Revenge is a Dish Best Served Sexy | Spurs-Chelsea Preview
Last season’s sixth highest placed team, Chelsea, come to North London tomorrow lunchtime; the family-run club who gave Andre Villas-Boas the bum’s rush after eight months for the heinous crime of naming Frank Lampard as a substitute. And, much worse than that: daring to say ‘I’m not sure that’s appropriate, John’ when Ol’ Lion Heart asked to do the team-talk.
If anything, AVB’s biggest wrongdoing was his naivety; unaware of how things worked at top organisations like the Chelsea, UNICEF or the United Colours of Benneton. Thankfully, now there’s now a simple adage that the young Portuguese coach (ney, all of us) can remember, should he/we ever be in doubt again. One which, in a stroke of serendipity, came to light at the recent Terry/Ferdinand race trial. Whatever the circumstance, whoever you are: you can’t talk to JT like that.
Of course, all this is just a sideshow. A curious plot-point to the whole sweeping narrative that is our season. While it would be certifiably ace for AVB to get one over on his maniac of a former-chairman and the players who were so evidently resistant to the ideas he was trying put across, the context is a much farther flung net:
“This game is not going to decide the future of both teams in the Premier League – after this game there will be 30 more games to play and both teams will have decisive matches in front of them.
“It counts as three points. It doesn’t win us a trophy.”
Quite so. And to the game.
The most significant threat coming from this Chelsea side is three-fold. Or as they’re often named: Mata, Hazard and Oscar. All this talk of Fernando Torres being rejuvenated his pure hokum- he’s as slow and ponderous as ever. Instead he appears to be the rather fortunate benefactor of a ridiculous midfield trio which could make Fred West look a halfway decent striker. Hell, Borini could score with this lot behind him. No word of lie, Borini.
The key is pressing. One of those words that is often put into sentences when talking about Villas-Boas and his sides. He likes his teams to press. He’s a presser. Pressing is his thing. Juventus and Arsenal notwithstanding, Chelsea have been afforded a pretty generous time of it so far, in that the opposition have all but stepped aside and given them the run of the show. Even Wenger’s lot were quite charitable for large spells. Norwich, in early-October, allowed the Blue’s midfield so much time and space, they could’ve thrown down a yoga mat.
Spurs, in contrast, then, need to be work their 97% nylon, latest-in-performance-technology socks off, and not give Chelsea’s creative talents room for any witch-craftery or hoodoo. The less time they have on the ball, or indeed are without the ball, very much the better (cheers, Captain Obvious). Midfield uber-athletes Sandro, Bale and Dembele have got the lungs for this one; they’re capable remaining tactically disciplined when Chelsea are in possession- pressing, harrying and whatnot- and terrifyingly effective when we’ve got the thing. Particularly this Bale chap they’ve been talking about on the radiogram. One to watch, they say.
A few hours in second place is the prize for a win. Blimey.
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