1990 – the last time Tottenham Hotspur won at Stamford Bridge. It’s been 26 years since the North London side have won away from home in a league match against their West London counterparts, and Chelsea will hope that history continues to repeat itself when they meet Spurs in the Saturday evening kickoff.
This fixture always proves to be a fiery encounter, and this season should be no different. Spurs are unbeaten in the league and will be out to get revenge for the draw that ended their title challenge.
Meanwhile, Chelsea will be looking to start their next run of tricky fixtures that will prove their title contender status, with Manchester City on the horizon next Saturday.
Spurs will be looking for retribution after last season’s corresponding fixture effectively ended their title challenge. Taking a 2-0 lead in the first half, Chelsea roared back with an early second-half goal from Gary Cahill and an 82nd minute goal from Eden Hazard to give the Blues a 2-2 draw and confirm Leicester City as the champions.
This season, Tottenham entered the season hoping to build on last season’s success. However, hasn’t quite gone to plan in the first 12 matches. Spurs have had a major problem with scoring goals in the early part of this campaign, scoring just 18 goals this season.
Harry Kane has missed a portion of this season due to injury, but last season’s golden boot winner has scored just five goals this season and didn’t score his first goal until the fifth match of the season.
Tottenham’s midweek adventures in the Champions League have also proved less than successful. A 2-1 defeat to AS Monaco on Tuesday night confirms Spurs exit from the competition and with another poor result possibly eliminating them from Europe all together.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has come under pressure for his team selection in that match against Monaco. In a match that Spurs needed to win to keep their qualification hopes alive, Pochettino elected to ring in the changes, leaving out Kyle Walker, Christian Eriksen, and Jan Vertonghen.
It was a curious decision in an important match for Spurs in Europe, and it might just put more pressure on the manager. On the surface, it appears as if he rested key players ahead of the match against Chelsea on Saturday. If Spurs fail to get a result at Stamford Bridge, the Argentinian may have some serious questions to face post-match.
Injuries and suspensions won’t help Spurs, either. Vertonghen looks set to start at left back for Tottenham as Ben Davies is injured and Danny Rose is suspended after five bookings. The Spurs’ defence is also missing Toby Alderweireld to a long-term knee injury, meaning that Kevin Wimmer and Eric Dier will most likely start at centre back. Erik Lamela is also out due to injury.
For Chelsea, the concerns are much fewer. With no European competition to worry about this season, Antonio Conte has had the benefit of not needing to rotate his squad.
In fact, the Chelsea boss has named the same side for the last five league fixtures, and the continuity has definitely been a key factor in the Blues’ resurgence, but it’s not been the only factor.
Hazard and Diego Costa have looked completely different players this season under Conte than they did last season under Jose Mourinho. The back three, especially, has given Hazard a free role to create, and with Pedro looking more like the player that terrorised opponents at Barcelona, the Blues, along with Manchester City, are the second-highest scorers in the league this season.
Chelsea also boast the leading scorer in the league with Diego Costa netting 10 goals in 12 matches this season.