Chelsea’s performance at Tottenham on Sunday proved they can still finish in the top four of the Premier League this season, says Harry Redknapp.
Chelsea held in-form Tottenham to a 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane, making it three successive clean sheets following the 4-0 Champions League win over Maccabi Tel Aviv and 1-0 victory over Norwich City the previous weekend.
For Redknapp, Chelsea’s display against Spurs was a clear sign that they have got to the bottom of their defensive problems.
Redknapp wrote in his Daily Telegraph column: ‘I would imagine there was only one person who left White Hart Lane properly content with what they saw: Jose Mourinho.
‘Chelsea came to the Lane to do a job and they did it to perfection. They were taking on a Tottenham side in great form, a team taking a serious stab at the Europa League as well as the domestic title and they stopped them in their tracks.
‘Sure, they may not have made many chances – though Eden Hazard might have nicked it at the end – but Mourinho will have been more than pleased with that.
‘Why? Because it suggests that the basics are coming back for Chelsea. For whatever reason, they have had a torrid time of it this season. At Spurs you could see they are starting to look more like the Chelsea of old: solid, organised, very hard to beat. The keys have been found to the bus.
‘Nemanja Matic, who was so important to them last season when they won the title, an absolute powerhouse, really does appear to be coming back. When Matic is on song, Chelsea have that core stability.
‘I thought Branislav Ivanovic was much better too. He’s been a mistake waiting to happen for much of this season, but against Tottenham he was solid, dependable, much more like the character Jose can rely on. Kurt Zouma and Gary Cahill played Harry Kane as well as anyone. And really with this Tottenham, if you can stop Kane you have a chance.’
Chelsea ‘certain’ to buy striker in January
While Chelsea appear to have solved their problems in defence, they rarely looked like scoring at Tottenham despite Jose Mourinho’s decision to try Eden Hazard as a false number nine in place of the benched Diego Costa.
Redknapp believes Mourinho is now certain to buy a striker in the January transfer window.
‘By the way, I don’t for a moment buy Jose’s claim that Costa was on the bench because it was his turn. No chance. If he was on form, if he was firing, he is not a player you would ever leave out. But he hasn’t been, he’s looked half the player of last term, so Jose dropped him, pure and simple. And absolutely right.
‘One thing you might think is certain this January: given that Chelsea can’t score, Jose will go out and buy a striker.
‘Obviously Chelsea need goals from somewhere. But while the title is beyond them, I’m not saying they can’t finish in the top four yet. They have a decent run of fixtures now. And the division is so fluid, a proper run of form can put them right up there. It really is the weirdest of seasons.
‘To be frank, the way things are going Man United could win the league or not finish in the top four and you wouldn’t be surprised by either. So whatever you do, don’t write off Chelsea. As they showed against the division’s form side, they are not a spent force.’