Tottenham v Chelsea - How much do you want it Chelsea?!

The biggest three games of Chelsea's season far are upon us. It's make or break time for our season and arguably for Carlo Ancelot...

Apr. 17, 2010 - 05781046 date 17 04 2010 Copyright imago Flair between Tottenham s and Chelsea s Players Barclays Premier League Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea 17th April 2010 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK men Football England Premier League 2009 2010 London Action shot Vdig 2010 horizontal premiumd.

The biggest three games of Chelsea's season far are upon us. It's make or break time for our season and arguably for Carlo Ancelotti. After a run of form that not only has been a disappointment but worrying also, it's time for Chelsea to stand up and be counted against a side that under Harry Redknapp is on the verge of putting together their own title push and are a side that has to be taken seriously.

The two sides couldn't come up against each other in the complete opposite form. Spurs are playing well, scoring goals for fun at the moment and are looking for another win against Chelsea at White Hart Lane. Chelsea are struggling, out of form and look just like Carlo said the other day, "Afraid to play our football!".

If you had to predict a result now based on form you would have to be honest and say the best we can hope for is a draw and not to get beat. That's being honest about the way we are playing right now. Tottenham fans and players alike are well aware that this is the right time to playing Chelsea.

There has been plenty of banter on here first of all about Redknapp's comment the other day and then again yesterday after I posted after the Marseille game that Chelsea are underdogs now. I am expecting the banter to continue (so don't let me down, get involved and post a comment down below) right up to kick off.

It has the makings of a classic. A London derby between these two games is never dull and I hope that for once Chelsea finish the game with eleven players on the pitch. It's never easy to lose in the North London at the best of times but of late we have been made to pay and have shot ourselves in the foot.

John Terry has spoken this morning and has made some key comments aimed at the players such as "not wanting it as much as the opposition" and "A time for us to stand up!" I have mentioned yesterday about Didier Drogba's attitude against Marseille and he is one of many players that need to show the time is now!. It's time for Chelsea to show some pride wearing our shirt and there is no better time than at Spurs away!.

It's whether or not in these three days Carlo and JT have managed to gee-up the players and got the message across that we need to start playing our football. The thing is, we have the same players, same tactics, it's just a confidence issue.

Expect Ashley Cole, Mikel, Lampard and Nicolas Anelka to make their returns to the starting line up. Bosingwa (Injured), McEachran (bench), Ramires (bench) and possibly Kalou (bench) will make way. I have to say now that young Josh McEachran showed that he is more than capable at just 17 years of age to play in our side right now with his display against Marseille but I believe with Mikel making a return to the team, Carlo will revert to our main midfield three including EssienLampard. Essien for me, hasn't quite been at it since his return. He needs a big game on Sunday.

Stamford Bridge, Chelsea v Stoke City, Premier League 28/08/2010  Frank Lampard of Chelsea applauds the fans Photo Marc Atkins Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

Never before has the return of one player been the focus of so much of our attention these last few weeks than Frank Lampard's return to the side on Sunday. Thrown straight into the fire expect Lamp's to be slightly rusty but his inclusion in the side and to see him out on that pitch should lift everyone. Chelsea's midfield three will be back to our first choice and will post Spurs problems.

Bosingwa's injury rules him out of the game Sunday and to me it means Ferreira comes in and will do a job for us. I have to say, and it may just be me, but Bosingwa hasn't really been at it either since his return from injury and from a defensive point of view we are more solid with Paulo there. Paulo will look to get up and down our right side as much as Ashley Cole down our left side and will provide us with important width.

JT and Ivanovic have looked abit ropey at times, but that's because they haven't played enough next to each other. With Alex being injured and out for a while, Spurs away will be another chance to improve their understanding. JT will be as vocal and solid as ever and Ivanovic will be his impressive best. You have to say he is one of the best defenders in the league and thank god we have him!.

Stamford Bridge, Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion, Premier League 14/08/2010 Florent Malouda of Chelsea celebrates his 1st goal with Didier Drogba, John Obi, Nicolas Anelka & Ashley Cole of Chelsea Photo Marc Atkins Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

The main focus for me is our front line on Sunday. They haven't been firing at all and the goals have dried up. With players coming back from injury it means we can revert back to our first choice forward line of Malouda, Drogba and Anelka. All three haven't really impressed in recent weeks. Their movement, fluidity and inter play has been lacking. When they don't play well, Chelsea don't play well. We need these three to get back to their best because they will give anyone on their day problems to deal with no matter who they are playing against.

So to confirm, I expect Chelsea to name the following side:
Cech, Ferreira, Cole, Ivanovic, Terry, Mikel, Essien, Lampard, Anelka, Drogba and Malouda.

What about Tottenham?. Trying to be as non-biased as I can bearing in mind the "rivalry" we have and the fact both sides hate each other, I will try and look at what they bring to the table.

Harry Redknapp Manager Tottenham Hotspur 2010/11 Manchester United V Tottenham Hotspur 30/10/10 The Premier League Photo: Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

First of all Harry Redknapp is different class. For me, he is a manager we all want at our club. The wheeler dealer is now being recognised as he should be as a master at managing football clubs and players as individuals. For a start, he more or less had the same players that Ramos bloke had and took them from the foot of the table to finish eighth. The following season they finished fourth and secured a Champions League place and we all know what's happened since. You have to hold your hands up and say the bloke has done well!.

