Tottenham match preview
This is effectively our biggest game of the season given the stakes; we can open up an eight-point gap on Chelsea in the race for a top-four finish.
That said, Spurs have the advantage of already being above the Blues, so dropping points wouldn’t be a disaster.
Curse of the Bridge
Our record at Chelsea is beyond poor. Tottenham haven’t left Stamford Bridge with maximum points since 1990, and we’ve suffered some painful results there over recent years – the worst being the 2-2 draw that saw our title hopes fade away in the 2015-16 campaign.
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Even when they’ve been far from their best, Chelsea have possessed the sufficient quality to harm us at the Bridge.
Eden Hazard’s excellent equaliser in May 2016 is proof of that, considering the difficult season he had endured up to that point.
And it’s not just Stamford Bridge. Spurs outplayed Chelsea in our first Premier League game at Wembley earlier this season, but Marcos Alonso’s late sucker-punch of a winner unravelled us at the death. Mauricio Pochettino’s side must use that as motivation this weekend.
READ MORE: Harry Kane is the best player in the world, says Heung-min Son
No Kane, more pain?
Of course, Tottenham’s task is made doubly difficult by Kane’s absence. The team may have scored seven goals in two matches without him, but his presence would have been a huge boost, especially if it’s a tight contest.
I expect Heung-min Son to play through the middle, supported by an attacking midfield trio of Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela and Dele Alli.
All of those players have found the net since Kane limped off at Bournemouth, which is a welcome silver lining.
READ MORE: FA Cup or top-four finish - what would Spurs fans prefer?
During the international break, Belgium manager Roberto Martinez revealed that Toby Alderweireld is fully fit, despite Pochettino’s hesitance to pick him in recent weeks.
The defender played 90 minutes for Belgium on Tuesday, but will he meet Pochettino’s fitness standards upon his club return?
If Alderweireld is ready to start, it will be interesting to see if the Pochettino keeps faith with Davinson Sanchez, who has been a little rocky of late.
The Alderweireld issue aside, Tottenham’s team effectively picks itself – although I wouldn’t be hugely surprised to see Serge Aurier start over Kieran Trippier, despite my predicted line-up below.
XI: Lloris; Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Dembele; Eriksen, Lamela, Alli; Son.
Hazard will be a threat as usual, most likely down the left. Whoever starts at right-back for Spurs will have to be cautious. Trippier’s biggest weakness is his defensive positioning, while Aurier has a bad habit of diving into tackles in the penalty area.
Opposition danger man
Willian has been in fine form lately, and the Brazilian has the ability to produce something special out of nothing. I’m more worried about him than any other Chelsea player.
Betting tips and predictions
First goalscorer flutter
If Spurs don’t deal with him properly, I can see Willian opening the scoring.
Get Willian to score first @ 15/2
Bet with your head
I hate to say it, but I think Chelsea might edge it.
Get Chelsea to win 2-1 @ 17/2
Bet with your gut
I’d be happy with a 1-1 draw, retaining our five-point lead over the hosts.
Get a 1-1 draw @ 6/1