One of the most crucial clashes of the packed festive season is on 4th of January as Tottenham Hotspurs host their bitter rivals and league leaders Chelsea at White Hart Lane.
Both the teams have been deemed to be title contenders from the start of the season, though the current difference between them is 10 points, with Chelsea comfortably sitting at the top with a 5-point cushion from second-placed Liverpool. Tottenham are currently sitting at 5th place. However, as we have seen in the past, in a league like the English Premier League, tides can turn at any moment, and a dream season can turn into a nightmare within the span of weeks.
Since switching to a 3-4-3 formation following the thumping at the hands of Arsenal, Chelsea have never looked back and are currently on a winning spree, equalling Arsenal’s record of 13 consecutive wins in a season with their victory over Stoke at Stamford Bridge. A victory at White Hart Lane would mean a new record in the English football history. At this moment, there looks like no team can stop Antonio Conte’s men.
In the last 13 games, Chelsea have scored 34 goals and conceded just 4 keeping 10 clean sheets, which itself is nothing short of phenomenal. Over the course of this winning run, they have proved that they can squeeze out 3 points in tough matches and can hold on to their 1 goal lead and see off the match.
However, this might well be their toughest challenge yet, as the spurs have an extraordinary home record, with still being undefeated at home. Spurs are on a brilliant form lately, and will be looking for a fifth consecutive win. Since their defeat to Manchester United, Spurs have lately looked as one of the strongest teams in the league, with the English youngster Dele Allo scoring 5 goals in the last 3 games, including brace in each of the last 2 games.
Erik Lamela is expected to be out due to a hip problem, other than that Pochettino does not have to worry much about injuries.
Conte hasn’t had much to worry about injuries this season. John Terry is fit but is unlikely to make an appearance since the current Chelsea back three are not giving anything to complain about.
Players to watch out:
Undoubtedly, Eden Hazard and Diego Costa, who are having their best seasons respectively. A rejuvenated Cesc Fabregas is also expected to make an appearance, as he has been the difference lately in many of Chelsea’s games.
Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli have been in scintillating form, and Spurs fans will be hoping to see more of Harry Kane after his brace in the last game.
Chelsea came back from behind at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season to win a tight game 2-1. Pedro’s stunner canceled Christian Eriksen’s goal and Moses scored the winner.
Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham Hotspur): “Chelsea arrive in very good shape – us too after the last few games, it will be a very tough game and a great opportunity for us to try to stop them and try to reduce the gap. It’s important, I think it’s important for us and for the Premier League to try to win and try to stop them and reduce the gap.”
Antonio Conte (Chelsea): “The first part of the season was incredible for us but it will be very difficult to repeat this run. The second part of the season will be very difficult for us. We started the season as underdogs and now we have the light on us, we must know this and work more to find the right solution to try to win in every game.”
Tottenham: 17/10, Draw: 23/10, Chelsea: 17/10.
This fixture will kick off at 1:30am IST on 5th January and will be telecast live in Star Sports Select HD1. For live streaming links, please send a message to our official Facebook page.
Photo by NazionaleCalcio