Chelsea entertain Tottenham Hotspur in this weekend’s highly-anticipated London derby at Stamford Bridge. The Blues are five points behind their cross-town rivals in the pursuit of the fourth spot, and they face a potentially must-win situation to enhance their chances of Champions League qualification for next term.
Chelsea have gone through a lean patch since the turn of the year, and their recent form has not been great with just two victories in the previous five appearances. One of those came before the international break, where they secured a 2-1 triumph over Leicester City in added extra-time to progress to the semi-final stage of the FA Cup.
On the contrary, Tottenham’s form has been better with four victories in their previous five outings. Like Chelsea, Tottenham bowed out of the Champions League during this period, but they still have the opportunity to end a decade-long wait for silverware after comfortably beating Swansea City 3-0 in the FA Cup quarter-final.
The previous meeting between the sides was at the Wembley Stadium in early August. Chelsea had come into the game on the back of a surprise 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Burnley, but they managed to overcome their disappointment with a splendid win over Spurs. Marcos Alonso opened the scoring for the visitors with a sublime free-kick midway through the first period, and thereafter, Spurs pushed to levelled the scores. An own goal from Michy Batshuayi brought Spurs back into the match in the 82nd minute, but the joy could only last for a while. Alonso popped up in the 88th minute with a wonderful low-effort which found the net after a poor bit of goalkeeping from Hugo Lloris.
Players to watch for:
Alvaro Morata – Chelsea: The Spain international has had an average debut season, which has been hampered by a nagging back problem. Morata had gone through a lean patch of 13 games without scoring, but he managed to end the unwanted feat against Leicester City, where he notched the opener. Morata was found guilty of missing a clear-cut goal versus Spurs last time around, and the striker will be desperate to put in a strong showing following his recent disappointment of missing out on the Spain squad.
Son Heung-min – Tottenham: Son has been one of Spurs’ unsung heroes this campaign, and in the absence of Harry Kane, and he will be expected to step up with another strong performance. Son failed to find the scoresheet against Swansea in the FA Cup, but prior to that, Son’s form has been nothing short of splendid with seven goals in the space of just four matches (ESPN). Son is just three goals shy of achieving his goal tally of 21 from the previous season.
Chelsea 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur