COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Sunday 22nd December 2019
PREVIEW Jose Mourinho faces another match against a club that he has formerly managed and you can be sure that Chelsea will be pumped up for this match despite Frank Lampard telling his side to keep calm heads.  There has been a long list of "battles" in this match, along with controversy, so it is unlikely to go off quietly and that is why Sky have chosen it for live TV coverage accounting for the late Sunday kick off time.

Spurs have been bumping along very nicely under the new manager, while Chelsea had started very well under Lampard until their recent run of losses, so they will be looking to get back on track, as Mourinho will be hoping to maintain the Spurs momentum.  With a change in management at Stamford Bridge, Lampard is trying to emulate Tottenham's reliance on younger players. partly due to a transfer ban, but that will be lifted in January, so expect the petroroubles to flow out of SW6 as soon as the window opens, even though they have 27 (twenty-seven) players out on loan.  They had made two signings before the ban kicked in and Pulisic and Kovacic were both players linked with Tottenham, so we will see whether we have missed out or not.

Among the youngsters brought in, Tammy Abraham has continued his goal-scoring honed on loan at Aston Villa last season; Mason Mount has made the England team after a season at Pride Park under Lampard, where he played alongside his Chelsea team-mate Fiyako Tomori and Reece James has a good season at Wigan Athletic last time out.  All have had a lot of games this season and have fitted into the side well although Tomori has had a tougher time than the others, finding Premier League forwards more of a challenge than those in the EFL.  He tends to commit himself in the tackle and is not the quickest on the turn, so strikers are finding themselves able to get away from him.

With Dele's penchant for scoring headed goals against Chelsea, expect Lampard to bring in some taller defenders to win aerial battles, with Rudiger and Zouma in the middle of a back four and he will deploy James and Jorginho in front of the back four to limit space in the hole for the Spurs attacking midfield to operate in.  Kante might be used in a more forward role, as he has been scoring goals since moving up the pitch a little, with Lampard probably realising that players like Pedro and Willian raise their game against Spurs, so one might be in the starting line-up, while the other may be called upon from the bench.

The defence is reasonably settled with Azpilicueta the captain pinning down his position and Emerson on the other side of a back four.  In the attacking midfield, the highly touted Callum Hudson-Odoi is coming back from injury, so he may not start, but Lampard will have him on the bench to be used as an impact substitute.  The youth in their team can make their transition play effective, but then Tottenham are effective in turning defence into attack too.

Spurs have been belying the belief that Mourinho only plays boring football and with the players available to him, the defence is where his work is needed to ensure that the forward play is even more effective.  During his time out of the game, it is obvious that he was analysing teams should be be invited to take over and working out their strengths and weaknesses.  Pochettino's Spurs were free-flowing and attack-minded and so far there has been little indication that has changed, although against Manchester United, the team didn't function as they had prior to that point.  Having had a week without a game, Jose will have had the opportunity to get some of his points over to the players and it will be interesting to see how they approach this game.

We have seen that quick starts help the side and the manager's tactic of getting a few goals in the bag might be the way forward.  Chelsea played a poor game against Bournemouth last week, without much impetus and they will be looking to put that right.  For those reasons and that both teams want to avoid losing, I think it will be a match that sees them clash head-on and a draw will be the outcome.

PREDICTION Tottenham Hotspur    1        Chelsea   1
Spurs welcome back Tanguy Ndombele and Michel Vorm to the squad after injury, but will not be able to select Hugo Lloris (elbow), Ben Davies (ankle) or Erik Lamela (hamstring).
Rueben Loftus-Cheek (calf) and Marco van Ginkel (knee) are Chelsea's only absentees for this match.

Sky Sports Premier League - live coverage
Sky Sports Premier League - Highlights - Sunday 22.30; Monday 00.00, 01.30,10.00 & 12.30
Match of the Day 2  (Highlights)  Sunday  22.30
For coverage in all parts of the world, check
here and here.

