Chelsea (Away)
Premier League

Sunday 20th September 2009


With one of the games against the top two behind us, following a tired Spurs performance, we travel to Stamford Bridge to face top of the league Chelsea, who have a 100% record so far. 

It is not a happy hunting ground for Spurs, who haven't won there since the days of Lineker and while I would love that run to come to an end today, I think there have been better chances in the past than this one.

Even though Chelsea are under threat of not being able to sign anyone until 2011, their squad bulges with experience and some youthful energy anyway.  The likes of Alex, Belletti, Deco, Ballack, Cech, Lampost, Essien, Ashley Cole, Terry, Drogba and Carvalho are all reaching the veteran stage, so there are plenty of "Pensioners" in the team to go alongside Anelka, Kalou, Malouda, Bosingwa, Mikel, Ivanovic and Sturridge.  The problem they might have will be later in the season when the nights close in and injuries and suspensions start testing the depth of their squad.

There has been a different atmosphere around Chelsea this season with Ancellotti coming in to replace Hiddink, with an impressive winning attitude to the side, who might not be ripping up the goal-scoring charts, but are efficiently winning matches.  The bluster from the Mourinho days and the chaos of the Scolari days seem to have been swept away and the Italian appears to be turning the Blues into a ruthless side.  There is a determination to keep going in games, with the last minute of injury time goal against Stoke being a good example of how they are playing until the very end of matches.  The pairing of Anelka and Drogba has matched strength and speed, so our mix and match centre-halves will have a tough afternoon, but the importance of Wilson Palacios might become paramount with the midfield battle needing him to be at his best.

It is possible that there may be some joy up front for Spurs, but Robbie Keane needs to be effective in his play, with the match against United seeing him get marginalised for periods of the game, thus the team lost the impact of Modric's play and maybe, Harry might opt for Defoe and Pavlyuchenko, with Kranjcar behind them on the left.  Chelsea's full backs like to overlap and get into the opposition's box, so there will be a certain amount of thinking going into tying them up to stop them progressing upfield.  Defoe's battle with Terry is one which pits a big man against a little 'un, but Jermain is on fire and his pace might trouble the England captain if he gets the chance to turn him. 

The one key area Spurs must improve on from last week is getting Aaron Lennon into the game.  Evra had done his homework on the winger and Ashley Cole often has a torrid time when he comes up against Lennon, so the play must be to get the ball in front of Aaron and have some support from behind to give the defender a doubt about who he should go with.  That was the idea of Hutton coming on against Man U, but by doubling up on Lennon, they effectively shut him out of the game.  But this should leave space for others and with Jenas in midfield, he might be one to come through from midfield to get ahead of the strikers.

For Spurs, it will be a chance to see how they bounce back from defeat at home to Manchester United.  They need to show that they can contest the top spots with the big four and with such a poor record against them over the years, they need to start turning that around soon.  It might be that the way they will might play into Chelsea's hands, with their high tempo, pressing game suited to the home side's tactics of knocking the ball in triangles around the opposition, but it has brought Tottenham success so far this season and might be tested to the full on the day.

A tough ask for a win, but I think Chelsea will be a little better on the day and take the game ...

PREDICTION : -  Chelsea  2    Tottenham Hotspur   1

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.


CHELSEA :  -  Joe Cole (out - knee); Paulo Ferreira (out - knee); Yuri Zhirkov (out - knee); Alex (doubtful - groin); Deco (doubtful - calf); 

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -   Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Michael Dawson (out - Achilles); Gareth Bale (doubtful - knee); Ledley King (hopeful - groin); Luka Modric (out - broken leg); - (-); 


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Chelsea   3   Tottenham Hotspur    0      (Half-time score : 1-0)

Premier League
Venue : -  Stamford Bridge
Sunday 20th September 2009
Kick Off :  4.00 p.m.
Crowd :   41,623
Referee :  Howard Webb (South Yorkshire)
Weather :  -  Warm, mild
Teams : - 
Chelsea :

  1  Cech

  3  A. Cole
17  Bosingwa
26  Terry (c)
  6  Carvalho

  5  Essien
13  Ballack (12  Mikel 62)
  8  Lampard

15  Malouda
11  Drogba  (29  Kalou 82)
39  Anelka  (45 Borini 89)

Unused subs: 
40  Hilario
  2  Ivanovic
35  Belletti
41  Hutchinson

Tottenham Hotspur :

