This season has been one to forget for reigning Premier League champions Chelsea, who are currently fifth-place in the table. Sunday’s visit of fourth-place Tottenham to Stamford Bridge could prove pivotal in the Blues attempts at sealing a Champions League spot.
The Blues have a deficit of five points to the visitors in the race for a top-four finish in the English top-flight. Anything other than a win would make leapfrogging Mauricio Pochettino’s side very difficult.
History on Chelsea’s side
The recent history of this fixture is heavily on the side of the team from south west London. The Blues have something of a hoodoo against Tottenham at Stamford Bridge in the last two decades, as Spurs have failed to record a win at Chelsea in the Premier League era, a massive 22 games in all competitions without a win.
The home side has also scored at least two goals in their last seven meetings with Spurs at Stamford Bridge. In truth, Stamford Bridge has been a graveyard for Tottenham’s hopes and dreams in recent years.
Home and away
This clash pits a team with a strong home record against a team who are dangerous on their travels. Winning eight of their last ten league games on home soil, Chelsea are the definition of a team that enjoys home comforts. The Blues have also managed six clean sheets in their last nine league outings in the top-flight.
Their home games have also produced good value for money when it comes to goals scored, as there have been over 2.5 goals scored in the four of the last five games on home soil at Stamford Bridge.
Spurs went through a difficult from October to December when the north London side lost four of their five away games in the Premier League. However, since the last week of December, Spurs are unbeaten in six league games on their travels in the league, claiming four wins in the process. A key to that run has been their attacking threat, as they have scored two or more goals in four of those six unbeaten games.
This game should prove pivotal in the race for top-four places this season. The pair has been in around the top-four spots in the Premier League for the last few seasons.
This could be a tight encounter, as the two teams are pretty even in terms of quality. The Blues are slight favourites to win this clash, but it is unlikely to be an easy win that is for sure.
There are some major factors that may determine the result of this clash. One of those is the absence of Tottenham’s Harry Kane.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino was very guarded about when the England striker could return from an ankle injury. However, the Argentinian boss has stated that the 24-year-old could return to the squad. It seems unlikely that the striker will return to the starting line-up.
Chelsea’s first-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois could also miss out due to injury, so back-up ‘keeper Willy Caballero could play in goal for the Blues. Antonio Conte also must choose between Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata for the lone striker role.
Adding everything up, history, statistics and line-ups, I have to say that the draw looks like a very likely outcome in this vital London derby.
Who will come out on top in this vital clash?