Chelsea vs Tottenham: Why Sunday's 'special' London derby is a litmus test for both clubs at Stamford Bridge – Sky Sports

  • September 8, 2022


Chelsea host Tottenham in the first big-six clash of the new season; Spurs have a dreadful record at Stamford Bridge having won just one of their last 37 matches there; watch Chelsea vs Spurs live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event from 4pm on Sunday; kick-off 4.30pm

Sunday 14 August 2022 17:20, UK
The first big-six clash of the season takes place on Sunday at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea host Tottenham, live on Sky Sports.
The London derby already feels pivotal in the new season with the game set to give an early indication of where both clubs are at – especially for Spurs.
“I think it’ll be a good test to mark whether they [Tottenham] are really in the contest for the title,” former Spurs defender Pascal Chimbonda told Sky Sports News.
The reason why it is such a huge litmus test for Antonio Conte’s side is due to the club’s dismal record at Stamford Bridge, where Spurs have won just one of their last 37 matches in all competitions, having drawn 12 and lost 24.
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Two of those defeats came under Conte last season as Spurs lost 2-0 in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final and were then beaten again three weeks later by the same scoreline in the Premier League.
“If you compare it to our team, there is no comparison,” Conte said after the first loss in January. “We’ve seen the difference between the two teams. I know the situation, it’s very clear, there is an important gap.”
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But following their convincing 4-1 opening-weekend win over Southampton – and a busy summer of transfer activity married with a full pre-season – the Italian’s tune has dramatically changed.
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In his Friday news conference, Conte said: “For sure on Sunday it will be a difficult game but we want to play this game, I want to play this game and my players want to play this game.
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“This game will be important to make the right evaluation about our improvement.
“I think this game will be very important to us whether we win, lose or draw and then we have to be good to make the right evaluation.
“You can win the game and be lucky or lose the game and be unlucky so we have to make the right evaluation after the game with the performance, with the way we played and to feel our improvement.”
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Conte’s confidence coupled with Spurs’ come-from-behind win over Saints has certainly underlined their potential this season.
Asked if Spurs need to be taken seriously, Roy Keane told Sky Sports: “Yeah, 100 per cent.
“A couple of years ago if you saw Spurs were 1-0 down at home then it’d be tough going, but you just knew they’d come back into it.
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“They’ve got strength in depth, an outstanding manager, there’s momentum at the club, obviously a lot of belief and confidence.
“I think Spurs are set up for a brilliant season.”
Keane’s positivity was echoed by Micah Richards.
“I just think that they’ve got real quality in (Heung-Min) Son, (Harry) Kane and (Dejan) Kulusevski,” he told Sky Sports.
“I think we’ve always been critical of Spurs if Kane or Son get injured, but, looking at their squad now, I think the good thing about Spurs this season is they’ve got that strength in depth with the signings they’ve made.
“I don’t think they will challenge all the way, but I think they’ll have a really good season.”
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Spurs have scored the most Premier League goals in 2022 so far with 51, while only Liverpool (52) and Manchester City (46) have taken more points than Tottenham in this calendar year.
“Spurs could compete with Conte, especially looking at the results they got away at Liverpool and Manchester City last season,” Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports News.
“The Italian is a coach who can quite rightly go up against (Jurgen) Klopp and (Pep) Guardiola and not feel in any way inferior due to the success he’s had abroad and here in the Premier League as well.
“Spurs look a lot better than they did last season and they’ll join Chelsea in trying to close in on the top two.”
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But the same level of optimism does not surround Chelsea, despite an opening-weekend win at Everton – their first at Goodison Park in five years.
The Blues may have signed Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella but boss Thomas Tuchel has cut a frustrated figure at the club’s transfer activity amid a summer of upheaval.
The new Todd Boehly/Clearlake Capital ownership era has led to changes behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge, while the impact of the sanctions imposed on the club at the end of Roman Abramovich’s tenure have been felt beyond the Russian’s exit.
“Maybe I’m doubting them too much, but I feel Chelsea are not quite as smooth,” Gary Neville said on The Gary Neville Podcast on Sunday.
“Since the Abramovich situation it’s been difficult for the manager and the squad – senior players are leaving the club.
“The owner of the club is the most important person at a football club so they’ve had these incidents to deal with. It’s natural to then feel less sure about Chelsea.
“I thought they may run Liverpool and Man City close at the start of last season and it fell away but they had a really good season in the cup competitions. I thought they were outstanding and so unlucky in Real Madrid.
“Chelsea fans will probably be saying, ‘We’ve signed Sterling, we’ve signed Koulibaly and Cucurella’, but it seems a bit pinball-like in that you don’t know where your head will be next.
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“Chelsea aren’t at the level of Manchester City yet, it’s going to take a little time to settle down.
“One thing you need to do in these types of moments – to shut people like me up – is to win. Good players at big clubs need to win – and that keeps everyone quiet.”
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Chelsea boss Tuchel knows his side will have to up their performance against Spurs following their 1-0 win at Goodison Park after the German acknowledged their London rivals have had an “excellent” transfer window.
He said at Friday’s news conference: “I never felt a huge gap in preparing these matches because they are close matches and they are a very competitive and talented squad.
“I know very well what we invested and to what level we played to beat them four times and not concede a goal against this quality of a team in an emotional game. This was a huge effort and big consecutive performances.
“In general, I don’t believe everything Antonio Conte says before and after games like this. I admire him a lot and I believe strongly every team he trains competes for everything no matter what team or club it is.
“They had maybe the opposite last seven months to us. Everything was clear and they had something very clear to fight for and reached Champions League football. Their targets and set-up in the club were clear.
“They took advantage of the situation and had a very aggressive transfer period, an excellent transfer period to strengthen their squad in quality and depth. That’s why it’s one of the toughest opponents because it always with Antonio Conte’s teams and that’s what we’re facing on Sunday.”
A positive result for Tuchel over their burgeoning London rivals would certainly provide a more promising outlook with three weeks left to sign more players.
“A lot of people may be down on Chelsea,” Carragher told Sky Sports News. “But I think a couple of players could still come in to Stamford Bridge before the window closes.
“They could be in a completely different position come the end of August.”
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Sky Sports News reporter Michael Bridge:
“This is going to be a really special game. I know it’s only the second game of the season but it’s always a big game and it’s a big rivalry.
“Of course a few people have written off Chelsea this season. They’ve got plenty to do, while Tottenham are looking strong under Conte.
“It’s just got everything for a Super Sunday we can really look forward to.
“Last season Tottenham lost to Chelsea four times and they weren’t in the game for any of these matches.
“But this is why I’m so excited for this match on Sunday to see how far this club have come at a place where it’s not a good ground for them.”
Watch Chelsea vs Tottenham live on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event from 4pm on Sunday; kick-off 4.30pm.
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