23  Cudicini

22  Corluka
19  Bassong      (21  Kranjcar 82)
26  King (  2  Hutton 48)
32  Assou-Ekotto

12  Palacios
  6  Huddlestone
  8  Jenas     

  7  Lennon
10  Keane (c)
  Defoe (15  Crouch 67)

Unused subs: 
  1  Gomes
16  Naughton
  5  Bentley
17  dos Santos

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of



Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  

A. Cole 32
Ballack 58
Drogba 63

Tottenham Hotspur


Cards : -  




Tottenham Hotspur 

Bassong (foul) 66
Jenas (foul) 90+3   


Match Report : -  

There was little succour for Spurs after losing 0-3 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon to Chelsea.  Perhaps the Chelsea fans expect to win this fixture after nearly 27 years without a defeat, with referee Howard Webb denying Tottenham a way back into the game when Robbie Keane was knocked over by Ricardo Carvalho, it is hardly surprising that the run continues.

Not that Webb was at fault only for the Spurs penalty that wasn't, but he failed to spot a blatant arm thrown up towards the ball by Benoit Assou-Ekotto inside the box, when Lampost hit a free-kick at goal. 

Harry Redknapp had set Tottenham up in a 4-3-3 formation to match Chelsea and for the opening fifteen minutes, it certainly seemed to do the trick.  The team moved the ball well and the movement confounded Chelsea, who were not perhaps expecting to be given the run-around on their own ground.  Sebastien Bassong had to cut out a low ball into the danger area from Bosingwa at the beginning of the game, but Defoe was almost put through on the edge of the box, but Palacios' deft pass was not read and the striker was running in the opposite direction when it arrived.  Bosingwa was exploiting a bit of space on the right wing and he opted to smash a shot rather than cross the ball and it almost beat Cudicini, who might have had it covered, but it rebounded off the bar and out.

But Tottenham were not to be out-done and when Palacios did finally find Defoe in the 10th minute, he was clean through on Cech, but the keeper spread himself and blocked Jermain's shot with his legs.  The keeper did even better, even though he might not known much about it a couple of minutes later.  Lennon went on a run on the right and pushed the ball across the face of the box, leaving Tom Huddlestone to strike the ball first time and it was only the speed at which he had to take the shot that prevented him putting it just to the side of the goalie, who managed to fumble the ball away to safety.

Another couple of minutes and another chance, with Jenas being set up by Lennon, who had pinched possession as Chelsea dithered, but the midfielder's shot was struck fiercely, although a little off target and it fizzed past the post.

Chances such as these win games and when one came Chelsea's way, they took it.  Corluka had already had to intervene a couple of times to prevent Anelka and Ballack getting on the end of crosses fro the right wing, but this time, he had got sucked in and was not aware of Ashley Cole coming in behind him to stoop to head past Cudicini.  It was not all Corluka's fault, as the cross was not shut down and Drogba was allowed too much time with the ball.

The first of a number of debatable decisions was not given Tottenham's way in the 34th minute, when Carvalho took Defoe out on the edge of the box, but Webb waved play on.  It was a common theme through this game, that he seemed to want to let foul tackles go and the only occasion he brought one back, was when Chelsea were through and they were not best pleased with his delayed whistle.  When Lennon broke from halfway eight minutes before the break, Essien produced a well-timed challenge to rob him of the ball.

Being a goal down at the break was not enough bad news for Spurs and two minutes into the second half, Ledley King turned to chase a ball back towards his own goal and fell to the ground heavily, holding the back of his leg.  A hamstring pull ended his participation and Hutton came on at right back, with Corluka moving inside.  With Ledley having had a good game up until then, it was hard to see how Spurs might hold out now.  It might have happened had Webb not been listless in his decision making.  Neither did he give a penalty nor a simulation against Keane, so what exactly happened ?  Nothing according to the match official.

