COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Saturday 28th September 2013
VENUE White Hart Lane






With Spurs on such a good run of form and such a good defensive record so far, they enter the game slight favourites, having home advantage. An unusual state of affairs when you are considering the opponents are Chelsea.

The obvious spotlight will be shone on AVB and Mourinho ... once partners, but since estranged, they are not talking to each other and there will be no love lost between them, perhaps mirroring the feeling between the two clubs for some time now.  With Chelsea having held the upper hand over Spurs in the Premiership years, things are starting to even out a little, with Spurs winning a few and drawing a few, while these results are regarded as losses by the Pensioners fans.  Perhaps, while Chelsea are in transition under the special one, while they try to find a new style.  Don't expect that to be exhibited at White Hart Lane on Saturday though, as the bus might come out, with Mourinho regarding Spurs as a  threat to any title challenge that they might mount.

Perhaps we should be pleased that Mourinho doesn't rate Juan Mata, as he was the one player who did most to earn Chelsea their win here last season and if they don't want him, I am sure he would make a fine addition to our squad.   With the signing of Willian, the manager showed that he wanted to try and prevent Spurs adding to their already strong squad.  It was interesting that the Brazilian striker was getting a lot of stick on the web from Chelsea followers after his performance against Swindon in the League Cup midweek.  But it is too early to be taking about Spurs lording it over Chelsea just yet.

Spurs are not only playing well, but are gaining confidence in their ability to keep playing their game, even if the goals are not coming.  Rather than relying on a lumped ball into the box and hoping for a fortunate bounce, there is a much more measured approach and the passing ability, linked with the possession retention is one which stops the other side getting at us as much as anything else.  But Spurs will have to work hard to ensure that happens against Chelsea.

Without Aaron Lennon up against Ashley Cole, Spurs might try someone different there and it might be a good thing, as Cole was getting the measure of Aaron over the last couple of meetings.  Andros Townsend might not be as experienced, but he possesses the no fear attitude of a young player.  With Eriksen also presenting a different proposition to the more direct running style of Bale, Chelsea might find it harder to stop him unpicking their defence with passes and with Soldado a master at making well times runs, Terry and Cahill might be found out.  With Tottenham's defensive record being so surprisingly good this season, I am certain that Mourinho would love to put a dent in that, but I would think he is more concerned about keeping Spurs out at the other end, so will play a defensive midfield, with maybe one attacking midfielder, who can link with a lone forward.   He will hope the workhorse that is Ramires is fit, as he can link the defence to attack, while Lampost will be there to do his usual job and Mikel will be included to spoil play in the engine room.  However, faced with Dembele, Paulinho and/or Sandro, the work they will have to put in will be prodigious.  Spurs also have Gylfi Sigurdsson on the left, with the Icelander enjoying his new found freedom there.

Cech is not the keeper he was, but will retain his place, with the defence in front of him containing those already mentioned as well as Branislav Ivanovic, who might be freed up to attack if Spurs only have one out and out striker, as this will free some of the Blues back four to come out.  It might play into Tottenham's hands, but it is a dangerous game to play, as is the high line, because Chelsea might find runners from midfield breaking beyond the front man.  The defender, as well as other sin the back four can be dangerous at set-pieces.

With a range of options of who to play as an attacking midfielder, with Mata perhaps playing catch up after Mourinho's snubbing of him early on this season, maybe Andre Schurrle or Eden Hazard might be preferred, although Oscar appears to be the manager's favourite at the moment.  Marko van Ginkel will not be available after suffering a tendon injury in midweek, which rules him out for the rest of the season.

On balance, Spurs should have the more attacking set-up, but they might find the bus hard to shift, so I will go for a draw, but a lot depends on how the team have reacted to the three games in six days at the end of last week and the start of this.  They should be buzzing after three wins, but the prospect of another tough fixture might see them react, but hopefully it will be in a positive way.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    1         Chelsea    1
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Spurs are without Aaron Lennon (foot) and Etienne Capoue (ankle), but both are progressing well from their injuries.  Younes Kaboul has still got a muscle injury and will miss the game, although Danny Rose is hoping to be fit after injuring a toe against Tromso in the Europa League.
Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel will miss the rest of the season after injuring knee ligaments at Swindon Town in the League Cup, while in the same match Ramires sustained a hip injury and is a major doubt for the match on Saturday.

