Chelsea Tottenham is a derby night that packs its own fireworks, but Mauricio Pochettino’s return to his old domain helps light the blue touchpaper.
The Blues’ defeat in N17 last season was our first in nine Premier League meetings (after six wins and two draws in the previous eight), and the only loss in six visits to their new home.
Chelsea’s most recent experience of the Monday Night Football slot brought an impressive 2-0 victory at Fulham, while the Lilywhites beat the same opponents by an identical margin in N17 a fortnight ago.
Mauricio Pochettino might welcome a deja-vu or two against the club he left four years ago. Back in November 2016 his Spurs side had navigated 12 Premier League games without loss until beaten 2-1 – by Antonio Conte’s champions-to-be.
The Argentinean faces tough fixtures before the international break, but he might be happy this one is in north London. The Blues currently rank 13th best in the Premier League on home soil but are the sixth most successful team on the road – the same record as Spurs at their ground.
Misha Mudryk is available again and Armando Broja could make the bench as Mauricio Pochettino returns to his old stomping ground for the first time in four years, and the Blues target a fourth win in five league visits to Tottenham’s latest ground.
Chelsea are again stripped of the services of seven injured players but recent games have provided food for thought, especially options at the back.
Benoit Badiashile’s delayed return began with an assured midweek display and a goal (only the second from a defender this season); Thiago Silva has been rested; and his left-back choice is between in-form players, Levi Colwill or Marc Cucurella.
Poch will hope his forwards, possibly comprise the returning Mudryk and confident Cole Palmer and Raheem Sterling, can harass the Lilywhites into as many errors as Arsenal did in the recent north London derby.
Spurs don’t concede a lot of good chances, so it’s all the more imperative the Blues continue to improve efficiency in front of goal, and cure a vulnerability to simple through-balls.
Goal contributions all competitions 2023/24
5 in total
Opposition scout – Tottenham
The club record start to a Premier League campaign made by Ange Postecoglu is two points shy of Chelsea’s best opening, 2005/06, and one short of the Blues in 2014/15 – both title-winning seasons.
With no Carabao Cup football the Australian had a clear run at this fiercely contested derby. Ivan Perisic, Manor Solomon and Ryan Sessegnon remain sidelined for the league leaders, while Ben Davies is a doubt, so Destiny Ugdogie could be pressed to return at left-back after injury.
The Cockerels maintain a high line backed by the defensive pace of Johnny van de Den, and they have conceded two goals fewer than the Blues. There is a one-touch urgency and physical challenge to their approach as well as a commitment to attack.
Dominance of the ball will hinge on the midfield battle where Yves Bissouma holds for Spurs, Pape Matar Sarr powers box-to-box, and James Maddison helps initiate heavy pressing of defenders.
Postecoglu encourages flexible, rotating forwards. Dejan Kulusevski hugs the right flank and Brennan Johnson or Richarlison, as in his Everton days, primarily roves from the left. With Harry Kane gone, Son Heung-min is Spurs’ main threat just ahead of Maddison, contributing towards nine of their 22 league goals this season.
Last weekend the as-yet unbeaten Cockerels saw off Palace at Selhurst Park 2-1 but, as in the 2-2 with Arsenal, they showed they are not infallible. A mistake by right-back Pedro Porro led to the hosts’ late consolation and a free header from an inswinging corner almost cost them as keeper Guglielmo Vicario stayed on his line.
Chelsea vs Tottenham – the history
On our first visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, just before Christmas 2019, Chelsea became the fourth team to score 100 Premier League goals against the same opponent. (The others being Man United versus Everton, Liverpool against Newcastle United and Arsenal vs Everton.)
It was ‘Jingle bells’ all the way for the traveling fans as topical favourite William netted both goals in a 2-0. A year later the Monday Night Football fixture was settled by a Jorginho penalty, and in September 2021 Thiago Silva, N’Golo Kante and Toni Rudiger made it an aggregate 6-0 in three visits. Last season’s 2-0 to Spurs clipped that run.
Overall, Chelsea have played Tottenham 175 times on all fronts since 1909, winning 77 of them and drawing a further 42. The Lilywhites, beaten 33 times, are our most frequent victims of the Premier League era and only Man United (with 15) have won more times Tottenham than the Blues (14). We have also netted 51 goals against Spurs since 1992, unmatched by any other visitors.
Chelsea – most Premier League wins
2. Aston Villa
4. West Ham
6. Man City
9. C Palace
Derby day again
Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham are the only permanent members of the Premier League from the Metropolis. In matches between the three ever-presents, Chelsea have claimed the most points and points-per-match, greatest number of wins and fewest defeats, most goals for and fewest conceded.
Tottenham’s first-choice strip this season is all-white, with the traditional navy used only when facing white-shorted opponents such as Arsenal. In fact, Premier League rules allow teams to play in same-colour shorts providing the rest of the kits provide ‘sufficient contrast’.
In 1967/68 Chelsea donned a totally royal blue kit – manager Tommy Docherty seeking to emulate the uniformity of Real Madrid’s all-white livery. Blue socks were worn from 1985 to 1992 too.
Twenty-five years ago yesterday, on Guy Fawkes’ Night 1998, Chelsea broke new ground by fielding a full team plus substitutes who all represented their country.
Gianluca Vialli’s 14 internationals, who secured a 1-0 Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup win at Copenhagen, included World Cup winners Marcel Desailly and Frank Leboeuf, as well as Brian Laudrup – the Dane delivering the vital match-winner in his homeland. The defending champions eventually bowed out in the semi-finals.