Fresh from a pulsating London derby win over Arsenal during their Mind Series opener, Chelsea prepare for their second encounter of the pre-season event against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
The Blues marched to a 2-1 victory in front of a dejected Emirates crowd on Sunday, while Spurs’ most recent pre-season game saw them claim a 3-1 win over MK Dons.
Kick Off Time and Date
Date: Wednesday Aug 4, 2021
Time 7.45pm UK
Despite it only being a pre-season encounter, there was clearly no love lost between Chelsea and Arsenal in Sunday’s Mind Series clash, as both sides demonstrated a competitive edge with tackles flying in and constant attempts to force the opposition into making errors.
Having survived a wave of early Arsenal pressure, Chelsea took advantage of an exposed Gunners backline to strike first through Kai Havertz on the 26-minute mark before Hakim Ziyech inexplicably failed to double his side’s lead with the goal at his mercy in the second half.
The Gunners took advantage of the Moroccan’s mishap to equalise through Granit Xhaka, but Arsenal’s error-strewn performances are not a thing of the past just yet as Hector Bellerin’s misplaced pass allowed Tammy Abraham to slot home the winning goal in the 72nd minute.
Sunday’s game was not without a healthy dose of controversy, though, as Joe Willock’s late effort cannoned off the crossbar and over the line, but Chelsea survived what would have otherwise been a clear goal with no technology assisting Andre Marriner on the day.
Nevertheless, Chelsea secured a confidence-boosting victory for an upbeat Thomas Tuchel who was “very happy” with his side’s showing in North London, and Wednesday’s battle with Spurs represents one final opportunity for pre-season tweaks before next week’s UEFA Super Cup versus Europa League winners Villarreal.
Happenings off the pitch rather than on it may be dominating the talk of Tottenham at present, but Nuno Espirito Santo has at least managed to block out all the outside noise to rack up a respectable set of pre-season results.
The former Wolverhampton Wanderers manager oversaw a disappointing 1-1 draw with Leyton Orient during his first exhibition game, but Spurs have since notched up three goals during wins at Colchester United and MK Dons before the stiffer tests begin.
A fiery North London derby will be in store for Tottenham as they meet Arsenal in their second Mind Series clash on August 8, but Nuno will be looking no further than Stamford Bridge for the time being after leading an open Spurs training session in front of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium crowd.
As a plethora of youngsters seek more opportunities to impress against Premier League opposition, expect an equally tense encounter between two sides who will not view this fixture as a ‘friendly’ despite the billing, especially with Tottenham’s first game of the new season coming against Manchester City.
Last season’s battle between Spurs and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge finished goalless, but a Jorginho penalty propelled Tuchel’s side to victory over their counterparts in North London back in February.
Head to Head
Chelsea Pre-Season Friendlies form:
Tottenham Hotspur Pre-Season Friendlies form:
Chelsea Team News
Chelsea are set to welcome their Euro 2020 final contingent – including Jorginho, Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell – back to their training complex ahead of Wednesday’s game, but the international stars will not be thrown back into action just yet.
The Champions League-winning coach unsurprisingly fielded a healthy blend of youth and experience at the Emirates, with youngsters such as Jake Clarke-Salter, Dujon Sterling and Malang Sarr handed opportunities to impress.
Tuchel may be tempted to stick with a more tried-and-tested setup this week for his side’s final preparation match, and doubts remain over the involvement of full-backs Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Amid persistent links with a move to Manchester City, Tottenham talisman Harry Kane reportedly failed to turn up for pre-season testing on Monday morning and will certainly not be involved on Wednesday if that is the case.
Tottenham Hotspur Team News
However, Spurs have been able to field a potent attack during his absence in pre-season anyway, with Son Heung-min’s new deal providing a slight sense of relief while Kane’s future remains up in the air.
Ryan Sessegnon should recover from a hamstring injury in time to be fit for the opening day of the Premier League season, while Giovani Lo Celso and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg are reported to have returned to training following their international exploits.
Chelsea vs. Spurs – prediction
Chelsea 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Off-the-field events continue to bedevil Tottenham at a time where Nuno simply wants to keep his eyes on the pitch, and while the early signs are positive for Tottenham, their calibre of recent opponents must be factored in.
Chelsea proved against Arsenal that they are not prepared to treat pre-season like a training exercise, and we can envisage Tuchel’s men making it two for two in the Mind Series on home soil.