Happy New Year to all the Chelsea fans around the world! 2014 has been a mixed year for the Blues’ army. We failed to win any silverware last year and yet again, had to be contempt with the “Arsenal Trophy” in the league.
But, the start of 2014-15 season has saw this Mourinho side playing the kind of attacking football that has made the opposition fans dwell in jealousy. When an Arsenal fan envies you for your style of play, you know you are playing a beautiful brand of football! It’s just that we are getting positive results too compared to our counterparts!
The arrival of Cesc and Costa means we have been brilliant with our passing and finishing alike which has made this team one of the very best in the Europe. If we can just carry this form in 2015, our Trophy Cabinet won’t be barren for too long either.
So, in our first Premier League game in 2015, Jose Mourinho’s side will have to make a short trip to White Hart Lane to square up against Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspurs, in the hope to maintain at least 3 points gap against our closest rival Manchester City.
Hotspurs have been in a good form as of late with the London side playing a 0-0 draw against Manchester United in their last game. Pochettino might be hoping to at least salvage a point from this fixture as they look to keep their top 4 hopes alive.
On the other hand, Jose Mourinho, after the draw against the Saints, will settle for nothing less than a win. We have surely got an interesting battle on our hands, come Thursday, so let’s take a look at some interesting player battles that may influence the outcome of this game:
BRANISLAV IVANOVIC vs CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN
The main attacking threat for this Mauricio Pochettino’s side, he has been causing all sorts of trouble to the opposition team. The 22-year-old Danish playmaker is arguably the most important player of this Tottenham side.
With 7 goals and an assist so far in all the competition, Eriksen has been leading his side in the goal chart. His style of play includes cutting inside from the wings and very good dribbling skills, something that can cause few troubles to Ivanovic on Friday. Bojan Tadic had a field day against Ivanovic in the first half against Southampton, largely due to Schurrle’s inability to track back and which also means that Willian will have to track back a lot to help the Serbian against the Danish winger. Eriksen is also a world class set-piece taker and has scored some wonderful goals from a dead ball, something we will definitely have to be aware if we concede free kicks in dangerous positions.
In the last game against United, the winger was mostly kept quite by Michael Carrick, which saw the game end in a stale draw. Eriksen is no doubt the primary creative outlet and if we can keep him quiet, we have a very good chance of maintaining a clean sheet at White Hart Lane. Definitely the most important battle to watch out for on Friday.
DIEGO COSTA vs JAN VERTONGHEN
The Spaniard missed the last game against Spurs a month back due to suspension, but he would be more than ready to destroy the Tottenham’s defense this time around.
There is something about this Tottenham side, is it their confused defense or invisible midfield, I can’t really say but, whenever we played against them, our Strikers seem to be performing at their best. If we can remember correctly, it was Torres couple of season back who was going through his usual horrible patch with us. But against AVB’s side the Striker was rejuvenated and almost looked World Class once again before he was wrongly sent off for a foul against Jan Vertonghen. A month ago both Drogba and Remy bagged a goal each at Stamford Bridge and this time its Diego Costa, who will have the opportunity to tear apart Vertonghen and co. and lit White Hart Lane on fire.
Jan Vertonghen, for all his decency, is an error-prone defender who usually makes a mistake every game. If Diego Costa can be at his very best, continuing his brilliant form in the first game of 2015, there isn’t much Vertonghen can do to stop the Spaniard from causing havoc at the pitch. A hat-trick on the cards? It wouldn’t be unwise to bet on it, surely! But, a fun battle to watch out for on Friday.
EDEN HAZARD vs VLAD CHIRICHES
The goal scorer of the last game, Eden Hazard took the initiative against the visiting Spurs side at Stamford Bridge a month back. The Belgian winger destroyed the fullback Vlad Chiriches with his mazy runs and superb play and the 23-year-old would be looking to repeat the same when he graces the pitch tomorrow against the Spurs.
Cesc Fabregas has been racking up all the assists for this Blues side while, Diego Costa has been the destroyer in front of the goal.
Eden Hazard might not have the pretty numbers of Costa and Fabregas to show for, but the Belgian has been the catalyst of the Jose Mourinho’s side.
With his regular “oh so wonderful” moments, the Belgian has been a constant thorn against all the fullbacks of England and Europe alike and it would be a very tough, almost impossible task for Chiriches to stop Hazard on the wings. A little help for Chiriches from midfield or defence maybe? We will see, after all he does score goals rounding off 3 or 4 defenders. Scoring one on one is too mainstream for the Belgian and it’s always an interesting and fun battle to watch Hazard go up against opposition fullbacks!
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt