Chelsea Preview: Building Block Or Millstone?

Chelsea arrive at the Lane tonight, cast as champions-elect. They are, to all intents and purposes. No matter what Harry Kane or any other player thinks, the chances of us winning the title this season are pretty much zero. The run of draws in the autumn put paid to that.

Tonight, as much as it is about the rest of the season, is about unfinished business for me. I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that last season’s defeat in May won’t be properly forgotten until we’ve beaten them; avenged it in Marvel comic terms. If we can do that and damage their title charge, it’s called ‘Football Karma’. Taking Arsenal’s place in the top four is an added bonus.

Conte was effusive in his praise for Pochettino. He’ll go on and become one of the great managers, according to the Italian. No doubt Real Madrid or Barcelona will come knocking in the summer. With his ties to the city as a player, it won’t be a surprise if Barcelona turned his head.

The usual speculation about Dele Alli this morning is sure to be followed by some about Harry Kane. Day follows night after all.

Tonight is a match where I expect on the suspended players to return. Vertonghen and Walker strengthen the defence but the crucial battle will be in midfield. Dele Alli and Eriksen must shake off Matic and Kante. If they can do that to free Son – or if the three can interchange and get another player free – we stand a good chance of winning.

The only issue will be the need for goals. Not a problem in recent games but I can’t see this one finishing 1 – 0 so a couple will be needed at the very least. Despite their good defensive record, I can see us pulling this one off and winning 2 – 0.

Well, I can dream, can’t I? And dreams do come true…