Tottenham head in to Sunday afternoon’s clash with Chelsea on the back of a convincing win over West Ham. They are also in fourth place for the first time since pre-World Cup.
In what has been an up and down season for the Lilywhites. The club is still yet to put three consecutive league wins together. Sunday marks the beginning of a hectic schedule, where they will play five games in just 14 days. Matches in the FA Cup and Champions League are sandwiched in between three Premier League games. There is no doubt that this is the club’s most pivotal moment of the season.
Still potential to be a great season for Tottenham
With Spurs still in three competitions, this could yet end up being a great season for the club. Matches against Sheffield United and AC Milan are to come, meaning we could be talking in a side in the quarter finals of both the FA Cup and Champions League in two weeks. They may even feel they can put in a late title challenge. The feeling they have then will all be dependent on this run of fixtures. The flip side is that come mid March, they could be out of both cup competitions. Still struggling to fight for a place in the top four. This is Tottenham, and things are rarely as simple as they appear.
This run of fixtures starts with Chelsea at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium. Despite having a terrible season by their own standards, Chelsea will go into Sunday’s game with the confidence of knowing how great their record is against Tottenham.
Tottenham’s terrible record against Chelsea
Since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, Chelsea has been the side that Tottenham has found the most difficult to overcome. In fact, they went an incredible 16 years between 1990 and 2006 without recording one league victory against them. Things evened themselves out a bit more throughout the 2010’s. But, once again, in a situation where Spurs has not recorded a league victory over their bitter rivals since a 3-1 win at Wembley in 2018.
In that time, Chelsea has won six of the meetings, and there have been two draws. Included in those six wins are all of the matches at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Incredibly, in the three league meetings between the sides since the stadium was opened in 2019, Tottenham has not scored. As Spurs are Manchester City’s bogey team, Chelsea are definitely Tottenham’s.
Chelsea low on confidence
All of this will give Chelsea some much needed confidence going in to the game. They will have little else to draw on in what has been a real struggle of a season. The Blues sit in 10th place in the league, eleven points behind Sunday’s opponents. They have only managed 23 goals, which is only six more than Harry Kane has on his own. That includes a dismal run of only scoring four times in their last eight league games.
Their latest poor result was the 1-0 home defeat to bottom side Southampton, last weekend. Graham Potter, despite being publicly backed by the owners, will definitely be feeling the pressure after that result. He will have to see this London derby as a huge opportunity to win over the fans that are slowly turning against him. He will find comfort in the fact that he won on his last visit to Tottenham, 1-0 with Brighton in April 2022.
Antonio Conte still absent from the sidelines
With Antonio Conte still recovering from his gallbladder surgery in Italy, Cristian Stellini will once again deputize. His 100% record as caretaker manager is quite remarkable, and a win against Chelsea on Sunday would give him a permanent places in the hearts of Tottenham fans.
Spurs should go into this game full of confidence. They will certainly feel that Chelsea is there for the taking. Despite their poor record against them, this Chelsea side is very different to the one they have struggled against in recent times. With so many new players still bedding in to Stamford Bridge, this has to be seen as a great chance for Spurs to put another dismal run against the Blues to bed.