COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Wednesday 8th May 2013
VENUE Stamford Bridge






Tottenham's visit to Stamford Bridge effectively looks like being the Champions League play off match.  Just like our games against Manchester City in two consecutive seasons, the marathon of a season comes down to the sprint of a single match ... although having  witnessed Tottenham's ability  to win more difficult games, only to lose points to seemingly easier opposition, this may be no means be over after this one.

Spurs visit Chelsea on a patchy run, which has seen a few  points dropped through draws and the team do not look as fluent as they were earlier in the season.  Chelsea are timing their run in to the end of the season well and a late winner against a weak Manchester United side came at about the same point in the match that Gareth Bale had nicked the points against Southampton the day before.

Chelsea have a squad packed with talent and event hose players who were under-performing at the start of the season have been revitalised by Rafa Benitez.  Fernando Torres has hit 20 goals for the season when he was pilloried early in the campaign, while the conversion of David Luiz to midfield from a central defensive position has seen him start to hit the headlines for some of the right reasons (but not all after his involvement in the Rafael sending off on Sunday).

With younger players such as Nathan Ake and Ryan Bertrand added to the older guard of Lumpalard and Terry, the mix of youth and experience has worked well with the new signings, who have given Chelsea a more fluent attacking edge.  The midfielders Oscar, Hazard, Mata and Moses have kept the likes of Marko Marin and Florent Malouda out of the picture.  With Demba Ba being brought in during the January transfer window, he has not been a regular starter, but it shows what depth they have to their squad.

While not usually being defeatist, the chances of winning away at Chelsea are on the slim side of remote, what with our record there.  Although it has improved over the last few years, with a couple of draws, the Pensioners will be up for it and with the ability to mix and match their starting XIs at the moment, amidst the important games they have, there will be a strong line-up, whoever they field.

Ramires is not just a  hard worker in midfield, but gets forward with his leggy runs to support the attack and Azpilicueta also liked to overlap on the right, as Cole does on the other flank.  Added to that the inclusion of Ivanovic, Cahill or Terry will ad a threat at set-piece situations.

With players comfortable on the ball and willing to work hard, Spurs might find it difficult to cope against a side who have the ability to finish moves off, as the got away with a less than energetic display against Southampton on Saturday.  While Tottenham did miss Bale when he was out a few weeks back, they have also missed the dominating presence of Sandro in front of the back four, with his ability to break down opposition moves and start ones of our own.

Defeat in this game might not totally rule out a top four finish, but along with some of our recent results, you feel that it might point to a return to the arduous Europa League competition for the coming season.  With the way the two teams are coming into the match, you would fear for Spurs, but anything less than a defeat would be a bonus and still leave something to play for.

PREDICTION Chelsea    2      Tottenham Hotspur   0
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Tottenham will include Aaron Lennon and Mousa Dembele in the squad to travel to Chelsea for Wednesday's match.  How fit they are to actually feature we don't know, but Jake Livermore is fit again and in the squad, while still out are Sandro (knee), Younes Kaboul (thigh) and William Gallas (calf).


Sky Sports 1 - (live coverage)

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Radio :  
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Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
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Australia (Melbourne)
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Australia (Sydney) 
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South Africa 
SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
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North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean) 
Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

Chelsea  2 (2)     
Premier League
Wednesday 8th May 2013                             
Venue :  Stamford Bridge
Tottenham Hotspur  2 (1)

Kick off  19:45
Oscar 10
Ramires 39
Adebayor 29
Sigurdsson 80
Ramires (kicking ball away) 90+1  


Vertonghen (kicking ball away) 79
Bale (foul on Ramires) 87


Crowd :   41,581 Weather :  Dry, mild
Referee :  Mike Dean (Wirrall) Assistant Referees :   J. Collin, J. Brooks
Fourth Official :  Jon Moss -
Chelsea kicked off and played towards the Matthew Harding Stand in the first half.
Chelsea : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Petr CECH

  Branislav IVANOVIC
24  Gary CAHILL
  3  Ashley COLE

  7  RAMIRES        
  4  David LUIZ

11  Eden HAZARD  (03  Victor MOSES 73)
10  Juan MATA
11  OSCAR    (30  Yossi BENAYOUN 84)

  9  Fernando TORRES

Unused subs: 
26  John TERRY
  8  Frank LAMPARD
57  Nathan AKE
29  Demba BA

  25  Hugo LLORIS

28  Kyle WALKER
20  Michael DAWSON  (c)
  5  Jan VERTONGHEN      

   8  Scott PARKER

  7  Aaron LENNON  (22  Gylfi SIGURDSSON 62  )
23  Lewis HOLTBY  (  2  Lewis HOLTBY 70)
11  Gareth BALE      

10  Emmanuel ADEBAYOR 

Unused subs: 
33  Steven CAULKER
18  Jermain DEFOE

Manager :  Rafael Benitez Manager :   Andre Villas-Boas
Sponsor :   Samsung Shirt sponsor :  Aurasma
Kit Supplier :  adidas Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

A game that saw the two teams in fourth and fifth vying for a Champions League placing and needing a win end up with two goals apiece making it a great game to watch for the neutral, but ended up neutralising Tottenham's chances of obtaining a place at Europe's top table this season.  Results will need to go in Tottenham's favour, but it is the Tottenham way for things not to go our way.

