Chelsea will aim to cut down the gap between themselves and the top four as they host a potential six-pointer against Tottenham on Sunday.
Chelsea have somewhat seen their season peter out and quickly, having been knocked out of all competitions except the FA Cup. The Premier League as well, seems to be out of reach and even a place in the top four is under question for the Blues, with the club five points behind their opponents on Sunday, Tottenham.
Tottenham, on the other hand, would be looking to secure qualification into the UEFA Champions League for next season. Spurs are in an almost similar predicament as Chelsea, with both the clubs vying for a top four spot in the league and FA Cup glory their only solace so far.
Chelsea managed to defeat Tottenham by a narrow 1-2 scoreline at Wembley earlier in the Premier League campaign and would hope to emulate their success. Ahead of their latest encounter, we take a closer look at the two sides.
Team News & Tactics
Ethan Ampadu and David Luiz will not take part in any capacity on Sunday. Neither will Ross Barkley, who has returned to training, but is set to play for the development side this weekend. Andreas Christensen is also a doubt for the game and could be replaced by Gary Cahill in the starting lineup, if the Dane fails to recover in time.
Thibaut Courtois is also doubtful for the match and we could very well see Willy Caballero make a rare start between the sticks for Chelsea. The rest of the spots are all but confirmed, except N’Golo Kante’s partner and the position of the lone striker.
Cesc Fabregas should be chosen ahead of other available midfield options. But, Antonio Conte will be in a pickle to decide whom to start between Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata. The Frenchman could get the nod, with the player coming off as the more in-form striker from the international break.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Caballero; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Hazard, Willian; Giroud
Harry Kane and Harry Winks both have an outside chacne of making the matchday squad. Toby Alderweireld proved his fitness during the international break by starting for Belgium. But, the centre-back is no longer a first-choice player for Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham and should be good enough only for the bench.
As far as the flanks are concerned, Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier should continue to be preferred ahead of Danny Rose and Serge Aurier.
Son Heung-Min should take up the role of the lead striker in Harry Kane’s absence, with his slot on the wing likely to be taken up by January arrival Lucas Moura.
Tottenham will have to focus their attacks through Alli, with no Kane in the team and we could see the lanky number 10 make runs off the back of Son, who could come in deep often to create space for Alli.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Dembele; Moura, Alli, Eriksen; Son
1. Chelsea Draw No Bet @ 1.61
2. Olivier Giroud to score anytime @ 2.62
1. Under 1.5 Match Goals @ 3.40
1. Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 27 home matches against Tottenham, winning 18 and drawing the other 9.
2. Tottenham have won more points in London derbies than any other London-based outfit this season so far – 13 points in 7 games.
3. Despite their woeful record at Stamford Bridge, Tottenham go into the match unbeaten in their last 6 away games, with 4 wins and 2 draws to their name.
4. Son Heung-Min has been on fire at club level, with 7 goals and an assist in his last five games in all competitions for Tottenham.
5. Chelsea could be in line to register their first league double over Tottenham since the 2005-06 campaign.
Player to Watch
Easily set to be the most potent forward on display on Sunday, with Harry Kane absent. The South-Korean has been in some prodigious form in the recent matches, as aforementioned, and he will be crucial to the fortunes of Tottenham. Keeping in mind Spurs’ woeful record at Stamford Bridge, Pochettino would hope Son is on form on Sunday.
Chelsea 0-1 Tottenham
Despite the two teams and their attacking prowess, this is should be a very cagey match, with one goal likely to be making the difference on Sunday. Chelsea will be looking to take advantage of Kane’s unavailability and register a win to cut down the gap between themselves and Tottenham.
But, Tottenham have an equally in-form striker at their disposal in the form of Son Heung-Min, who is likely to be the difference on Sunday. We expect Tottenham to break the Stamford Bridge duck and earn a slender 1-0 win.