Tottenham vs. Chelsea
Venue: Tottenham Stadium
Kick off: 1:30PM
With the chance to consolidate their hold on fourth place in the Premier League table, Tottenham Hotspur welcome Chelsea to North London for a capital derby this afternoon.
The Lilywhites ran out 2-0 winners over West Ham United in their most recent contest, while the Blues’ misfortune continued in a 1-0 home defeat to Southampton.
While former Chelsea coach Antonio Conte is unlikely to take the reins against his former club as he continues to recover from gallbladder surgery, Cristian Stellini’s perfect record in charge remains intact – going three for three during the visit of West Ham last weekend.
The only noteworthy event of a dull opening 45 was West Ham escaping another controversial handball penalty claim – Spurs and Chelsea can empathise with each other there – but ‘Second Half FC’ came to the fore as Emerson Royal and Son Heung-min sent Spurs into the Champions League spots.
With fifth-placed Newcastle United and third-placed Manchester United doing battle in the EFL Cup final later on Sunday, this weekend’s London derby is a magnificent opportunity for Spurs to steer clear of the Magpies and reduce the gap to the Red Devils – who will subsequently have a game in hand – to just four points.
Trying to predict which version of Tottenham will show up every weekend is a fool’s errand, but Spurs are now on the brink of winning three successive Premier League home games with clean sheets for the first time since 2019, and not since December 2021 have the Lilywhites drawn a league match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Conte will no doubt be keeping a watchful eye on proceedings from his Italian base this weekend, having been at the centre of a heated exchange with Thomas Tuchel back in August’s Stamford Bridge draw, but the German’s replacement is falling victim to the poisoned chalice.
Calls from some sections of the Chelsea fanbase to give Graham Potter the boot are growing louder and louder following last weekend’s miserable 1-0 loss to basement side Southampton, but such demands are still falling on deaf ears as the Blues board retain their faith in the under-fire Englishman.
Fresh from giving their own manager the boot, Southampton relied on a trademark James Ward-Prowse free kick to get the job done at Stamford Bridge, leading to boos from the home crowd that could be heard all across the capital at the full-time whistle.
A fourth game without victory in the top flight leaves Chelsea mired in mid-table obscurity in 10th place – 11 points worse off than their upcoming opponents – but Todd Boehly is reportedly still continuing to back Potter, even if some members of the board do not share his sentiment.
However, the Englishman can only boast a paltry three wins from his last 16 games in charge of the Blues, who cannot rise any higher up the rankings no matter what transpires this weekend, and scoring just three goals in their last nine matches in all tournaments is simply unacceptable for a club of Chelsea’s calibre.
The visitors’ form on the road makes for incredibly bleak reading too, as they have embarrassingly failed to win any of their last nine away games since beating Red Bull Salzburg in October, but August’s fiery 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge extended Chelsea’s unbeaten run against Spurs to a respectable six matches.
Tottenham Hotspur possible XI: Forster, Romero, Dier, Lenglet, Emerson, Skipp, Hojbjerg, Davies, Kulusevski, Kane, Son.
Chelsea possible XI: Kepa, James, Silva, Badiashile, Chilwell, Kovacic, Fernandez, Mudryk, Felix, Sterling, Havertz.