On FPL FYI this week… Rambo and James are joined by Sam Bonfield from FPL Family. They discuss Spurs v Chelsea and which of the two has the better ...

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  • 2019-12-20 22:15:07 2 months ago
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On FPL FYI this week… Rambo and James are joined by Sam Bonfield from FPL Family. They discuss Spurs v Chelsea and which of the two has the better ...

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FPL FYI GW18 | Spurs v Chelsea

Combined XI: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea

Jose Mourinho welcomes his former club Chelsea to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the final Premier League match before Christmas as Spurs host the Blues in a festive London derby.

Tottenham have won four of their five Premier League outings since Mourinho took over from Mauricio Pochettino and would move level on points with their visitors if they chalk up another victory this weekend.

The hosts will be favourites to do just that too considering Chelsea have lost four of their last five league games to allow the chasing pack to close the deficit in the top-four race.

Here, Sports Mole selects its strongest combined XI from both squads, using only players available for this match.



Combined XI: TOT vs. CHE

With first-choice Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris still sidelined by an elbow injury, it is a fairly easy decision to give the gloves to Kepa Arrizabalaga ahead of Paulo Gazzaniga in this team. The world's most expensive keeper has not always been afforded the best protection by his defence this season, though, with Chelsea conceding one more goal than Spurs going into this match.

It is perhaps not a surprise that Spurs provide the bulk of the back line, then, with Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez in the middle and Jan Vertonghen at left-back, where he has shone under Mourinho so far.

The match comes too soon for Antonio Rudiger to have worked his way into this team given that he has only just returned from a long-term injury, while Kurt Zouma and fitness doubt Fikayo Tomori also miss out, but there is a Chelsea representative in the form of Cesar Azpilicueta, who beats Serge Aurier to a place at right-back.

Chelsea provide both holding midfielders in N'Golo Kante and Jorginho, with Mateo Kovacic coming close to being selected too following a spell of good form. Tanguy Ndombele is an injury doubt for Spurs and is yet to enjoy a prolonged period of his best form since his summer move, while the likes of Harry Winks, Eric Dier and Moussa Sissoko have not had quite the impact of their Chelsea counterparts on games this term.

One Spurs player who is having a growing influence is Dele Alli, who seems to have benefitted more than most from Mourinho's appointment. The England international has scored four goals in Mourinho's six games at the helm so far, earning the number 10 role ahead of Mason Mount and teammate Christian Eriksen.

Indeed, it is a Tottenham-heavy front line, with the effervescent Son Heung-min selected ahead of Willian and Harry Kane predictably leading the line, although the Spurs striker did face serious competition from Tammy Abraham, who has outscored his compatriot in the Premier League so far this season.

Christian Pulisic does make the cut, though, having worked his way into Frank Lampard's first team on a regular basis now. The 21-year-old American's pace and dribbling is always likely to cause defences problems, and with five goals to his name only Abraham has netted more than him for Chelsea this term.

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Arsenal confirm Mikel Arteta as new head coach

Arsenal have announced the appointment of former Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta as their new head coach.

The 37-year-old Spaniard, a former Gunners captain, has agreed a three-and-a-half-year contract to succeed Unai Emery, who was sacked last month.

After agreeing to take his first step into management, Arteta told the Arsenal website: “This is a huge honour. Arsenal is one of the biggest clubs in the world.

“We need to be competing for the top trophies in the game and that’s been made very clear to me in my discussions with Stan and Josh Kroenke (owner and club director, respectively) and the senior people from the club.

“We all know there is a lot of work to be done to achieve that but I am confident we’ll do it.

“I’m realistic enough to know it won’t happen overnight but the current squad has plenty of talent and there is a great pipeline of young players coming through from the academy.”

Mikel Arteta played over 100 times for Arsenal
Mikel Arteta played over 100 times for Arsenal (Nick Potts/PA)

Arteta played more than 100 times for Arsenal – his final club before retiring. He joined City’s coaching staff in 2016 and will now embark on his first managerial post at his old club.

Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to City increased the need for the Gunners to end the uncertainty over the manager’s position, leaving the club as close to the relegation zone as they are to the top four.

Interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg replaced Emery but has won just one of his four Premier League games at the helm, while the club are on a run of only one win from their last 12 fixtures.

When Arteta’s old side City beat Arsenal at the weekend, the former Everton midfielder was in the dugout alongside Guardiola.

Talks started afterwards with Arsenal managing director Vinai Venkatesham pictured outside Arteta’s house in the early hours of Monday morning.

Head coach of The Arsenal 👔 pic.twitter.com/lhsAfQ7cfq

— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 20, 2019

Head of football Raul Sanllehi said the club had interviewed other names before opting to pursue Arteta.

“We met several top-class candidates and Mikel stood out to every single one of us as the perfect person for us,” he said in a club statement.

“Mikel understands Arsenal Football Club and what it means to our fans around the world. We look forward to him getting down to work and bringing the best out of our squad as we work to get our season back on track.”

A decision now needs to be made about Freddie Ljungberg's role at Arsenal
A decision now needs to be made about Freddie Ljungberg’s role at Arsenal (Bradley Collyer/PA)

The PA news agency understands negotiations regarding compensation between City and the Gunners saw proceedings extend into Friday before Arteta was eventually confirmed.

He will face the media at the Emirates on Friday evening, but watch on from the stands on Saturday when Arsenal visit his old club Everton as Ljunbgerg once again takes the team.

It remains to be seen who will be appointed to Arteta’s backroom staff and it is unclear if Ljungberg will drop back down to an assistant’s role or leave the club.

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