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool , Premier League 28/11/2010 Heurelho Gomes of Tottenham waves to the fans Photo Marc Atkins Fotosports International 07783 913 777 Photo via Newscom

Their keeper Gomes looks to be in good form after a shaky start. He is keeping Carlo Cudicini at bay and playing well. Expect Alan Hutton to come in at right back and do a job down their right hand side looking to get forward. Always up for a "challenge" or two in a game expect Malouda to be given a dig or two during the game. Assou-Ekkotu will play down their left hand side.

I expect William Gallas and Bassong to start the game against Chelsea. There is talk of Dawson returning but it maybe too early for him so expect these two to start. Bassong will look to pick up Drogba and Gallas play the free man behind, looking to mop up any loose balls. We have to be aware of these two from set plays. Both like to come forward and have an eye for a goal.

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool , Premier League 28/11/2010 Luka Modric of Tottenham celebrates scoring the equaliser with Aaron Lennon of Tottenham 1-1  Photo Marc Atkins Fotosports International 07783 913 777 Photo via Newscom

Their midfield is strong with Harry reverting to his tried and trusted 4-4-2 for this one. Van Der Vaart is out but Modric returns so expect Palacios to hold in midfield next to Modric to allow the Croatian to get on the ball and try and dictate the play. Modric for me is very underrated in my opinion. Has an abundance of skill, and eye for a goal and a trick up his sleeve. He will be looking get play the ball into feet and linking up Spurs's play. Mikel needs to be aware and to stop Modric getting forward in space. If Mikel can keep Modric quiet then that's half the job done!.

You have to say right now Tottenham have the most effective wingers in the League from both sides of the pitch. Lennon is an obvious threat to Chelsea and expect a ding-dong with Ashley Cole in this one. Lennon's pace is his major asset. In the past I would say that he always did everything right but lacked the final ball. Just like we had to endure watching Jesper Gronkjaer all those years ago!.

Lennon seems to have begin to put that right this season and his all round threat is now obvious. Whoever gets on top down our left and their right hand side could have a major influence on the outcome on this one. One thing to add to these two is Lennon needs to do a job on Cole going the other way as Ash will look to get forward. If he doesn't and allows Cole time and space to link up with Malouda down the left, Cole could be a big player on Sunday.

Apr. 17, 2010 - 05781040 date 17 04 2010 Copyright imago Tottenham s Gareth Bale Scoring His sides Second Goal Barclays Premier League Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea 17th April 2010 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK men Football England Premier League 2009 2010 London Action shot Vdig 2010 horizontal premiumd.

It's the other side that seems to have all the attention these days. Gareth Bale has been different class ever since Harry has pushed him forward. He had a big big game against us last season at the Lane and let's hope he doesn't again. With Bale you know what you are going to get and that's a threat from all angles. If he gets the ball with time and space to turn and face you he will knock it passed you and run down the line. Anywhere near the box and he will look to cut inside or play an early ball into the box. Paulo Ferriera with Essien supporting him needs to remain solid. There will be a massive role for Essien to play defensively and I hope he can play it perfectly. If Ferreira becomes exposed by Bale then it could be a long long afternoon for our defence.

Up front I would be surprised if he doesn't go with Crouch and Defoe. Defoe is back in the side and scoring goals. The goal poacher who will look to feed off of anything in and around the box including knock downs from Crouch. Ivanovic needs to make sure he doesn't get time and space in or around the box.

Terry needs to do a job on Peter Crouch!. It's no secret Spurs will look to lump a ball at times to Crouch for the likes of Modric, Lennon, Defoe and Bale to feed off of. Normally JT does a good job on Crouch. He will need to make life difficult for him on Sunday. If Crouch has chances to win easy headers or unchallenged headers then we are created our own problems for ourselves. Let's not forget he has a touch on him a la Tore Andre Flo so we need to make sure he doesn't have time and space on the ball to get it wide. If Chelsea can cut out the long ball option, especially from Hutton, then we take Crouch out of the game. Simple!.

There are key players and key battles all over the pitch but just to sum up Chelsea need to do the following to have any chance against Spurs.

Double up on Bale, Essien to support Ferreira.
Stop the long ball up to Crouch and when they do, make life difficult for Crouch in the air.
Mikel on Modric, watch his runs and close him down.
Cole to keep Lennon quiet.
As a team play compact and pressurise Spurs when they have the ball.

Drogba, Anelka and Malouda to get back to how they started the season with their movement.
Cole linking up with Malouda down our left is key, force Lennon into his own half.
Drogba to out muscle Gallas and Bassong to have any chance of winning.
Lampard to break forward making his late run.
Killer passes and to play the right ball at the right time.
Chelsea to play at a high tempo.

Like I said all in all it has the makings of a classic. This is the biggest game of Chelsea's season and the players have no choice heading into the game. They have to give it their all to get our season back on track. Anything else is nothing.

Spurs have no pressure on themselves at all. They are just looking to play their football and win the game.

However and I am biased, it is all about Chelsea and the players on Sunday. The questions will be asked in that dressing room, "Do you want it as much as them?" and it will be a time for each and every one of them to go out and prove they do. If they don't and play like we have in the last few weeks we will get beat and beaten easily by Spurs.

On paper we are far stronger than Spurs. Have more quality in our side overall based on the players I have picked but it is about their mentality, fight and desire. I keep harping on about it, but it really comes down to this on Sunday.

JT and your Chelsea team mates, "DO YOU WANT IT MORE!"

Come on Chelsea!.


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