With Mousa Dembele not making the 18, Scott Parker came in for him as one of the two in front of the back four, while AVB preferred to start with Adebayor in the lone striker role instead of Defoe.  Chelsea had Torres back for Ba and Luiz was restored to midfield.

It was a tense atmosphere as Chelsea kicked off and six minutes in, Torres picked out Mata on the edge of the box with a little square ball and his early shot flew just over the top with Lloris not set for the effort. Spurs responded with a weak shot from Tom Huddlestone, who then baulked Hazard as he moved forward in the next Chelsea attack. From the free-kick, Ivanovic could reach it but it went for a corner. The ball came in, Cahill headed across the goal from the near post and Oscar moved off Scott Parker to nod the ball in at the far post unhindered with just ten minutes on the clock.

Lewis Holtby came inside onto his left foot, to hit a low shot that went past Cech's left hand post and the play moved quickly to the other end, where Dawson brought down Torres from behind and could have been booked, but got away with a warning.  But from the free-kick, it was played short and then they got away on their right. Azpilicueta pulled the ball back low towards the edge of the box and Mata fired over the top again.

Spurs could not hold the ball or build any moves, which allowed Chelsea to dictate play. Dawson made a telling interception with his head to put a Hazard pile-driver wide in the 25th minute and Spurs did better with the corner and when it was headed clear by Adebayor, Scott Parker took the ball over Hazard's challenge and Holtby nicked it away from Ramires, leaving three Spurs men rushing at the Chelsea back four. The blue shirts backed off and off, leaving Adebayor going forward and with Lennon running left, Emmanuel curled a shot round Cahill and over Cech into the top left hand corner of the keeper's goal. 26 minutes gone and it was 1-1.  Adebayor had run from 10 yards inside his own half I didn't know he could run that far !!

With just under ten minutes before half-time, Vertonghen played a long diagonal ball to Adebayor, who had got in behind Ashley Cole and the Spurs forward took the ball on the volley, but shinned it over the bar.  It was a good pass and movement, which Spurs had missed in their recent games. Their movement in defending free-kicks was a little more questionable, when a short one was played to Ramires 35 yards out and he fired over with Spurs players not closing him down quickly enough.  However, the Brazilian was not to e denied.  In the 39th minute, Torres came in from the right and played the ball into the box, where Ramires ran in, with no Spurs player tracking his run from midfield, allowing him to take a prodded shot early across Lloris and into the net to restore Chelsea's lead.

It didn't stop Tottenham pushing forward and in the 43rd minute, Walker took a throw-in on the right and the ball was worked back to him by Ade providing Kyle with a chance to shoot left footed a yard wide of Cech's near post. It fell to his wrong foot really.  Chelsea had identified  our left side as an area that they could exploit and Oscar got Azpilicueta in behind BAE, but his cross was over everyone, although Hazard retrieved it and played it square to Oscar, whose 18 yard shot was saved by Hugo, clutching it as he dived to his right. The half finished with a Scott Parker shot from the edge of the box and you can guess what happened there.

With no changes at half-time, Spurs kicked off, but started the second half nervously, conceding an early corner, but they did well to defend it and broke away with Lennon and Walker running it up the field to win a corner of our own, but nothing came of it.  Torres fluffed his kick as Oscar put a ball into the goalmouth and only a good interception by Benny stopped the Spanish striker getting on the end of a cross after Dawson had passed the ball straight to Mata.  Azpilicueta went closer when he curled a cross to the far post from the right wing, but it ended up just going wide of the goal, with Lloris struggling.

Tottenham were getting closed down by Chelsea and were finding it difficult to get the ball out of their own half.  One such situation broke down on halfway, with the ball played across the pitch to Hazard, who checked inside, but put his shot over.  It didn't help that Bale was being swamped every time he got the ball, with some bleated challenges getting there as soon as they could and Lennon looked off the pace and was going for a return pass when he laid it off. However, Adebayor was working hard and blocked a clearance and when Walker got wide, he was fouled by Cole. Tom fired it in hard, but it was cleared away. From the corner, Chelsea broke with Hazard knocking the ball on to Mata, who played it square to Ramires in acres of space in the box, but the Brazilian midfielder slipped over, hitting his head as a consequence.

