Top-of-the-table Chelsea welcome Champions League-chasing Spurs to Stamford Bridge this Saturday evening knowing a win will open up a seven-point gap between them and their nearest rivals – albeit because Manchester City and Arsenal are in FA Cup action, as well as Liverpool’s encounter with Sunderland being rescheduled due to the north-east club’s Cup clash with Hull this Sunday.
As Jose Mourinho will know, though, it’s better to have points on the board and victory over their London-club rivals will further enhance their growing title credentials – but Saturday’s match up with fifth-place Tottenham will be anything but straight forward. The Blues haven’t tasted victory at the Bridge over Saturday’s opponents since April 2011, when Salomon Kalou scored an 89th minute winner.
With Kalou now plying his trade in France, Mourinho will be relying on 32-year-old Samuel Eto’o, fit-again Fernando Torres and the in-form Andre Schurrle to break down Tim Sherwood’s side.
By his own admission, Sherwood’s precarious position as Spurs boss will be under the microscope as he battles to keep the likes of Louis van Gaal out of the White Hart Lane hotseat. He has shored up a sinking ship since taking over from Andre Villas-Boas in December last year, but his hard work could count for nothing if they fail once again to qualify for Europe’s elite competition. A 1-0 loss to strugglers Norwich two games ago has left him and his team with no margin for error in the final 10 games.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 5.30pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Sept 2013: Tottenham (Sigurdsson) 1-1 Chelsea (Terry), Premier League
May 2013: Chelsea (Oscar, Ramires) 2-2 Tottenham (Adebayor, Sigurdsson), Premier League
Oct 2012: Tottenham (Gallas, Defoe) 2-4 Chelsea (Cahill, Mata , Sturridge), Premier League
Chelsea have picked up more points at home than any other Premier League side this season
Spurs, however, are the league’s best travellers – picking up 29 points so far
Spurs have failed to win at Stamford Bridge in their last 26 visits in all competitions
Lilywhites striker Emmanuel Adebayor has scored seven goals in his previous six away games for the club
Chelsea to win: 1.57
Tottenham to win: 7.0
TV: Sky Sports 1, Saturday 5.30pm