The last time these two sides met it was remembered as ‘The Battle of Stamford Bridge’ but more importantly for Tottenham it will be remembered as the night in which last season’s title hopes were extinguished with the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge securing a first ever title for Leicester. Mauricio Pochettino’s men will look to exact revenge this evening but it won’t be easy against a Chelsea side who sit top of the table going into this weekend’s action.
Antonio Conte’s Chelsea side have recorded 6 successive Premier League wins and it’s that run of form which has seen them leapfrog their fellow title rivals going into Week 13. Sunday saw them record that 6th win at The Riverside Stadium with a slender 1-0 win over hosts Middlesbrough. Chelsea’s hitman Diego Costa was on hand to provide the games solitary goal and send the Blues top of the table.
Chelsea may not have to worry about Champions League action this season but now neither do Tottenham after they were knocked out of the competition on Tuesday after defeat in Monte Carlo. The North London side had another off night in Europe and were deservedly beaten by Monaco. The result may suggest a close run thing with it only being 2-1 but it’s fair to say that Tottenham have Hugo Lloris to thank for keeping the score respectable.
Tuesday saw a whole host of key players rested for Tottenham with this game in mind. But in doing that it creates the situation where key players are being rested in the Champions League so that the club can once again qualify for Europe’s top club competition. Many fans felt that this was a strange way to approach matters and it’s a ploy that has massively backfired.
Tottenham are going to have to bounce back from that performance on Tuesday but they come across a Chelsea side who are breezing past all before them at present. Since Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has switched to a three at the back then his side simply haven’t looked back.
And it’s been a case of it’s not broken then don’t fix it with the starting eleven for Chelsea all but picking itself now. That means that figures such as John Terry, Oscar, Willian and Cesc Fabregas are nowhere near a starting berth but when Chelsea are in this good form then you can’t blame Conte for wanting to keep the same winning outfit from week to week.
If only Tottenham had that luxury right now, last season it was a well oiled machine that earned a place in the Top 4 but this season it has seen a rather disjointed side with changes from week to week, some of these have obviously been unforced due to injury but in constantly rotating Tottenham have lost the key element of familiarity.
Last Saturday saw them come back to beat West Ham in the second of three consecutive London derbies and they did so in dramatic fashion. After going ahead twice The Hammers looked all set to leave White Hart Lane with all three points but Harry Kane grabbed two late goals to give the game a dramatic twist and keep Spurs unbeaten record in tact.
And that unbeaten record is going to come under some intense pressure this evening especially with a patched up back four. With Danny Rose suspended and Toby Alderweireld out injured it means that Jan Vertonghen will be deployed at left back while Eric Dier and Kevin Wimmer will once again resume their centre back partnership from Tuesday.
That could very well be the key to this game and one that will play into Chelsea’s hands. There is no stopping the West London side and I can’t see them being stopped this evening. Tottenham’s hoodoo at this ground looks set to continue as Chelsea make it a magnificent seven of successive league wins. Home win for me.