Chelsea vs Tottenham: Spurs must drag the Blues out wide to have any success, and Son Hueng-min can provide that

Son can drag Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta out of place, but if he can't then Spurs are in trouble

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The Independent Online

I am very much looking forward to see Chelsea take on Tottenham at Stamford Bridge. That 2-2 draw in May was the best game I saw in the Premier League last season and if this one is half as good as that we will be in for a treat.

It has been remarkable how good Chelsea have been recently, cantering away from opponents and never giving them a look-in. Their 4-0 win against Manchester United and 5-0 against Everton were two of the top performances of the Premier League season so far. With their 3-4-3 system they can absolutely dominate opponents, taking the ball away from them, never giving it back, getting all over them from the start. Antonio Conte has been playing this way for two months now and no opponent has yet figured it out.

But I do think there could be a way for Spurs to get at Chelsea this Saturday. The vulnerable men in the 3-4-3 are the two wider centre-backs, Cesar Azpilicueta and Gary Cahill, and the way to play against that system is with two strikers.

Spurs need to drag them out into the wider areas and try to get in behind them. Azpilicueta is a natural full-back so would not have too many problems. But Cahill is not a left-back and he does not want to have to go out there. He is the man that Spurs should try to target.

That is why I think Spurs’ most important player could be Son Heung-min. I know he had a difficult night in Monaco on Tuesday but he makes fantastic runs into the channels and has genuine pace. If he run into that left-back area, between Cahill and left wing-back Marcos Alonso, that probably represents Spurs’ best chance.

Of course, it is going to be a very difficult game for Tottenham. They are not looking like the same team they were last year. I think that moving their European games from White Hart Lane to Wembley has hit them, and cost them valuable momentum. But they are also leaky at the back and dreadfully missing Toby Alderweireld. Even with Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Walker coming back in, the Spurs defence will have a difficult time up against Eden Hazard and Diego Costa.

The beauty of Chelsea’s 3-4-3 is that it allows Eden to play closer to Diego without having to do too much defensive work. Eden has been breathtaking recently while Diego looks just as good as he did in his first season at the Bridge. That is a testament to Antonio’s communication skills, telling Diego exactly what he expects from him and how well he is doing.

Chelsea have great strength in depth – with John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Oscar, Willian and Jon Obi Mikel all out of the side at the minute. But for me Diego Costa is the one man they cannot do without. If he is injured then Chelsea could struggle. But if not, they have a very serious shot at the title.

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Pulling Gary Cahill out wide can be Spurs's answer, but if not then Diego Costa can punish them (Getty)

Toure can raise City intensity after Guardiola lifeline

Pep Guardiola must know by now the difference between the Premier League and European football, and if he thinks that Manchester City can play at Burnley like they did at Borussia Monchengladbach then they will be in serious trouble.

I watched Manchester City on Wednesday night against Borussia Monchengladbach and I must say I thought City were very average.

City were playing against clearly inferior opposition. Monchengladbach are in 13th place in the Bundesliga and the reality is that the majority of English fans would not have been familiar with their players.

But in games like that the better team has a responsibility to go out and batter the opposition. That is what makes you a good team. That is what being a good team is all about. But City really struggled to get past Monchengladbach. They could not beat them and they found it difficult to contain them too. It became a very uncomfortable evening for Pep Guardiola’s men.

I know that City played their 3-4-3 formation but I don’t think the formation was the problem. It was more to do with the wrong attitude from the players. They did not bring the right intensity or approach with them. They thought it was going to be easy, which made it harder than it should have been. They got themselves complacent and started to take liberties.

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Toure scored twice on his return to the first team (PA)

Burnley will not allow them to do that at Turf Moor on Saturday lunchtime. They need a totally different mental approach, because Burnley will make that game a real 90 minute fight. They work so hard, they have tremendous energy and they always get the ball forward early. Sam Vokes has been a genuine threat.

This means that City will have to be up for this game, far more than they were in Germany in midweek. But if they have one advantage it is the return of Yaya Toure, who is not part of their Champions League squad.

We saw last Saturday at Selhurst Park how influential Yaya can still be, now that he has got back into shape and rediscovered his zest for the game. Having Yaya back in the team is like having a new £35m signing. He has given City an enormous boost and his experience and quality could be crucial on difficult away games like that.

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Guardiola handed Toure a surprise recall and was rewarded with two goals (Getty)

It was obvious how thrilled his team-mates were to have Yaya back last Saturday, you could see how they celebrated his two goals. I think he can be a regular starter from here, and get back into Pep’s Champions League squad. He could do with helping City to another win on Saturday.

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