Sky Sports 1 - (live coverage)
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.30 - 23.50 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:40 Sunday]  Also available online.
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 11.00
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Australia (Melbourne)
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BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

Tottenham Hotspur  1 (1)                                                                        Chelsea  1 (0)
Premier League
Saturday 28th September 2013                                                                                                            Kick off 12:45
White Hart Lane
Sigurdsson 19 Terry 65
Townsend (simulation) 43
Eriksen (foul on Oscar) 45+1
Vertonghen (foul on Ramires) 64
Dawson (foul on Torres) 75
Dembele (dissent) 78


Torres (foul on Vertonghen) 51
Ivanovic (dissent) 57


Torres (second yellow foul on Vertonghen) 81

Crowd :   35,857 Weather :  Dry, weak sunshine, warm
Referee :  Mike Dean (Wirral) Assistant Referees :  Mr. J. Collin; Mr. J. Brooks
Fourth Official :  R. East -
Chelsea kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Match time :  90 + 5
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Chelsea : kit
25  Hugo LLORIS

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

19  Mousa DEMBELE     

17  Andros TOWNSEND       (21  Nacer CHADLI 63)
23  Christian ERIKSEN       (14  Lewis HOLTBY 70)

  9  Roberto SOLDADO  (18  Jermain DEFOE 77)

Unused subs: 
24  Brad FRIEDEL

    1  Petr CECH

  2  Branislav IVANOVIC     
  4  David LUIZ
  John TERRY (c) 
  3  Ashley COLE

  8  Frank LAMPARD

11  OSCAR (28  Cesar AZPILICUETA 83)
12  Jon Obi MIKEL (10  Juan MATA 46)
17  Eden HAZARD (14  Andre SCHURRLE 69)

  9  Fernando TORRES                

Unused subs: 
24  Gary CAHILL
  5  Michael ESSIEN
29  Samuel ETO'O

Manager :  Andre Villas-Boas Manager :  Jose Mourinho
Sponsor :   Hewlett Packard Shirt sponsor :  Samsung
Kit Supplier :  Under Armour Kit Supplier :   adidas
Match report

This match was billed as Jose Mourinho v Andre Villas-Boas, but the game is bigger than the two managers and so, it proved, with Fernando Torres stealing the headlines with a headlong jump at Jan Vertonghen and not the ball getting him a red card, as the game went on to end 1-1.

With Tottenham having the best of the first half and the final ten minutes after the Spanish striker had been sent off for his second yellow card, Chelsea were the better team for twenty minutes of the second half in which they scored an tested Tottenham.  Mourinho is using the sending off as an excuse to use smoke and mirrors to deflect any examination of the poor showing his side put in for much of the game.

As it was, Danny Rose did not make the starting eleven and Kyle Naughton continued in his place, while the rest of the Spurs team was as expected.  Chelsea omitted Juan Mata once more and stuck negative players in their midfield to try to break up Tottenham's attacking moves, with Lampost, Mikel and Ramires in there alongside Hazard and Oscar.

In last season's match here, Mata and Hazard ripped Spurs apart and I suppose, because it wasn't something the current manager had thought of, he went with his own line-up.  But it almost back-fired.  Spurs have changed a lot since he last played them and as the preview said, Townsend produced a different sort of threat that Cashley Cole was used to when Lennon played.  Frankly Andros ripped him apart in the first half and the link up with Walker on that flank exposed Chelsea on a number of occasions.  That avenue created a shooting chance for Paulinho, but the Brazilian fired well wide, before a chance from outside the box for Torres at the the end flew high into the crowd.  Jan Vertonghen was in action at both ends of the pitch, getting on the end of a Free-kick from Eriksen with his head, but he could not extend his neck enough to get the ball on target and then, when Chelsea attacked, he was stretching a Go Go Gadget leg to prevent Ramires from getting onto a loose ball in the Tottenham area.

A move that had been trialled against Norwich at home the other week became a template for the opening goal of the game.  Christian Eriksen played a ball into Roberto Soldado and he laid it off into the run made by Gylfi Sigurdsson (a little straighter than against Norwich) and a weak attempt at a challenge form Terry could not stop the Icelander taking the ball past him and then guiding it past Cech's right hand and inside the post to make it 1-0 in the 19th minute.  A good move that opened up Chelsea through the middle, when it looked as though wide right was the most obvious route to goal !!

Spurs then almost produced an action replay of their goal at Cardiff last week, when Townsend got away on the right and played a ball to Soldado,. whose low cross was ready to be put away at the near post by Paulinho, but Ivanovic got there to sky the ball over his own bar just in time to deny the Brazilian a second goal in successive games.  While play moved from end to end, it took another ten minutes for the next Spurs shot on goal, when Eriksen played a ball in front of Kyle Naughton and he deliberately took aim and side-footed a low shot that Cech dived to his right to save.

