Chelsea host Tottenham Hotspur tonight as the Blues look to maintain their lead at the top of the table at the expense of their London rivals, who are yet to beat them at home in 25 years
Antonio Conte gave updates regarding the squad for tonight’s game in his pre-match press conference. Captain John Terry is set to miss out with an injury and he is expected to be sidelined for 2 or 3 weeks. He will be joined by John Obi Mikel, who injured a muscle in training.
The Nigerian will reportedly return to training next week. Brazilian winger Willian has returned to fitness, but Conte insists that he needs more time to find his form.
“Willian has come back and now it’s important for him to find good form,” he said. He went on to say that it was important for him to focus on his work and find continuity in the training sessions. Willi is an important player for us and I count on him a lot.”
Speaking about a recovering Kurt Zouma, he said “Kurt is working with us, with great continuity. Now it’s of fundamental importance to find good form and go into our idea of football. I am pleased with this because I am seeing, day-by-day, great improvement for Kurt.”[via Chelseafc.com]
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino spoke to the media yesterday, will be without the services of Danny Rose, who is suspended for this tie. Ben Davies, Erik Lamela and Toby Alderweireld are also going to miss out due to injuries.
With three defenders out of contention for this tie, Eric Dier will likely play center of defence and he could be paired up with Jan Vertonghen, Kevin Wimmer or Kieran Trippier.
Youngster Harry Winks featured against West Ham and Monaco and put in impressive shifts and Pochettino was full of praise for the young midfielder. “With two performances in two big games against West Ham and Monaco, his performances were very, very good and I’m very happy with him but we’ll see if the decision is to be in the starting XI or not”[via tottenhamhotspur.com]
This tie was a deciding fixture last season, as Eden Hazard’s sensational equalising goal ended Spur’s title chances and handed the title to Leicester City after what was a fixture marred by controversy with both teams being fined, 9 yellow cards to Tottenham and Guus Hiddink was even shoved down a pit near the tunnel.
The memory of that night will be fresh in the minds of both teams and Tottenham will surely be out of revenge against a Chelsea side who are looking to winning streak in the league to 7 games at the expense of their London rivals.