29 min Richarlison is very lucky to avoid a yellow card for a cynical trip on James.
27 min: Hojbjerg hits the post! Richarlison was flattened by Fernandez as he crossed the ball to Hojbjerg 22 meters from goal. His low drive took a huge deflection off the onrushing Fofana and spun onto the post. Kepa didn’t move.
26 min Time for a crossword clue, Chelsea fans.
Lots of possession, not many chances (7, 10)
25 min Ziyech’s corner is headed away at the near post by Richarlison. Chelsea keep the ball, with Sterling and Loftus-Cheek combining to beat the unmarked Fernandez in the D. His first shot is blocked by fellow World Cup winner Romero.
24 min Chilwell sprints past Emerson Royal on the left and moves into the area, but Royal recovers well to stretch and put the ball behind for a corner.
20 min Kane, starting to look sharper, curls a tame shot wide of the far post from 25 yards.
20 min “Here’s Dier,” says commentator Martin Tyler. At least I think he said “here is”.
19 min: Chelsea exchange Wesley Fofana replaces Thiago Silva, who sat on the pitch to ensure the game was stopped when Spurs had the ball. We would all do the same.
18 min After very good play by Havertz, Joao Felix whistles a rising drive straight at Forster from the edge of the D.
17 min Thiago tried to run from his injury but it was no good. It looks like a problem with his left knee.
15 minutes Thiago injured himself when he put the ball behind him, or possibly when Harry Kane landed on him and is receiving treatment.
13 min Kane beats Thiago beautifully on the halfway line and finds Davies in space on the left. Spurs’ counterattack loses its way for a few seconds until Kane gets the ball again on the edge of the area. He shuffles away from Thiago, nutmegs James and is about to shoot when the recovering Thiago pokes the ball in behind for a corner.
12 min Possession watch: Spurs 33-67 Chelsea.
12 min Kulusevski leads a dangerous Spurs break and tries to run last man Thiago Silva, who reads Kulusevski’s intent and intercepts. Good defense.
11 min Chelsea have dominated most of their recent matches, certainly between the penalty boxes, and so far this is no exception.
8 min Romero is down holding his face after an elbow from Thiago Silva. He made contact with the collarbone rather than the face, and VAR isn’t interested.
7 min Fernandez, 40 meters from goal, cuts a lovely, slightly angled pass over the top of the Spurs defence. Joao Felix runs off Lenglet, eight meters from goal, but just can’t reach the ball on the stretch.
It wasn’t unlike his goal at West Ham, although there was one big difference: it wasn’t a goal.
6 min See 5 min. Chelsea passes the ball around in the middle third.
5 minutes Plenty of early possession too Chelseawhich suits both sides.
3 min “I think most Spurs fans are down and waiting to see what team turns up today,” said Roy Everitt. “ My fear is that they show Chelsea too much respect and are happy with a draw, when they could probably win comfortably if they are anywhere near as good as they were against City. But we’ll see soon enough. Or you will – I’ll rely on MBM while I wrestle with computer stuff.”
2 min Chelsea have had a major penalty appeal rejected by Stuart Attwell. Sterling shuffled into the area and went over after a clumsy challenge from Skipp. There was a bit of contact, but the VAR decided – rightly so, I think – that it wasn’t a clear and obvious foul.
Sterling is not amused.
1 minute And they are off.
“Death Threats,” says Matt Dony. “Because a bunch of guys playing a game aren’t doing as well as some jerk on the internet would like. It would be funny, if it weren’t so damn disappointing and sad. Video Mark Hudson posted when he got fired from his job in Cardiff was a perfect reminder of the human element in these things. Obviously business decisions and sporting decisions have to be made, and it clearly didn’t work out for him. But seeing his family’s reaction (especially his kids) was sobering.