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152  (live coverage)
Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
TalkSport (DAB or 2nd89 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/MW)

Internet :
The THFC Official website   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London -  Live commentaries listed down the page.
TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)

Premier League Kick off 16.30
Tottenham Hotspur  0 (0) Chelsea  2 (2)




Willian  11m 38s
Willian (p)  45+03m 10s

Dele  (confrontation with Kovacic)  43
Gazzaniga  (foul on Alonso)  45+3
Sissoko (foul on Willian)  58 
Alderweireld  (handball)  67

Son  (kick out at Rudiger)  62

Zouma  (not retreating 10 yards)  31
Kovacic  (confrontation with Dele)  43
Rudiger (foul on Sanchez)  78   


Crowd :   61,104 Weather :  Mild, dry during the game
Referee :  Anthony Taylor (Manchester) Assistant Referees :  Mr. Gary Beswick, Mr. Adam Nunn
Fourth Official :  Andre Marriner  
Video Assistant Referee :  Paul Tierney Video Assistant Referee Assistant :  Eddie Smart
Chelsea  kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 12 minutes.
Tottenham Hotspur : kit Chelsea : kit
22  Paulo GAZZANIGA     

24  Serge AURIER
  4  Toby ALDERWEIRELD     
  6  Davinson SANCHEZ
  5  Jan VERTONGHEN  (  3  Danny ROSE  74)

15  Eric DIER  (23  Christian ERIKSEN  45)
7  Moussa SISSOKO     

27  Lucas MOURA  (28  Tanguy NDOMBELE  74)
20  DELE Alli     
  7  Heung-Min SON      

10  Harry KANE  (c)

Unused subs: 
  Michel VORM
18  Giovani LO CELSO 
1  Juan FOYTH


  2  Antonio RUDIGER     
15  Kurt ZOUMA
29  Fiyako TOMORI
28  Cesar AZPILICUETA  (c)  (24  Reece JAMES  80)

  7  N'Golo KANTE
17  Mateo KOVACIC
       (  5  JORGINHO  68)
  3  Marcos ALONSO

19  Mason MOUNT
  9  Tammy ABRAHAM  (23  Michy BATSHUAYI  80)
10  WILLIAN    (p)

Unused subs: 
  4  Andreas CHRISTENSEN
22  Christian PULISIC
20  Callum HUDSON-ODOI

Manager :  Jose Mourinho Manager :  Frank Lampard
Sponsor :   AIA Shirt sponsor :  Yokohama Tyres
Kit Supplier :  Nike Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

It wasn't a VARy Happy (pre) Christmas game at the new Stadium today, as a penalty and a sending off given by someone watching TV miles away turned the game against Spurs who ended up with ten men and a 0-2 defeat.  Then some idiots tarnished the good name of Tottenham Hotspur by throwing items at Chelsea players and allegedly racially abusing Antonio Rudiger.

Both decisions went Chelsea's way and only an offside flag prevented them adding a third, when Abraham knocked in a loose ball after Gazzaniga saves Alonso's shot.  Thank goodness that didn't get referred to the man in a TV studio.  Both penalty and red card had an element of Chelsea players looking for them.  Gazzaniga's brain fart in trying to fly-hack the ball away as it came into the penalty area and only making contact with Alonso saw the Chelsea defender make little attempt for the ball and run into the Spurs keeper, with the referee spotting that and giving a Tottenham free-kick.  This was over-turned on review and a penalty in added time in the first half gave Chelsea a 0-2 lead that there was no coming back from the way we were playing.

Son's sending off was another that had to be decided off site rather than the referee, who eventually restarted the game with a throw-in to Spurs, not a free-kick to Chelsea.  It is very hard to know what is going on with VAR a lot of the time, with a blank screen saying "VAR Review" and what it is for, but no explanation of the reasoning for the outcome.  The "VAR Review Complete" announcement for the penalty came when the bal was already placed on the spot and the players were lining up for it to be taken.

The racist abuse that stopped the game and produced three announcements about it interfering with the game and that it won't be tolerated should be easily dealt with.  If the monkey chants and racist songs were coming form the South Stand, TV footage, evidence from stewards and CCTV. should be able to identify the people involved and the club can take the appropriate action against them.  The same goes for those who threw things onto the pitch.  These people don't deserve to represent our club.

