Premier League leaders Chelsea can further increase their advantage at the Premier League summit with a triumph over local rivals Tottenham, and they are considered hot favourites to win this clash. Spurs revived their top Champions League bid with a hard-fought victory over Cardiff City, but their top 4 credentials will be seriously tested at Stamford Bridge.
Jose Mourinho needed much longer than expected to get this Chelsea side playing to their potential, but he has to be given credit for helping the Blues mount a serious title challenge in the Premier League. The Special One proved his worth by leading his men to some excellent results in matches against the league’s top 4 sides and with just ten games to go, the Stamford Bridge outfit sit pretty at the top of the standings. Their four-point advantage can be misleading given that Manchester City are trailing by six points, but have two games in hand, although nobody can guarantee the Citizens will win both rearranged fixtures. And with none of their title rivals in league action this weekend, Chelsea can put extra pressure on the likes of City, Liverpool and Arsenal by defeating Tottenham on Saturday afternoon. The Blues have recovered well from the recent slump in form having won the Premier League fixtures against Everton and Fulham, and given their impressive record in matches against England’s top sides, they can be trusted to extend the good run against struggling Spurs. And with Jose Mourinho having the courtesy of picking from a fully fit squad, the hosts have plenty of reason for optimism at the moment.
Club’s decision to relieve Andre Villas-Boas of his duties have the team a fair chance of reviving their top 4 bid, but Spurs were pretty unfortunate to have Liverpool in stunning form alongside the usual suspects Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal. Tottenham were pretty convincing in those smaller games, suffering just several slip-ups along the way, but heavy defeats to top 4 rivals have proved Tim Sherwood’s side are not yet ready to mount a serious challenge for Champions League positions. While sharing spoils with Chelsea at White Hart Lane, Spurs were beaten by Arsenal in the league and FA Cup, whilst conceding a total of 16 goals in heavy defeats to Manchester City and Liverpool. Even if the team managed to return to winning ways by defeating Cardiff at home, it is perfectly clear Tottenham are far from the desired form, while numerous missings only add to the worries. Kyle Walker and Christian Eriksen are both major doubts, whereas Danny Rose, Erik Lamela, Vlad Chiriches and Etienne Capoue also look set to miss out. And with Paulinho and Sandro yet to hit the ground running following a lengthy injury lay-off, Spurs look destined for yet another defeat.
With all key players available for selection and a proven record against England’s top sides, Chelsea look they will have no problems extending their winning run in the league. Spurs, on the other hand, are without quite a few important players and their current form is enough to suggest a trip to Stamford Bridge will be no happy occasion.
Verdict: Home win Chelsea (1)
Best Odds: 4/7