Chelsea hosts Tottenham in this season’s second London Derby between the two, but who should the Blues start given the struggle last time out?
Chelsea welcomes Tottenham Hotspur to the more interesting Battle of the Bridge. The Blues sit two points behind their north London rivals, who are currently top of the league. Jose Mourinho has been beaten by his former student three times already, but he did recently knock Frank Lampard’s Chelsea out of the Carabao Cup. Both teams are in top form and both managers would want to deploy their best players. The winner of this fixture could be at the top of the league by the end of the game week. Here’s who Lampard trusts to take on the league leaders:
Edouard Mendy (No. 16) Goalkeeper, Senegal
Mendy has been phenomenal for Chelsea since he arrived at Stamford Bridge. He has been trusted with the gloves whenever available and rightly so. Mendy would be going up against a Spurs attack that has found ways past the best defenses and he would have to be at the top of his game for Chelsea to get anything out of this game. Mendy can be trusted to give his best though, especially considering he was an Emerson mistake from keeping a clean sheet against Tottenham last time out.
Reece James (No. 24) Right back, England
James has shown that he deserves to be ahead of club captain, Cesar Azpilicueta, in the right back position. James has improved defensively and is still as effective offensively. The Englishman’s stubbornness will be useful in containing the threat of Son Heung-min or Steven Bergwijn. He will need to be focused throughout the game, but if anyone can trouble Spurs’ left flank, it’s James.
Kurt Zouma (No. 15) Centerback, France
Spurs have a physical and tall team. Zouma’s presence will at least help neutralize the threat these attributes would pose, if not give the Blues an advantage. Zouma’s aerial prowess is not the only the only strength he offers though. His technical ability is often overlooked. Zouma has shown that he’s not only capable of defending well, but he’s also capable of keeping clean sheets. Zouma and the other Chelsea centerbacks came under scrutiny last season after the Blues ended the year allowing 54 league goals. Zouma, with the help of Mendy, has shown that he can perform at the highest level and should be the first centerback on the team sheet.
Thiago Silva (No. 6) Centerback, Brazil
Silva has shown that he can still perform at the highest level, even at the age of 36. Many doubted Silva would be able to handle the intensity of the Premier League. There is no doubt about that now. This will be a big test for the Brazilian and the Chelsea defense as a whole. Silva’s football intelligence will be key against a very intelligent Spurs attack.
Ben Chilwell (No. 21) Left back, England
There’s no question as to who starts at left back; Lampard needs his strongest team on the pitch. Chilwell is the best left back at the club, period. He ranks second for key passes per game amongst all Blues players. Chelsea will need some creativity from the wings against a team like Spurs that is going to be compact defensively. Chilwell and Sergio Reguilon will be under the spotlight for obvious reasons, Chilwell would be aware of that.