Three minutes later, it didn't matter, as Chelsea broke on the right wing, Anelka crossed for Drogba to shoot and although Carlo got down to the ball, it squirmed wide, where Lampost pulled it back for Ballack to tap in from close range.  There were TV claims that Lampost was offside, but was played on by Assou-Ekotto wide on the left of our defence.  So, why is it that if an attacker is wide of the goal and not interfering with play, a defender in a similar position can be construed as playing a forward onside ?  He is hardly active out there is he ?

Still, it didn't matter by this point, as Webb wasn't going to give Tottenham anything other than a couple of yellow cards and it was just a question of how many.  In the 62nd minute it was 3-0, as Corluka got back at Drogba, who was onto a through ball, but his tackle took the ball onto the striker's leg and it then went past Cudicini and left the Ivory Coast striker with a tap into an empty net.  So, not only the referee and the injuries, but the luck against us as well.

Crouch was brought on to try and get Spurs back into the game, with Defoe taken off.  He immediately headed down for Wilson Palacios to try a difficult flying volley, which went just wide of the goal.  As it was, a save from Cudicini 17 minutes form time kept the score down, as John Obi Mikel's shot escaped his first save and looked as though it was going over the line, but the Italian keeper got back to knock it away with one hand and out with the other for a corner.

As Anelka and Bassong chased a through ball, the Spurs defender fell awkwardly and hit his head.  He seemed out cold, but raised his head, only for it to flop back to the ground.,  After a good few minutes treatment and a neck brace being applied, he was carried off and the centre-back curse struck again.  Kranjcar came on and Hud moved alongside Corluka in a really makeshift back four. 

As the game petered out towards the end, the Spurs keeper made saves form Mikel and Kalou, before Tottenham had the ball in the back of the Chelsea net with a minute left, but as Lennon played Crouch through to side-step Cech and slot home, the linesman's flag was raised for offside.  The sheer fact that he was offside should not blind us to the fact that the flag would  probably have gone up even if he hadn't been beyond the last man.

So, two games against the top two sides and two defeats with three goals conceded each time. 

So what have we learned ?

There is still along way tog o to catch the top sides and that there is still a long way to go before we start getting decisions from officials the way the top sides do.  We need to take the chances when they some and need to be strong to stand up to the strength the top sides show.  Maybe it is not that far away, but with injuries hitting in an area where we already are hit, the true strength of the squad might be put to the test in the run of games against teams who are knocking around the middle/bottom half of the table.

paul ellingham




Fan Reaction : -



Read Wyart Lane's reaction to the events at the Times Online Fanzine Fanzone.





Other League scores this weekend :
Arsenal 4

Wigan Athletic

0 Saturday
Aston Villa 2 Portsmouth 0 Saturday
Bolton Wanderers 1 Stoke City 1 Saturday
Burnley 3 Sunderland 1 Saturday
Hull City 0 Birmingham City 1 Saturday
West Ham United 2 Liverpool 3 Saturday
Everton 3 Blackburn Rovers 0 Sunday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Fulham 1 Sunday
Manchester United 4 Manchester City 3 Sunday



League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 6 6 0 0 15 3 18 +12
2 Manchester United 6 5 0 1 15 6 15 +9
3 Liverpool 6 4 0 2 16 9 12 +7
4 Manchester City 5 4 0 1 11 6 12 +5
5 Aston Villa 5 4 0 1 8 3 12 +5
6 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 6 4 0 2 12 10 12 +2
7 Arsenal 5 3 0 2 17 8 9 +9
8 Sunderland 6 3 0 3 9 9 9 0
9 Burnley 5 3 0 2 5 7 9 -2
10 Stoke City 6 2 2 2 5 7 8 -2
11 Birmingham City 6 2 1 3 3 4 7 -1
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers 6 2 1 3 5 8 7 -3
13 Fulham 4 2 0 2 4 5 6 -1
14 Everton 5 2 0 3 7 10 6 -3
15 Wigan Athletic 6 2 0 4 4 12 6 -8
16 West Ham United 5 1 1 3 5 6 4 -1
17 Blackburn Rovers 5 1 1 3 4 8 4 -4
18 Bolton Wanderers 5 1 1 3 6 8 4 -2
19 Hull City 6 1 1 4 5 13 4 -8
20 Portsmouth 6 0 0 6 3 12 0 -9


Position before the match :  4th
Position after the match : 
Position after the weekend :

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