Tottenham Hotspur have chance to lay down marker against Chelsea at Wembley on Sunday and they have to take it!
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Weekend clash with Premier League champions offers Spurs an opportunity to claim statement win they need under the arch
When the Premier League fixtures were announced on June 14, you could have forgiven Tottenham Hotspur supporters for wincing when they saw champions Chelsea were to be the first away team to visit Wembley Stadium.
After Spurs’ well-documented problems at the national arena during the 2016/17 campaign, Mauricio Pochettino’s men would have surely hoped for an easier fixture to start the season at home.
But fast forward two months and the Chelsea clash could be just the type of match Tottenham need.
There is no doubt the Blues are facing problems with boss Antonio Conte airing his frustration recently.
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Chelsea lost their opener at home to Burnley and finished the game with nine men after Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas were sent off.
Both will miss Sunday’s clash at Wembley and the champions are unlikely to start Eden Hazard or Tiemoue Bakayoko as they slowly work their way back from injury, while Diego Costa remains absent.
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It means the Chelsea side which Tottenham will face this weekend will not be as strong as last season even if Alvaro Morata could make his full debut.
Spurs showed in January they can more than match Conte’s team on their day with an excellent performance during a 2-0 victory over the Blues at White Hart Lane.
The challenge for Tottenham now is to replicate that type of display at their new home – Wembley.
It is public knowledge that Spurs have struggled at the national stadium and lost to Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final in April.
Pochettino’s side did impress during the recent 2-0 win over Juventus though, which offered some hope that no Wembley hoodoo will occur this season.
What will firmly put the Wembley talk to bed once and for all is a strong performance and result against a top side at the national arena.
And this weekend Tottenham have the chance to do that and make the Brent venue feel more like home.
Spurs will be facing a wounded animal on Sunday, so cannot underestimate Chelsea by any stretch of the imagination.
But Conte’s team are clearly not as formidable right now as they were last season and if Spurs play to their potential, they should beat the champions.
When the fixtures first came out, this looked a horrible game first up at Wembley, but now it isn’t.
Tottenham have the chance to lay down an early marker to the rest of their title rivals and claim the statement win they require under the arch.
Anything less than three points and the Wembley hoodoo talk will remain regardless of what happens against Burnley on August 27.
Therefore Sunday is massive for Spurs and although there is pressure, this is another opportunity for this team to show they continue to evolve.