much in Romelu Lukaku; a striker who can take his one half-chance to win a game. They’re stacked in every department. I don’t think there’s a stronger squad in the Premier League. They also showed how they can dig in when down to 10 men in the draw with Liverpool. It is undeniable - Tuchel is a phenomenal coach. His system and style was implemented within days of taking over. But Spurs shouldn’t be daunted. The win over Manchester City (1-0 on the opening day) proves that."
Ben: "Being completely honest, they look very strong. The difference for me is last season, they didn't have that spearhead, someone to finish off the chances given the amount of territory and fast possession they had when they broke on teams. Playing with wing-backs as well means they create that width and stretch the pitch, plus Kovacic and Jorginho pull the strings. Lukaku is now there to finish the chances, half-chances as well. You saw in the Champions League against Zenit that they weren't particularly good, but Lukaku had one half-chance and scored. We will have to be at it."
Where will the game be won and lost? What are the key areas?
Rob: "Granted it was only a friendly - but in pre-season when the sides met, N’Golo Kante was at his swarming, all-action best. They’ve got such a strong central midfield now with Kovacic, Jorginho and new signing Saul too. Lukaku can’t be ignored - he bullied Arsenal in his first appearance of the season and has been scoring with ease. The major threat I remember from Chelsea’s win at Spurs last season was their overlapping wing-backs and wingers. But let’s be honest - it’s hard to call this because so much depends on who Nuno has available. Lucas Moura and Stevie Bergwijn going off midweek adds even more questions. But a major plus from Rennes was undoubtedly Tanguy Ndombele - a splendid back heel for the opening goal, the link up play with Kane and his ability to the play the ball forward with purpose. I guess his fitness will, in part, determine his use against Chelsea. But for a first appearance of the season, it was an excellent and productive outing."
Ben: "We have to be defensively brilliant and blistering on the counter. Fingers crossed Sonny is fit and defensively, we're in one piece. Injuries... we're so unlucky at the moment. If we can get it together, we can sit deep and counter Chelsea, and if we can do that well, there is no reason we can't have a repeat of what we did to City on the opening day."
Finally, favourite memories and moments against Chelsea...
Ben: "My favourite has to be Aaron Lennon's winner in a 2-1 win (November, 2006), a left-foot volley off the back of Robbie Keane producing some magic out wide. Others... Ledley King's tackle on Arjen Robben in the same game, that was peak Ledley."
Rob: "Some spring to mind - the 4-4 at White Hart Lane with that late Robbie Keane curler, the 5-1 League Cup win in 2002 and the Son solo goal in the 3-1 win in 2018/19. That is my favourite Son goal - even more so than the Burnley one!"