It was no surprise when Lennon was replaced by Sigurdsson. Spurs won a free kick on the left, when Bale's 50 yard pass saw Benny brought down by Azpilicueta and Tom's free-kick to the far post was put over by Vertonghen's over-head kick, when Holtby was waiting to volley it with his left foot behind him.  Demspey soon come on for the German midfielder, getting a shot on goal that was deflected out for a corner by Ivanovic's block, but from the corner, it ended up with Bale defending against Moses and winning a free kick near his own corner flag.

With Chelsea looking quicker on the break than Spurs, it was a surprise when we equalised.  Tom Huddlestone's passing opened Chelsea up on the left and Assou-Ekotto dinked a ball into Adebayor inside the left side of the area.  Ade's back flick put in Gylfi, who steered his right foot shot beyond Cech and into the bottom left hand corner of the Chelsea net. 2-2 and game on with ten minutes left to play.

As Chelsea tired, their final pass lacked weight and Spurs broke with the ball finding it's way to Bale on the right. He lost it to Ramires, won it back and when the ball came back to him, rasped a shot a yard over from over 25 yards out.   Twice in the last five minutes, Parker got wide on the right and crossed one into Cech's hands and the second just too far ahead of Sigurdsson.  Spurs broke as the game went end to end, with Dempsey trying his luck with a low shot from a narrow angle from the right, but Cech had it covered.

When Bale was brought down by a combination of Ramires and Cole five yards outside the box slightly to the right, it looked a good chance for Spurs to grab a late winner, but when Gareth got up to hit the free kick, he got it on target, but it was comfortable for Cech who caught the ball.

Chelsea had enjoyed more of the possession in the early stages and could have scored more with better final passes, but in the end, it was Tottenham who looked more likely to score, but the game fizzled out into a 2-2 draw.  It was a result that Spurs did not want, as it benefitted Chelsea and Arsenal more than it did us, but there were positives.  One thing Spurs have been good at this season is coming late, through being fit when other teams run out of steam.  Also we are comfortable in possession, knocking the ball around sometimes too much so.  Late in the game, we still believe enough to be playing our own game and not throwing high balls into the box in the hope of something dropping for us.  The things we do need to improve on are retaining possession and not making it easy for the opposition to have the ball and the other is finishing our chances.

Tonight our defensive play was a little loose and two players got away from their markers for the opening Chelsea goal.  But Adebayor showed how effective he can be when he puts in a full shift.  If he does that for the next two games, he might just get a reprieve at Spurs, but then will he repeat the performance next season ?  Once again, AVB's substitutions paid off, with Sigurdsson finishing neatly to level the scores.

With Chelsea having Aston Villa and Everton left to play, with the latter maybe Moyes' last in charge of the club, there may be just a hint of a sliver of a hope they drop a point or two, but being left watching other team's results will not make for a very comfortable afternoon this Saturday or the following Sunday.

Purcell Cole



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What you thought
East Stan In the end, a draw was probably the right result.  We didn't do enough in the first half and Chelsea did too much, meaning we were stronger at the end of the match.

What did give me the hump was Graeme Souness' comments after the match on Sky.  It looks like he has a thing about Spurs, because he didn't make it with the club as a youngster, but he took the opportunity to have a dig at the club and AVB for not being likely to finish fourth and that being the case, why didn't they keep Harry Redknapp (his golfing mate).  Look at where Redknapp is now and look at the difference in the way players respond to AVB.  That's why.

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Other scores during this mid-week :
Manchester City 1 West Bromwich Albion 0 Tuesday
Wigan Athletic 2 Swansea City 3 Tuesday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Manchester United 36 27 4 5 79 37 85 +42
2 Manchester City 36 22 9 5 62 31 75 +31
3 Chelsea 36 20 9 7 71 37 69 +34
4 Arsenal 36 19 10 7 69 36 67 +33
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 36 19 9 8 63 45 66 +18
6 Everton 36 15 15 6 52 38 60 +14
7 Liverpool 36 14 13 9 67 42 55 +25
8 West Bromwich Albion 36 14 6 16 49 49 48 0
9 Swansea City 36 11 13 12 46 46 46 0
10 West Ham United 36 11 10 15 38 46 43 -8
11 Stoke City 36 9 14 13 32 42 41 -10
12 Fulham 36 10 10 16 46 57 40 -11
13 Aston Villa 36 10 10 16 44 65 40 -21
14 Southampton 36 9 12 15 47 58 39 -11
15 Sunderland 36 9 11 16 40 52 38 -12
16 Norwich City 36 8 14 14 34 56 38 -22
17 Newcastle United 36 10 8 18 44 66 38 -23
18 Wigan Athletic 36 9 8 19 44 67 35 -23
19 Reading 36 6 10 20 41 67 28 -26
20 Queens Park Rangers 36 4 13 19 29 57 25 -28


Position before match :  5th
Position after match :  5th 
Position after the weekend :  5th


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