A lot of Chelsea's attacks were ended with balls played too far ahead of their players or they were offside.  When Ramires was whistled for being offside, he hammered the ball way across the other side of the pitch.  Nothing was said to him and it was a little odd that he didn't get a yellow card all afternoon, seeing as how he was kicking Spurs players for fun as well as issuing abuse to the officials whenever he felt like it.  All the more ironic when the first booking came for Andros Townsend for diving, when Cashley Cole had been kicking him down almost every time he ghosted past the ex-Gooner. 

With the clock approaching the 45 minute mark, Kyle Walker played  back-heel down the right touchline to Townsend, who picked out Paulinho's run into the box and form the right hand channel, he smacked a shot past Cech, but the ball rebounded off the outside of the post and behind.  The half ended in added time with a free-kick coming in and Lloris coming a long way to the edge of his area to punch the ball away and when it was played back in, Terry got his head to it, but he put it well wide.

Only Lamela and Holtby were out at half-time to warm up and it looked like Spurs might make changes, but it was Chelsea, who took off Mikel and replaced him with Mata, who made the change, which turned out to be pivotal to the result of the match.

Within couple of minutes, Torres was freed down the right and he darted between Naughton and Vertonghen, putting a low cross in to the far post looking for Oscar, but the ball was too far ahead of him.  Chelsea were trying to close things down for Spurs, but in their own inimitable way.  Ramires hauled down Dembele (no change there) and then, when Torres wasn't quick enough to out-pace Super Jan, he tapped his ankles as he ran ahead of him.  A yellow card for a typically cynical foul.  When he concentrates on his football, rather than the darker side of the game, Torres can be effective and when he twisted and turned Dawson in the left hand channel of the box, Lloris had to be quick off his line to deny him.   It reminded me of the goal he scored for Liverpool in the same position when he did the same to Daws back then.

The whistle had gone a long time before Juan Mata knocked a cross home and when Ramires broke from midfield, Vertonghen brought him down with a tackle that the Chelsea players said was denying a goal-scoring opportunity some 35 yards form goal, so implying there should be a red card.  Well, other players were coming around to cover and the referee gave Jan a yellow.  More punishment was to come, as Mata floated a ball into the area, Ivanovic grappled Demeble out of the way to allow Terry a free run at it and the delivery was so good, even a player like him couldn't miss with his header.  65 minutes gone and 1-1.

Changes in midfield took place for both sides, with Holtby replacing Eriksen and Shurrle coming on for Hazard, who must have been picking up rheumatoid arthritis from all that rolling around on the wet turf.  Torres was involved again when a perfectly weighted ball put substitute Schurrle in past Walker on the edge of the box, but Lloris had read the situation and was on top of him before he had a chance to think and his shot was smothered.  Dembele picked up a booking for throwing the ball down in disgust at having a free-kick given against him for a foul, when, earlier in the move before Chelsea got the ball, he had been pulled down after he played the ball.  As it was, Lampard's attempt to be Cristiano Ronaldo failed miserably, with his free-kick hitting the legs of the wall.

As it turned out, that was about the last Chelsea attack, well footballing one anyway.  A long high ball was played into the Spurs left side of the defence.  As it bounced up, Torres went for the first one with his fist and the second, he jumped at Vertonghen rather than for the ball.  Jan went down holding his face, but from where I was sitting (a long way away on the other side of the halfway line), it looked like a foul and a booking, which would have been his second.  As usual Terry was Johnny on the spot to remonstrate with the referee, but the card came out as yellow and then followed by a red.  This tended to imply that it wasn't a straight red for an elbow, but a yellow for excessive force in the challenge.  It was a shame that Dean hadn't thought the same about Hazard's reckless challenge on Dembele in the first half that saw his feet leave the floor in a sliding tackle or for Luiz's clattering of Soldado from behind.  Really, Chelsea could have had a few sent off if this game had been refereed by a different official.

This left Spurs with ten minutes to try to fashion a winner and it was no surprise when Mourinho took off Oscar and brought on a defender.  Holtby had a shot blocked, Defoe struck one without sufficient power to beat Cech and Sigurdsson came closest, with a dipping volley after the ball had popped up in front of him 20 yards out.  The ball flew just wide of Cech's right hand post with the keeper beaten.  Substitute Nacer Chadli's shot went wide and that was the final action of a game that contained too many yellow cards for the wrong things and one that showed that AVB is no longer in Mourniho's shadow when it comes to preparing a team, but he still has some way to go (although I hope he never does) in the face he presents to the media, unlike his former boss.

Tony de Wit


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What you thought
Stamford Rivers Mourinho got his analysis of the game right on the footballing matters, but when it comes to behaviour, he is hardly one to talk.

Calling AVB a "kid" who discussed relationships with the media versus his infantile behaviour in Spain when he flicked an opposing coach's ear !!

