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    Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

    By Tom Regan

    Monday’s draw at home to West Bromwich Albion all but ended Tottenham’s title hopes for this season, in a match they simply could not afford to drop points.
    Spurs should have been 3-0 up at half time, but they were wasteful and lacked confidence, certainly in the second half.

    As Craig Dawson made amends for his earlier own goal by levelling at the right end for the Baggies, the home faithful realized their team had probably come to the end of the road in their pursuit of Premier League glory. Mathematically, Mauricio Pochettino’s side can still win the league, but the task is colossal.
    The north Londoners must move on and ensure they can secure second place ahead of the chasing pack of Arsenal and Manchester City.

    The Lilywhites have never won a Premier League fixture at Stamford Bridge, therefore Chelsea are far from the ideal opponents, but they will be keen to put their poor record to bed with victory.
    The Blues recovered from back-to-back defeats with a 4-1 thumping of Bournemouth, and they would love to destroy Tottenham’s title chances for good on Monday night.

    Chelsea are only playing for pride, but they will be highly motivated against their London rivals in a fixture they very rarely lose.
    Eden Hazard has endured a difficult campaign for the Blues, but his brace against the Cherries will have improved his confidence ahead of the important encounter in West London.

    Diego Costa has found his form under Gus Hiddink with 11 goals in 19 games since the Dutchman’s appointment, but is without a goal in three and his future at the club is questionable with former club Atletico Madrid said to be keen on bringing him back to the Vicente Calderon Stadium.
    The disappointing result against West Brom should not detract what has been an exceptional campaign for Spurs.

    Pochettino’s side are on course for their highest finish since 1990, and will want to prove they have enough in the tank to finish the season on a high.
    Coming away from Stamford Bridge with three points would be a fantastic achievement, and show the rest of the division they are a force to be reckoned with.

    On a sour note, PFA Young Player of the Year Dele Alli will miss the remaining three games after appearing to punch West Brom’s Claudio Yacob in the chest. The 20-year-old has been a revelation in the top flight since joining from MK Dons, chipping in with 10 goals and 9 assists.
    Team News

    Defenders John Terry and Gary Cahill are expected to be available for the home side. Terry is likely to be fit, although possibly not enough to make the starting XI after missing 10 of the last 12 matches with a hamstring and Achilles problem. Cahill missed last week’s win at Bournemouth due to illness.

    Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois completes his two-match suspension, while Loic Remy (groin) and Kurt Zouma (knee) are out.
    The north Londoners will make a late decision on Eric Dier after he suffered concussion against the Baggies. Dele Alli starts his three-match ban, while Nabil Bentaleb remains out with a knee injury.

    Head To Head

    The reverse meeting between the two sides was a bore draw when Jose Mourinho was still Chelsea Boss.
    The Blues have not lost a home league game against the Lilywhites since February 1990, winning 17 and drawing eight of their 25 meetings at Stamford Bridge since.

    In their last three meetings in West London, Chelsea have scored nine goals, while Tottenham have failed to find the net.
    Spurs have lost 25 Premier League games against the Blues; only against Manchester United (31) do they have a worse record.

    Betting Odds (bet365)
    Chelsea: 13/8
    Draw: 5/2
    Tottenham: 9/5

    Match Prediction

    A London derby is always a thrilling encounter, and both teams will want to win this for very different reasons. Pochettino’s side are still in with a slim chance of winning the league, so that is motivation enough, and it will be interesting to see how the visitors respond to the negative comments from some Chelsea players as they search for their first victory in West London since 1990.
    The Blues will be motivated by knowing just one point would end the north Londoners title bid and hand Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City the Premier League crown. It’s a tight call. Based on previous history, it almost seems laughable to think that the Lilywhites are capable of coming away with anything. But this is a much fitter, stronger and mentally tougher side under the guidance of Pochettino and I can’t help but feel Fabregas and Hazard may live to regret their comments.

    Chelsea 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur (10/1 with bet365)
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    Item Reviewed: Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Tom Regan
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