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    Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea: Match Preview

    By Tom Regan

    Tottenham Hotspur will be aiming to extend their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 13 games when they entertain champions Chelsea at White Hart Lane on Sunday. The rival London clubs are separated by 10 points currently, and Spurs can really dent the Blues chances of Champions League qualification with a positive result.
    The north Londoners produced their best performance of the season last weekend, dismantling London rivals West Ham 4-1 to extend their longest unbeaten run in the league.

    A gruelling six-hour trip to Azerbaijan for Thursday’s Europa League tie with Qarabag FK was far from ideal preparation for such a crucial game, however, the confidence amongst Pochettino’s squad is sky high, and his team can be motivated by the chance to go 13 points clear of Chelsea if they seal victory.
    The future of the special one is still very much the topic of conversation, and three consecutive league defeats, a deteriorating relationship with the media and comments about underperforming players mounted huge pressure on the club.

    The Blues have recovered slightly with 3 wins out of 4 in all competitions, but the 5-3 loss here last season will be fresh in the mind of Mourinho and his players.
    Chelsea are a million miles away from the form which saw them secure the title last campaign, but with so many games left to play, the battling win against Norwich was at least a small sign that the club are taking a step in the right direction as they bid to improve their position.

    A major problem for the Blues has been their form away from Stamford Bridge, where they have tasted victory just once on their travels, struggling to possess the resilience which was so crucial in their title success.
    The Lilywhites will be without Alex Pritchard and Nacer Chadli due to injury. The in-form Dele Alli will be missing after the midfielder’s booking against West Ham sees him suspended. Pochettino could bring Ryan Mason into the team as a like for like replacement for Alli, but the most probable scenario will be that Erik Lamela returns to the starting XI following suspension.

    Historically, the sides have met on 144 occasions in all competitions with the Blues winning 62 of those fixtures. At White Hart Lane, it is much more even. Of the 71 games played in north London, they have won 26 each, drawing 19 times with each team averaging over 1.5 goals per game.
    Mousa Dembele, Danny Rose and Kyle Walker did not make the trip to Azerbaijan and should all be recalled, while Son Heung-min could retain his place in the side.

    Thibaut Courtois and Falcao are out due to injury. John Terry wasn’t able to train on Friday after being stretchered off with an ankle injury against Maccabi Tel Aviv, but Mourinho is refusing to rule the former England international out by suggesting his captain still has a chance of being available. If absent, Kurt Zouma will partner Gary Cahill in central defence.

    Ramires faces a battle to make the clash after suffering a muscular injury whilst training in Haifa’s stadium. Cesc Fabregas has recovered from a toe injury suffered in midweek, and the Spaniard is sure to face a frosty reception from the home faithful having used to ply his trade at Tottenham’s bitter north London rivals Arsenal.

    Betting Odds (bet365)
    Tottenham: 8/5
    Draw: 5/2
    Chelsea: 9/5
    Match Prediction

    With Chelsea in disarray in recent weeks, it would be easy to suggest that Spurs will run away with victory against Mourinho’s side, however, the Lilywhites must go into the clash as favourites. The Blues finally showed some battling qualities as they overcame Norwich last weekend, which could fire up their confidence.
    The north Londoners finally have a settled team and are playing a wonderful brand of football. Pochettino’s team run themselves into the ground, and with Kane is in scintillating form, I feel Chelsea will struggle to come to terms with the all-round strength of their opposition.

    Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Chelsea (20/1 with bet365)
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    Item Reviewed: Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea: Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Tom Regan
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