Criticising Vertonghen for "disgraceful" behaviour, when his players at Porto went in for all nature of "gamesmanship" shall we call it, when they played Celtic in the UEFA Cup final !!

Not even calling out his own players for trying to get "a person from your same job" into trouble, when every time there was a foul, a whole mob of Chelsea players surrounded the ref to attempt to get a card out of him !!  I thought this sort of stuff had been banned by the FA under the 'Respect' campaign ??  It's funny that John  Terry gets caught out for speed when the game is in play, but when it stops he finds another gear to make sure he is right in the referee's face.

Nobody has any respect for Mourinho now and nobody finds what he has to say of any interest outside SW6.  His comments are louche and of no substance.  He is the modern version of Harry Redknapp, as he provides sound-bites for the media, but it was all a novelty when he first came to England.  Now, it is passť and it covers up what his team should be producing on the pitch.

I think I read that if today's match ended in a draw, it would mirror the results at the start to the season when he left Chelsea the first time.  Few tears would be shed if the outcome was the same.  Or maybe he should stay there and then Abramovich would get what he deserves for jumping back into bed with Mourinho.

Stan Chun Who cares what the Chelsea One Who Is Special says ?

Saying Vertonghen is a disgrace for what happened in Torres' sending off, he needs to look at some of the actions of his own team, but we know that won't happen.  Terry's shirt-tugging, Luiz going through the back of players, Lampard's moaning (along with Cole, Terry, Ramires, Torres, Ivanovic, Oscar, Hazard ... not sure that I have missed anyone), Hazard's inability to stay on his feet, Torres' going for the ball with his hand,  Ramires kicking the ball away, when he wasn't kicking Spurs players ... I am sure I don't need to go on.

Parking the blue bus didn't work and any special plans failed to make a difference until he had to relent and bring Mata on to change the game.  If they were to go on and win this match, perhaps he should have more control over his players, as Torres' needless trip on Jan brought a first booking and the second - deserved or not - looked bad.

Dean didn't have a good game, making too many bookings for things which didn't merit them and letting worse go than he booked players for.  He got in the way of Spurs moves on the edge of the Chelsea box not once, but twice.  I am not sure why we keep getting him for our games with Chelsea, having done the last three now.

The fact that Mourinho seems to be re-writing the laws of the game to suit his own team just shows how arrogant the man is and perhaps he is the one who needs a ban to put him in his place.

Benny The Ball Was it just me ... or when I was watching Match of the Day, Reid's whistle went before Torres jumped AT Vertonghen ?? 

With Mourinho, we have heard it all before and seen it all before.  Is it because he is s shot bolt and can't hack it any more ?? 

And where was their £29 million buy from the summer ??  Thoguht that would have wanted to rub our noses in it by playing Willian.  Perhaps it just shows why they bought him.




Other scores during this week :
Aston Villa 3 Manchester City 2 Saturday
Fulham 1 Cardiff City 2 Saturday
Hull City 1 West Ham United 0 Saturday
Manchester United 1 West Bromwich Albion 2 Saturday
Southampton 2 Crystal Palace 0 Saturday
Swansea City 1 Arsenal 2 Saturday
Everton 3 Newcastle United 1 Monday
Stoke City 0 Norwich City 1 Sunday
Sunderland 1 Liverpool 3 Sunday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Arsenal 6 5 0 1 13 7 15 +6
2 Liverpool 6 4 1 1 8 4 13 +4
3 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 6 4 1 1 6 2 13 +4
4 Everton 6 3 3 0 9 5 12 +4
5 Chelsea 6 3 2 1 7 3 11 +4
6 Southampton 6 3 2 1 5 1 11 +4
7 Manchester City 6 3 1 2 14 7 10 +7
8 Hull City 6 3 1 2 6 7 10 -1
9 Aston Villa 6 3 0 3 9 8 9 +1
10 West Bromwich Albion 6 2 2 2 6 5 8 +1
11 Cardiff City 6 2 2 2 6 7 8 -1
12 Manchester United 6 2 1 3 8 8 7 0
13 Swansea City 6 2 1 3 8 9 7 -1
14 Norwich City 6 2 1 3 4 6 7 -2
15 Stoke City 6 2 1 3 3 4 7 -1
16 Newcastle United 6 2 1 3 6 11 7 -5
17 West Ham United 6 1 2 3 4 5 5 -1
18 Fulham 6 1 1 4 4 9 4 -5
19 Crystal Palace 6 1 0 5 4 10 3 -6
20 Sunderland 6 0 1 5 4 14 1 -10


Position before match :  2nd
Position after match :  1st
Position after the weekend :  3rd


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