Depleted Spurs no match for London rivals Chelsea
London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea will meet in the north of the capital in Sunday's big afternoon Barclays Premier League clash. The duo fared markedly differently in European competition in midweek - Nuno's Spurs squandered a two-goal lead away to Ligue 1 outfit Rennes in the Conference League, whilst Romelu Lukaku's predatory strike was enough to give Thomas Tuchel's men the win over a resolute Zenit St. Petersburg. The hosts are carrying a worryingly high number of injuries, making them underdogs for any sort of result in their own backyard. Read our preview here:
Onward, Cristian soldier?
The ongoing fallout between the Premier League and its constituent clubs in one corner and CONMEBOL and FIFA in another has seen teams take individualistic approaches in regards as to whether to include players returning from international duty last week. Some have effectively been in limbo, especially the Argentinian contingent at Spurs. A suspension for Joseph Tanganga, coupled with fitness doubts over both Eric Dier and Davinson Sánchez could see Cristian Romero fast-tracked into the centre of defence, despite his last action at any level coming nearly a month ago. The ex-Atalanta stopper is highly regarded, but it would be a big ask to expect him to come in and hold his own immediately against the likes of Romelu Lukaku and the runners from attacking midfield. Elsewhere, the absences of Heung-min Son and Steven Bergwijn will bite hard when it comes to breaking down the opposition.
Do Rom, Rom
Tuchel was without the peerless N'Golo Kanté in midweek, but in the best possible sense, he wasn't missed too keenly. There are few other injury concerns, and he has confirmed the French dynamo will be part of the matchday squad at the weekend. Christian Pulisic has had a better time of it in a blue shirt thus far, but is the only first team member who's definitely out. Lukaku has brought with him the kind of form he enjoyed at Inter for two years, and looks to be the missing piece of the jigsaw for Chelsea as they seek to add a serious title challenge to a defence of their Champions League crown. Strength, hold-up play, some quick feet, and a turn of pace when required has made them both more effective in the opposition box and more adept at defending from the front.
Tuch yourself in
The pragmatic style, whether forced on Nuno to a degree or not, has already drawn the ire of fans, and it's one that's unlikely to change when Chelsea come to town. bet365 have odds of 2.62 for an away win to nil.