The game itself was over after 12 minutes.  Spurs started slowly and got slower.  They got caught out at a short corner routine, when Aurier and Lucas failed to close down Willian, who cut into the box from the Chelsea left wing and curled a shot into the far corner.  Chelsea had set up with a three at the back that could quickly turn into a five, to try and prevent Tottenham breaking on them. They needn't have bothered, as our passing was shocking and the little of the ball we had saw the white shirts closed down and hurried into passing off target.  The Tottenham players were not coming to receive the ball and Chelsea were winning it off our players far too easily. 

It took 17 minutes before we had a series of passes that led to Aurier putting a cross into the box, but it was headed away.  With Chelsea looking to build on their lead, Kovacic played Mount through, but Davinson Sanchez produced the first of a number of very good tackles to prevent any further progress just outside the box.  While they were having more of the chances, they were not troubling Gazzaniga, with most of their shots blocked or off target.  Tottenham's first shot at goal came after 27 minutes, with some decent build-up plat and Sissoko broke into the box on the right to play a low ball back across the area to Kane, who took it first time, but under pressure skied it too high.  Almost straight away after the ref had stopped the game as Abraham got the ball in the face (although he hadn't when Lucas had a clash of heads and went down) Spurs broke forward and Lucas freed Kane on the right wing and his ball went to Son at the far post, but as Azpilicueta came sliding in, he fired his effort way over with the very narrow angle against him.

It is clear that the Chelsea side would do almost anything to prevent them losing, as when Zouma fouled Kane (a booking in its own right), he then stuck a foot out about a yard from the ball to stop Spurs benefiting from a quickly taken free-kick to get a yellow card.  Chelsea's back five made it difficult for Spurs to close them down at the back, as to commit that many players that far forward would have left them light in defence, while Chelsea were faster to every ball and the free week to prepare looked like it had taken its toll on our side.  Sissoko looked full of energy though and when he took the ball forward from the centre circle, he clashed with the Chelsea keeper, who came out to meet him, with both players requiring treatment.  The game got a bit fractious when Dele was baulked by Kovacic after the ball was lost and then they faced up to each other with Rudiger piling in and Kane separating the two original quarrelling players, who were both booked.

With Danny Rose not starting at left back, it was Jan Vertonghen who took on the role of getting a good kicking in that position with Azpilicueta and Mount fouling him in quick succession.  Good player that he might be, Mount isn't resistant to leaving his foot in late and that makes him a prime candidate to become the new Lampard.  Talking of fouls, with the game running into added time, a long through ball was chased by Alonso and with Gazzaniga looking favourite for it, the keeper chose to try and kick the ball away.  I'm not sure if he was just shaping to do this and leave it for a goal-kick, but what happened was that Alonso continued his run to clash with Paulo, turning into him as the impact came.  Taylor gave a free-kick to Spurs and then VAR intervened and handed Willian the opportunity to make it 2-0 from the spot, which he duly took.

Much like Townsend's penalty in the 5-3 2015 Spurs win, it was a pivotal moment in the game, but there was another to come in the second half.  Mourinho made what is becoming his trademark substitution, with Dier going off and Eriksen on, but too often Christian's passing was off with few options to find a white shirt.  Dele did get round the back of the Chelsea defence but his ball across couldn't be taken in by Aurier and when he crossed it back in, it was cleared.  Eriksen than had a shot from just outside the area, but it was blocked by Tomori, with play switching to the other end and Alonso firing in a low shot from the left.  Gazzaniga saved it at his near post, but the ball ran free and Abraham poached a goal from close range, but he had been clearly offside before the save.

Sonny's moment of madness didn't help Tottenham's cause, flicking up a boot into Rudiger's chest after the Chelsea player had made a physical challenge on him.  It probably wasn't as much contact as the Chelsea defender made out, but with cameras everywhere, VAR decided that the Spurs forward should leave the field and the game was well and truly up.  The cameras that spotted the offence should also be able to pick out the mindless  people in the ground who threw a bottle at the keeper and a lighter at Rudiger, as well as those who were responsible for the alleged racist chanting, gestures or songs that the Chelsea defender  is claiming were made at him.  I wasn't too far from the incident and didn't hear or see them, as I could only hear booing, but I wasn't as close as the player and I would hope that if there are any decent Tottenham fans in the area where they came from that they would identify the perpetrator, as we have not had that element in our support and to do that against a team who we claim as anti-Semitic on a number  of occasions is embarrassing to say the very least.  

