The Tottenham weakness that Chelsea must take advantage of

Kyle Walker

Spurs have a preference of playing with attacking full-backs - and that could hurt them.

Due to Ben Davies and Vlad Chiriches starting Tottenham’s Europa League loss to Fiorentina, it is expected that Kyle Walker and Danny Rose will start the League Cup final with Chelsea.

The English duo are arguably the strongest pair of full-backs in the Spurs ranks, and their attacking play will be sure to cause problems to the Blues back-line. Both played in the 5-3 victory at White Hart Lane on New Year’s Day, and Rose scored the third goal in that game to move Spurs 2-1 in front.

On their day, Rose and Walker are attacking threats like no other from a defensive position, but it is this very strength that is also their biggest weakness.

Neither player is an out-and-out defender and usually rely on their pace to make up for errors; Rose especially has a complete lack of understanding of defensive positioning. They work so well for Pochettino as he wants his players to push up and press high, allowing them to roam into the opposition’s half with the entire back-line, winning the ball back early. Due to their speed, they are rarely troubled if beaten as they can track back against most wingers in a foot-race - and it is the style of play that led Spurs to sign DeAndre Yedlin, who is almost a doppelganger for Walker.

Against the majority of teams, Walker and Rose’s weakness will not be shown up, however, against Chelsea, they could prove to be the weak link.

Willian and Juan Cuadrado - one of whom will occupy the right wing - are two of the fastest players in world football, and will be up against Rose, whereas Walker will be facing Eden Hazard, who, despite not being as fleet of foot, has the speed of mind and ball control that makes him appear exceptionally fast. Rose and Walker will be pressing high against a team built to counter attack with blistering speed and exceptional talent, and the Blues will likely be looking to exploit the flanks to create chances for Diego Costa.

Branislav Ivanovic and Filipe Luis are extremely attacking in their own right, but it is likely that Cesar Azpilicueta will start over Luis, and Ivanovic will be instructed to defend to increase defensive solidity. They don’t need to attack to keep the potency of the Blues offensive line, whereas Spurs look much weaker when attempting to create play without the aid of Walker and Rose.

The pair of full-backs have shown major improvement under Pochettino this season and look well set to keep their places for a number of years should they continue to impress. However, their main strength is also their biggest weakness and Chelsea are the perfect team to take advantage of even the smallest problem in the Tottenham back-line.

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