Analysis

FLIP’s Picks In-Play: Spurs vs Chelsea

Written by Sam Hopkinson

Whisper it, but is there a possibility Tottenham could mount a title challenge this season? Four points off the top and in great form, Spurs ripped West Ham apart last time out. You have to feel that the fitness of Harry Kane is key to any kind of push, regardless of the talented Heung-Min Son or Clinton N’jie. Chelsea arrive at White Hart Lane having finally won a match, albeit a 1-0 against an uninspired visiting Norwich side. Eden Hazard showed promising signs though, and Blues fans will hope that this is the moment their team start to actually compete. Spurs away is one of the worst fixtures they could face at this point, however.

DEFENDER

Kurt Zouma

With the news that John Terry will probably miss this match, Zouma’s responsibilities in defence just increased. The Frenchman is a wonderful defender, fast, strong and good in the air—and like Eric Dier for Tottenham, is an accomplished defensive midfielder too. Terry has a good record against Spurs and will be missed. It’s up to Zouma and Cahill to marshall Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen better than Chelsea managed in this fixture last season. The Blues can’t blame their failings on an ignorance of Kane’s ability this time.

MIDFIELDER

Moussa Dembelé

Although Pochettino played a very strong team against Qarabag in the Europa League, Dembelé was left back in North London with Chelsea in mind. The Belgian is currently in the form of his career and looks a lock in central midfield alongside Eric Dier. Dembelé’s marauding runs haven’t changed, but his passing and creativity have improved beyond all recognition. Even when he was excellent alongside Sandro under Andre Villas-Boas’ management, he wasn’t this good. He scores goals now too. It’s a great shame Dele Alli got himself suspended for this match, but with Dembelé in this kind of form he won’t be missed as much as he might have been.

STRIKER

Harry Kane

The HurriKane is back on a roll, with nine goals in six games. If it hadn’t been for an embarrassing miss against West Ham he’d have ten. Anyone who figured him for a one season wonder is surely being brought around now—and he has previous against Chelsea, so is a good pick for your FLIP teams. Pundits have started to see Kane’s influence as comparable to Gareth Bale’s, but the great news for Spurs is that this side is much more of a team than Bale’s Tottenham.

HONOURABLE MENTION

Diego Costa

Even when things are going right, they’re going wrong for Chelsea this season. Beating Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the Champions League didn’t prevent a spat between Mourinho and his star striker. Despite claims to the contrary, Costa still doesn’t look completely fit—and it’s affecting his game. Apparently everything is ‘kisses and cuddles’ with his manager now, so does that mean he’ll be able to perform at his best again?

About the author

Sam Hopkinson

Sam has attended matches everywhere from Cambodia to Canada, and is a persistent Spurs fan. If he didn’t have football, he’d probably turn to a life of crime just to get that exhilarating fix. Superstitious enough to believe that picking a player for his fantasy team spells doom for the poor sod.