3 November 2023

Merson Says: I'll Be Shocked If Spurs Beat Chelsea  (Sky Sports)

James MaddisonPaul Merson says he would be shocked if Tottenham beat Chelsea on Monday Night Football.

Spurs are currently unbeaten in the Premier League and ahead of matchday 11 sit top of the table.

In contrast, Chelsea have suffered a disappointing start to the season. They sit 11th in the table having won just three of their opening 10 matches.

However, ahead of Mauricio Pochettino's first return to Spurs as Chelsea boss - which is live on Sky Sports on MNF (kick-off 8pm), Merson told Sky Sports that he believes Chelsea will get a result in north London with Ange Postecoglou's team's style "perfect" for the Blues.

'Trip to Spurs perfect for Chelsea'

You only have to look at Chelsea's two best results this season.

Against both Liverpool and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea were the better side in both games. Both teams had a go at Chelsea and that's why I feel the trip to Tottenham could be perfect for Mauricio Pochettino's side.

There is no question that Spurs will have a go at Chelsea. The way they are playing and sitting top of the league, they have no choice but to try and continue in the same vein they have in the opening 10 matches of the season. However, that plays into Chelsea's hands.

Merson on Nicolas Jackson...

Sky Sports' Paul Merson:

"With Nicolas Jackson, you've got to remember he's only 22. He's just come from another country and is now playing at a top club that, at the moment, are struggling. He seems to be the one taking the brunt of it.

"When you are 22 the confidence drains quicker than when you are 28 because you have the experience to cope with stuff. His confidence has gone a bit but for me, there's no question he's got the potential to be a star."

Nicolas Jackson is getting a bit of stick at the moment but he's quick and a threat on the counter. The you've got Raheem Sterling on the wing. He was brilliant against Arsenal and if he can reach that level again, he'll cause Spurs problems on the break. Cole Palmer brings the guile and he was different class in the first half against Brentford.

Chelsea will be able to give this game a real go. I'd be shocked if Chelsea lost at Spurs.

Palmer 'the Bergkamp' of Chelsea

Paul Merson speaking on Soccer Special:

"Chelsea prefer to play against teams who come to have a go. Those that come to Stamford Bridge and sit back, they find it a struggle.

"But when they face teams who don't give them any space, they've only got Cole Palmer who can break anybody down. He was outstanding the other day [against Brentford]. He was like the Dennis Bergkamp of Arsenal for Chelsea, the amount of opportunities he made. In the second half, he ran out of ideas."

'Spurs favourites vs Chelsea for first time in an age'

Tottenham are under pressure.

They are top of the league and there is some expectation building now.

For once, and this hasn't happened for a long time in games between Chelsea and Tottenham Spurs are expected to win this match.

I cannot remember the last time that was the case heading into a game between these two.

Even last year when Chelsea went to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and lost 2-0, they were playing poorly, but you always thought they could go and get a result at Spurs.

However, now there is expectation with the start they have had under Ange Postecoglou, and that brings pressure.

'Spurs will have to handle expectation'

There have been 10 games and fair play to Spurs, they are there heading up the table.

They've been to Arsenal and got a 2-2 draw but let's be honest, if Gabriel Jesus scores when James Maddison gives the ball away I think Arsenal go and win that game by four or five.

They played Liverpool at home and Jurgen Klopp's side were beaten by VAR. It's very rare nowadays that anyone gets beaten by Manchester United, especially when they face top-six side away from home.

Let's be fair, they've had a good run of games. There's still a long, long way to go.

However, you've got to give them credit. You can only beat what is in front of you, and they have done that in a nice way and with a bit of style.

Everybody has been an A+ so far and that is why they are top of the league. But this is a big test for them on Monday Night Football.

For the first time in a long time the Spurs fans are turning up to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and expecting to beat Chelsea. That's why this is a huge test for Postecoglou and his players. It's a different game when you turn up and are expected to win.

It's much easier when you turn up and a draw is a good result. A draw against Chelsea won't be a good result for Spurs at home, especially with the way they are playing at the moment.

'Maddison needs to deliver consistently in big games'

I like watching James Maddison.

I do still think he needs to turn up and regularly do it in the big games. For me, that's probably the question mark he's had hanging over him.

I remember saying numerous times on Soccer Saturday last season that Leicester would survive when James Maddison got fit. He did get fit and they weren't alright.

Can he do it consistently in the huge games? This a huge game on Monday and he certainly has the ability to turn up. I think that can also come with experience, getting more exposure in these big matches, especially now he's at a bigger club.

He is a special footballer. He makes things happen and what I also like about him is the fact he is not shy. He will go and get the ball and he will never hide from it.

As this season goes on, though, he will have to find solutions. Teams did manage to stop him playing at Leicester and he will be highlighted as the player that makes Spurs tick. There will be plans to stop him and when he is tightly marked, that is when he will have to come up with a response.

'I saw Celtic enough to know Ange would be a success at Spurs'

Postecoglou comes across as a normal bloke. People can relate to him and he just seems like an extremely likeable man.

I like what he's doing for Spurs on the pitch too. I like the way they are playing.

I said when he got the job that it was an amazing appointment by Spurs. I saw Celtic play enough times under him to know he'd do well. To get Celtic playing like they did, and I know people will say it is against lesser teams, but he was getting lesser players to play in that way. Trust me, that's hard.

Now, at Spurs, he has better players to work with so you know it's going to be a success.

Spurs are playing well. They are on a 10-game unbeaten run in the league which is no mean feat. However, there are some big tests on the way, starting with Chelsea.