Date: Saturday, 8 March
Despite Jose Mourinho’s insistence we can’t really be classed as genuine league leaders because of City’s games in hand, you’d have to think that with us currently 4 points clear at the top of the table and Arsenal and City both in FA Cup games this weekend, we won’t get a better opportunity this season to put some real daylight between us and the other title contenders.
For us, it’s a visit from Spurs, with their new manager attempting to put any pressure our way with the insistence that whilst we’re probably not good enough to bear City to the title, we’re fully expected to take three more points today.
Going into this evening’s derby, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho continues to play down any hopes of the title, insisting “We want to try to win. They will do the same. We want our top four position safe. The biggest threat for that is Spurs. If we beat Spurs then our top four objective will be in a good position. We have to try and win the next match. It doesn’t matter the opponent, the stadium, just that we try to win.”
Spurs boss Tim Sherwood though, trying his hand at some mind games maybe, goes along with the theory that City are more likely to win the Premier League than us and of his own side says “We have to go there and impose ourselves and hopefully we can get a positive result, but there is absolutely no pressure on the boys, is there? Our record is so bad that we can go there and take the shackles off and enjoy the day. The only people that expect us to win are inside our dressing room.”
For Chelsea, long term absentee van Ginkel ist back in training but not ready for a return yet, David Luiz (groin) is injured and Ashley Cole, who suffered a knee injury in training, is also out. Eden Hazard is declared fit despite picking up a minor ankle injury whilst playing for Belgium in midweek.
For Spurs, Vlad Chiriches and Erik Lamela (both back) remain out, Danny Rose (knee) isn’t expected to be back for this game and Jermain Defoe has left for Toronto FC. Christian Eriksen (back) and Etienne Capoue (ankle) are given as doubtful, Kyle Walker (thigh),Younes Kaboul and Zeki Fryers all faces late tests.
CHELSEA (Possible Line-up): Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill,Terry, Azpilicueta; Matic, Ramires, Schurrle, Oscar, Hazard, Eto’o
SPURS (Possible Line-up): Loris, Naughton, Dawson, Verthongen, Fryers; Sandro, Townsend, Bentaleb, Dembele, Lennon; Adebayor;
Spurs 1-1 Chelsea (28 September 2013)
It’s hardly football’s best kept secret that Spurs have struggled against us over the years at Stamfird Bridge, in fact, we’re unbeaten in our last 23 home games against them in the league. On current form, we’re unbeaten so far this calendar year and the return of Jose Mourinho – who has yet to lose a league game at Stamford Bridge – has seen us take 38 points at home this season. Spurs though, have the Premier League’s best away record (29 points), so it might not be as straight forward as we’d expect it to be.