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How Tottenham Will Line Up Against Chelsea

CARDIFF, WALES - SEPTEMBER 22:  Paulinho of Tottenham celebrates after scoring the winning goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Tottenham Hotspur at Cardiff City Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Cardiff, Wales.  (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images
Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentSeptember 26, 2013

Tottenham Hotspur host Chelsea at White Hart Lane this Saturday, a month after Jose Mourinho gleefully mocked Spurs management for their inability to sign Willian, who joined the Blues. 

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?


RB: Kyle Walker

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: Kyle Walker of Spurs is marshalled by Russell Martin of Norwich City  during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Norwich City at White Hart Lane on September 14, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Do you know which Tottenham player has accumulated the most key passes in the Premier League this season? 

Walker. 

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

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Jan Vertonghen of Tottenham Hotspur hangs on to the shorts of Nicklas Helenius of Aston Villa during the Capital One Cup third round match between Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park on September 24, 2013 in
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

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. 

CARDIFF, WALES - SEPTEMBER 22:  Fraizer Campbell (R) of Cardiff City is aerial as Michael Dawson (L) of Tottenham Hotspur prepares to clear the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Tottenham Hotspur at Cardiff City Stadiu
Michael Steele/Getty Images

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 ExpressVillas-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."

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19:  Danny Rose of Spurs goes past Morten Moldskred of Trosmo during the UEFA Europa League Group K match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Tromso IL at White Hart Lane on September 19, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive
Clive Rose/Getty Images

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

Photo via squawka.com
Photo via squawka.com

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.


DM: Paulinho

He would have to be one of the fittest players in the league. 

CARDIFF, WALES - SEPTEMBER 22: Paulinho of Tottenham celebrates with team mates after scoring the winning goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Cardiff City and Tottenham Hotspur at Cardiff City Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Cardiff, Wa
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

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 AFPRamires 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?

Photo via squawka.com and tottenhamhotspur.com
Photo via squawka.com and tottenhamhotspur.com

Yes, he's dangerous, but it's futile if he doesn't score or register an assist. 


CAM: Christian Eriksen

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19:  Christian Eriksen of Spurs scores their third goal during the UEFA Europa League Group K match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Tromso IL at White Hart Lane on September 19, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/G
Clive Rose/Getty Images

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

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 08:  Gylfi Sigurdsson of Spurs celebrates after scoring his team's second goal whilst Chelsea palyers protest during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on May 8, 2013 in London,
Ian Walton/Getty Images

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.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 25:  Roberto Soldado of Spurs celebrates after scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City at White Hart Lane on August 25, 2013 in London, Eng
Michael Regan/Getty Images

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. 


 

Statistics via WhoScoredFFT Stats ZoneSquawka and Transfermarkt 
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Twitter: @allanjiangLIVE

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