“There is sometimes a joy and a celebratory reaction to a managerial struggle and sacking, and to an extent that is part of the football theater and the fan experience. But we shouldn’t let that blind us to the reality of a man with a family out of work, who needs move to a completely different part of the country, uproot their kids, start over. And under the elite clubs and managers, it’s not like multi-million dollar deals are being thrown out left, right and centre. We’ve all been shouting at our teams, players and managers. We has everyone yelling at the opposition. But there are real people with real lives involved. It would be nice if everyone could just, I know, grow up a little. Is that too much to ask? (Yes, that’s a rhetorical question…) .
Footballers (and managers) were dehumanized a long time ago, probably before we were born, but it has certainly never been as corrosive as it is now. Even during the tabloid wars of the 1980s, it was much easier for the victims (if that’s the right word) to escape. What interests me about Potter is that, as far as I know, he’s the first high-profile manager to openly talk about it. I’m wondering, and I’m not freaking out here, this could end up being his Chelsea legacy, not unlike Marcus Trescothick who is best remembered for changing attitudes to mental health rather than scoring nearly 6,000 Test runs.
We used to get some pantomime death threats on the MBMs. I can’t remember the last time I got one though, so let’s see what we can conjure up today.
“Warming up prospects for this afternoon’s game,” begins Bill Hargreaves, “looking at the picture of fan paraphernalia for sale in a street stall when – wait a minute – there are two ‘number one fan’ gloves for sale. Surely there can only be one, as they said in ‘Highlander’?” Something for the FA and UEFA to sink their teeth into, I think. On a less important note, has Graham Potter signed a contract with the devil?”
He should have waited for the Spurs job, but that’s another story. I won’t get into that, okay!
Graham Potter speaks
(Tell me about the six changes) Well, it’s a change from the Dortmund game: Raheem comes on for Mudryk. We thought the performance (in Dortmund) was strong, and we hope we can maintain the same performance levels. The Southampton game came two days later so we had to make changes for that.
We have to score goals, it’s simple. Against Dortmund we did everything except that. (Is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back on the bench a nod to that?) Yeah, it’s a nod to that, it’s a nod to his reaction, it’s a nod to how well he’s trained, it’s a nod to his experience, which I think helps. He has pushed himself back into battle.
“Are online threats really defining us in 2023?” wonders Ian Copestake. “The last threat I got was in 2012 and it was over the phone. Much more real. My mum apologized though.”
Dude, you need to check your spam folder. I sent you an important email this morning.
More reading before the match
This is England 23
Team news: six changes for Chelsea
Spurs are unchanged, Chelsea is not. Graham Potter makes six changes to the side that lost at home to Southampton. Reece James, Thiago Silva, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Hakim Ziyech, Raheem Sterling and Kai Havertz replace Cesar Azpilicueta, Benoit Badiashile, Mateo Kovacic, Noni Madueke, Mykhailo Mudryk and David Datro Fofana.
Tottenham Hotspur (5-2-3) Forster; Emerson Royal, Romero, Dier, Lenglet, Davies; Skip, Hojbjerg; Kulusevski, Kane, Richarlison.
Subs: Austin, Tanganga, Sanchez, Pedro Porro, Sarr, Perisic, Danjuma, Lucas, Son.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1) Kepa; James, Thiago, Koulibaly, Chilwell; Loftus-Cheek, Fernandez; Ziyech, Joao Felix, Sterling; Havertz.
Subs: Bettinelli, Badiashile, W Fofana, Gallagher, Mount, Zakaria, Madueke, Mudryk, Aubameyang.
Judge Stuart Attwell.
Hello and welcome to live Spurs v Chelsea in the Premier League. When Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte got a never-ending handshake at Stamford Bridge in August you would have long odds that neither would be in today’s game. And you have even longer odds that one of the teams will finish tenth.
The good news for Graham Potter is that Chelsea have a brilliant recent record against Spurs, with nine wins and three draws in the last 12 games. The bad news for Graham Potter is that Chelsea have a brilliant recent record against Spurs, so the criticism – and probably the death threats, and what’s the catchphrase to sign before a football match – will increase.
Kick off 12.30 p.m.