Tottenham Hotspur’s move to rented accommodation at Wembley Stadium, while their new home is being built, is what you might call punchy. While most absolutely relish, nay dream, of playing at the national stadium the prospect of stepping out onto the lush turf leaves those in the lily-white, well, white with fear. Tottenham have a horrific record at the venue.
It is now seven defeats in ten matches with only two wins. That sequence includes six consecutive defeats. Last term their Champions League and Europa Cup hopes were ended by this stinker of a record.
So it was courageous from Spurs honcho Daniel Levy to sanction the switch across town. Perhaps he reckons it could end the hoodoo once and for all. There’s some logic to that.
If Spurs’ players really do have a problem with playing at Wembley then surely over the course of a season their worries will diminish. It’s the ultimate face-your-fear therapy.
Unfortunately, Spurs put their record on the line against the champions, Chelsea, on Sunday. They would no doubt have wished for a less intimidating opponent.
We are happy to get with the Blues for this one. There appears to have been an overreaction from their opening-day shock against Burnley. And we’re not just blindly backing Antonio Conte’s men because Spurs get the willies at Wembley.
There’s a bit more science to it than that. Firstly, Spurs struggle at the ground because it has the second largest playing area outside of the top flight. Spurs’ pitch is the second smallest in the league. This makes it very difficult to replicate their high-tempo pressing game.
Whereas on their own turf they close down teams quickly and instinctively know where team-mates are, at Wembley things are not the same. It impacts their entire shape. Everybody is maybe half a yard out. Just a nano second off. Those are big margins, even if they don’t sound like it.
It’s a bit like when a parent moves a baby from a cot into a bed for the first time. The kid freaks out at all the extra space, falls out and cries. That’s what has happened to Spurs at Wembley.
Something else which won’t help is the three straight losses against Chelsea at Wembley. That includes the 4-2 reverse in the FA Cup semi-final when Tottenham were desperately disappointing. Expect the jinx to continue, folks.Tottenham at Wembley since 2008
Win vs Chelsea, 2008 League Cup final
Loss vs Man Utd, 2009 League Cup final
Loss vs Portsmouth, 2010 FA Cup semi-final
Loss vs Chelsea, 2012 FA Cup semi-final
Loss vs Chelsea, 2015 League Cup final
Loss vs Monaco, 2016 Champions League
Loss vs Bayer Leverkusen, 2016 Champions League
Win vs CKSA Moscow, 2016 Champions League
Draw vs Gent, 2017 Europa League
Loss v Chelsea, 2017 FA Cup semi-finalCheck Out Our EPL Week 2 Betting Breakdown