Other racist incidents have occurred elsewhere this season, but now we have the dubious dishonour of having the first application of the UEFA protocol for racism in the Premier League.

Ironically, we had more going forward when Son had departed, but we were open to Chelsea hitting us on the break, when they outnumbered us on a few occasions.  The lack of consistency shown by Taylor was a bit embarrassing for one of our supposed top officials.  In the first half, he waved away a free-kick for Alonso, who had thrown himself to the floor under challenge by Aurier, but awarded Chelsea free-kicks for similar incidents in the second period, but then when Alonso pulled down Aurier, he reverted to his previous view of things.  Jose tried to change things by replacing Vertonghen and Lucas with Ndombele and Rose, but not a lot changed for us - either with our play or refereeing decisions.  Taylor had already spoken to substitute James about holding Kane in the box as a corner was prepared to be taken, so, when it came in, Aurier was thrown to the floor at the far post without even a look by VAR.  Clear and obvious ?  I think so !

Sanchez, who was one of the few Spurs players having a very good game decided to go it alone with a long run out of defence with the ball that was crudely stopped by  a crude block by Rudiger.  Eriksen's free-kick failed to beat the first man - Jorginho - who headed it away.  VAR got involved again when it wasn't necessary, as Zouma fouled Dele (again) on the left side of the area, when it was clearly outside and didn't need Stockley Park to get a second look at it, but they did and took what seemed like a age to see what I could 20 rows back.  Eriksen hit the free-kick into the wall.  His corner was cleared and to his credit he was the one who got back to nick the ball off a blue shirt in our own box when Chelsea broke away.  While they had numerical advantage in a number of breaks, they failed to punish Spurs, overplaying the ball before coming to halt by a Spurs defender or shooting off targetand apart from those, only a blocked James shot by Toby and a shot from Batshuayi that went wide when he really should have scored were all they had for their superiority.

And superiority they had.  Our first proper shot on target came six minutes into added time at the end of the game, after Ndombele and Dele worked a chance for Harry to shoot, but it came off a defender and popped up comfortably for the keeper.  Eriksen had put a free kick in that bounced up off the wet turf in front of Kepa and he had to take it above his head earlier and that was all we had to show for the 102 minutes they were on the pitch this afternoon.

I'm not sure what the game plan was from Mourinho, but Chelsea's was obvious.  Deny Spurs the space to play in, with Dele and Son nullified by filling the space behind Kane that our midfielders likes to operate in.  Close Spurs down at the back, making the wrong passes under pressure and to get a foot in whether it got the ball or not at any opportunity.  It worked today and the Chelsea side celebrated like they had won the league, but it was not hard to see why they lost four of their last five games.  They had to shore up their back line to stop Tottenham and other teams who play better than Spurs did on the day will pose them more problems than we did.  We failed to test the Blues defence when we did get the ball and that gave them an easy afternoon, especially when we went down to ten and they held onto the ball easily.

One of the only other positives to come out of the game was the minute's applause to mark Martin Peters' passing yesterday.  A player who might have had the vision and ability to make those blind side runs that were his speciality that could have given Chelsea a few worrying moments today. 

We deserved nothing out of the game for our performance and with three games coming up over Christmas and New Year, we need to win them all to maintain a manageable gap with the teams above us.

Baz (Barnet)

Match facts

Chelsea's second goal was their 100th against Spurs in the Premier League.

