How Tottenham Will Line Up Against Chelsea
After Willian's anonymous outing during Chelsea's loss to Basel—he didn't take a shot or create a goal-scoring opportunity—Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas won't be losing sleep over Willian.
Here is Villas-Boas' likely starting XI against Chelsea.
GK: Hugo Lloris
He was outshone by Cardiff City's David Marshall, who made 11 saves in the defeat to Spurs, but Lloris made one critical interception to deny Fraizer Campbell in a one-on-one situation.
Lloris reads the play exceptionally well and routinely makes last-ditched saves or forces opposing players into errors.
A few years ago, then-Caen forward Youssef El-Arabi was in the same situation as Campbell but instead of taking that extra step, the Moroccan forward dinked the ball over Lloris, who was caught in no man's land.
Can Samuel Eto'o or Fernando Torres overcome a dominant keeper like Lloris?
Hugo Lloris was voted your Player of the Month for August. Question next for the chance to win this signed canvas... pic.twitter.com/fipvfVPoVu— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 17, 2013
RB: Kyle Walker
Do you know which Tottenham player has accumulated the most key passes in the Premier League this season?
He has an advantage in his matchup against Eden Hazard because the Belgian comes into the game with no form (yet to score or get an assist in five league games).
Not to mention, Hazard has spent most of this season tracking back, which is why he averages more tackles per game (2.0) than Ashley Cole (1.8) and Frank Lampard (1.6).
CB: Jan Vertonghen
Caught out of position by Nicklas Helenius, Vertonghen resorted to dacking the Dane, who missed his shot.
On the subject of missing, Samuel Eto'o, a player Vertonghen may end up marking, averages 4.5 shots per league game but hasn't scored in the Premier League.
Fernando Torres averages 0.3 dribbles per game and has a 75 percent chance of losing possession when he attempts a dribble.
If Vertonghen is on his game, Eto'o and Torres won't be scoring.
CB: Michael Dawson
He suffers from long-ball syndrome.
Dawson will be presented with easy chances to offload the ball to a midfielder, but from time to time, he cannot resist attempting a high-risk long ball, which is intercepted 38.6 percent of the time.
Sometimes it's easy to criticise Dawson because he isn't the most athletic, doesn't stand out the most, but he must be doing something right with the club having the best defensive record in the league.
That said, Villas-Boas won't hesitate in giving either Younes Kaboul or Vlad Chiriches an extended run in the starting XI if Dawson loses form.
LB: Danny Rose
The awkward moment when the club's best left-back happens to be a centre-back (Vertonghen).
Kyle Naughton is better at right-back, and Zeki Fryers is unproven.
According to The Express, Villas-Boas revealed that Rose is a probable starter against Chelsea despite an injury cloud hanging over the 23-year-old.
"Danny's injury is not on his ankle, it is on his big toe," Villas-Boas said. "We will reassess him and if he is okay and there is definitely no fracture, he will probably be back for Chelsea."
Not only is Juan Mata lacking match fitness, but his relationship with Jose Mourinho could deteriorate as Iker Casillas will attest to.
Willian was off the pace against Basel, Andre Schurrle has missed every single goalscoring chance afforded to him and Kevin De Bruyne is in and out of the team.
This is an ideal scenario for Rose to reassure Spurs management that he is the best man at left-back.
DM: Mousa Dembele
Dembele's ability to surge into space, dragging opposing players towards him and then offloading possession (completes 92.1 percent of his passes) is so crucial in opening up space for his teammates.
He would have to be one of the fittest players in the league.
One moment, he's stolen possession away from an opposing player, then he's taken a shot on goal a few plays later.
How are the Blues going to stop Paulinho?
According to Chelsea assistant first-team coach Steve Holland via the AFP, Ramires is a "major doubt" to play against Spurs.
John Obi Mikel isn't mobile enough to keep up with Paulinho, and Frank Lampard is an attacking midfielder played in a deep-lying midfield role.
Don't be surprised if Paulinho scores or has a key role in Tottenham scoring.
RAM: Erik Lamela
Here's a good chant to raise Lamela's spirits, via a tweet by @Spursbasic: "Lamela, Woooaah, Lamela, Woooah, he comes from ancient Rome, to take the Welshman's throne!"
What about Andros Townsend?
Yes, he's dangerous, but it's futile if he doesn't score or register an assist.
CAM: Christian Eriksen
Two league games in and he's already tied with Aaron Lennon and Nacer Chadli in key passes per game.
Eriksen possesses great vision, but he's more than just a creator, as Tromso found out.
LAM: Gylfi Sigurdsson
He needs to replicate his star display against Norwich City if he wants to be a starter every week.
The Blues should be weary about fouling because Sigurdsson is a set-piece specialist. In fact, two of his last three goals for Iceland came courtesy of free kicks.
CF: Roberto Soldado
He's lost 21 of 25 aerial duels, which is a concern given he scored four headers in La Liga last season, and he's known for being a handful in the air.
Soldado looks slow, isn't converting his chances from open play (both his league goals have come from penalties) and hasn't played at an elite level.
Should David Luiz start, Soldado will be given chances to score.
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