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Can Spurs bounce back to overcome Chelsea juggernaut?

  • Published at 06:50 pm September 18th, 2021
Chelsea's Romelu Lukaku will go head to head against Tottenham's Harry Kane in Sunday's London derby

The defining feature of the derby is likely to be the titanic clash between Spurs superstar Kane and Chelsea marksman Lukaku

The fifth weekend of English Premier League in the 2021-22 season is set to end with a bang, as Tottenham Hotspur host London rivals Chelsea in the last match at 9:30pm on Sunday.

Spurs will be looking to bounce back after a chastening 3-0 away defeat to Crystal Palace in the previous weekend, which they followed up with a 2-2 draw away at French club Rennes in the Uefa Europa Conference League on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are aiming to continue an unbeaten start in all competitions, as they look to cement themselves as favourites for the Premier League title.

Super strikers

The defining feature of the derby is likely to be the titanic clash between Spurs superstar Harry Kane and Chelsea marksman Romelu Lukaku. 

Kane won the EPL golden boot for the third time last season with 23 goals, while Lukaku finished second highest scorer in the Italian Serie A with 24 goals, five behind the superhuman Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Although both Kane and Lukaku are supreme goal scorers, their styles are markedly different.

Kane, the playmaker

He may be billed as a striker, but England’s Harry Kane is not a classic target man who sits in the penalty box.

At his best, he drops deep and flicks the ball on to pacy runners, such as Heung-min Son or Steven Bergwijn, before waltzing in late to apply the finishing touch.

As a result, it is integral for Spurs to get the ball to Kane as soon as possible, so that he can use his passing range to influence the proceedings.

Kane has been on the periphery of the Spurs team so far this season, and this has led to some turgid performances.

A good performance would also help Kane get the Spurs fans back on his side, with many of them having been disappointed with his attempts to force a move to defending champions Manchester City over the summer transfer window.

Lukaku, the finisher

Belgian striker Lukaku is among the most misunderstood strikers in the world.

Most people that look at his towering frame and gargantuan muscles assume that he needs crosses whipped in so that he can head them in like Chelsea and Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba.

In truth, heading is likely one of the weakest parts of Lukaku’s game.

He is less like Drogba and more like England strikers Michael Owen and Jermain Defoe – speedsters with a clinical finish. 

The classic Lukaku move involves him backing into a defender while asking for the ball to his feet.

When the pass arrives, he uses his strength to roll past his marker before racing towards goal with an explosive burst of speed.

The Chelsea team are also perfectly constructed to cater to Lukaku’s needs, with Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, and Jorginho being the ideal suppliers while N’Golo Kante provides defensive cover.

Who will win?

Derbies are usually quite cagey affairs, and this match is unlikely to be any different.

However, Chelsea go into the game as clear favourites due to their superior defence and midfield.

Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Højbjerg has been a revelation for Spurs over the last season and also had a good tournament at Euro 2020, but he is yet to reach the consistency of Kante and Jorginho.

In defence, Spurs will be without the youthful Japhet Tanganga, who picked up a red card against Palace, and they do not really have much in the way of other options.

Eric Dier will likely start alongside Ben Davies.

On the other hand, Chelsea have no shortage of options at the back, with the pick of the bunch being German colossus Antonio Rudiger.

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