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How the players did
Paulo Gazzaniga Didn't have much chance with the first goal, but ended up hading Chelsea a penalty when he came flying out with his feet instead of trying to go for the ball with his hands, which would have certainly got him a free-kick if Alonso wanted to run into him.  Other than that I can only recall one other save he had to make, which led to the offside "goal" by Abraham.
Serge Aurier Should have been alert to the short corner that gave Chelsea the lead, but otherwise had a half-decent game, but like most Spurs players gave the ball away too readily.
Toby Alderweireld Solid game from Toby having signed a new deal this week.  Didn't do too much wrong, but but not room to play his long passes or didn't have players in space to receive them.
Davinson Sanchez An outstanding game by Davinson.  Made some excellent tackles and later in the game decided to take the ball out of defence with some good runs.
Jan Vertonghen Jan played well despite being the target for some Chelsea fouls.  Didn't have much opportunity to get forward, but like most of our players had trouble finding a target for passes out of defence.
Eric Dier Looked poor as there were too many times when he had the ball but with nobody to pass to, although there were occasions when he turned the ball back without looking forward.  Did OK in challenges in midfield until Mourinho subbed him at the break for Eriksen.
Moussa Sissoko Powerful in midfield again, with some good runs that troubled the Chelsea defence.  Outnumbered in midfield, it was hard to try and work the ball forward though.
Lucas Moura Pretty ineffectual up front, as the space wasn't there for him to work in.  Worked hard to chase back, but replaced by Ndombele.
Heung-Min Son Not a good day for Sonny, who looks like he is getting a name for being easily wound up.  Didn't enjoy much of the play today with one shot from a tight angle that went over and now will miss the Christmas games.
Dele Alli A game that was lined up as one he might influence proved to be one he wasn't allowed to get into.  Chelsea had worked out how to kill the space he needs and then wound him up to make him less effective.  Dropped deeper and deeper to get the ball.
Harry Kane Was out-muscled by Zouma and it is not the first time Chelsea have used this tactic.  Had two shots - one off and one on target, but swamped by blue shirts every time he got near the ball.
Michel Vorm Unused.
Juan Foyth Unused.
Harry Winks Unused.
Giovani Lo Celso Unused.
Christian Eriksen Half-time sub to make things happen.  it didn't.  Perfect delivery last week for Jan's winning goal, but this week couldn't find a white shirt from the dead-ball situations we had.
Danny Rose Little effect on the game when he came on.
Tanguy Ndombele Used his twists and turns to make space for himself and was involved in our one shot on target.  Suppose you would call that a good substiution.


What you thought
Les Bancroft Well, that was a waste of an afternoon ! With VAR reviewing every decision in Chelsea's favour and Spurs putting in a poxy performance, it wasn't worth the money attending to see us lose 2-0. 

I can't see how someone like Rudiger can go down like he has been kicked by a horse, when Son only flicked out a foot at him.  And how can Alonso get away with diving like that before he won the penalty ?

I thought because we didn't have Martin Atkinson as the ref we might have a chance, but it was the same old Chelsea bias.

- -.



Other scores during this week :
Everton 0 Arsenal 0 Saturday
Aston Villa 1 Southampton 3 Saturday
Bournemouth 0 Burnley 1 Saturday
Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Sheffield United 1 Saturday
Newcastle United 1 Crystal Palace 0 Saturday
Norwich City 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Saturday
Manchester City 3 Leicester City 1 Saturday
Watford 2 Manchester United 0 Sunday



League Table  2019-20
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Liverpool 17 16 1 0 42 14 49 +28
2 Leicester City 18 12 3 3 42 14 39 +27
3 Manchester City 18 12 2 4 50 20 38 +30
4 Frank Lampard's Chelsea 18 10 2 7 33 25 32 +8
5 Sheffield United 18 7 7 4 22 16 28 +6
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers 18 6 9 3 26 22 27 +4
7 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 18 7 5 6 32 26 26 +6
8 Manchester United 18 6 7 5 26 22 25 +4
9 Newcastle United 18 7 4 7 18 24 25 -6
10 Burnley 18 7 3 8 23 29 24 -6
11 Woolwich Wanderers 18 5 8 5 24 27 23 -3
12 Crystal Palace 18 6 5 7 15 20 23 -5
13 Brighton & Hove Albion 18 5 5 8 21 26 20 -5
14 Bournemouth 18 5 4 9 19 25 19 -6
15 West Ham United London 17 5 4 8 22 29 19 -7
16 Everton 18 5 4 9 20 29 19 -9
18 Southampton 18 5 3 10 21 37 18 -16
17 Aston Villa 18 4 3 11 22 31 15 -9
19 Norwich City 18 3 3 12 19 37 12 -18
20 Watford 18 2 6 10 11 32 12 -21

Position before match :  7th
Position after match :  7th
Position after the weekend :  7th

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