Preview: Tottenham v Chelsea

Tottenham Hotspur welcome Premier League leaders Chelsea to White Hart Lane on Wednesday evening in what promises to be an enthralling London derby.

Premier League
4 January 2017
Matchday 20
Kick-off: 20H00 GMT
Venue: White Hart Lane (London)

Referee: M. Atkinson
Assistants: S. Child, G. Beswick
Fourth official: J. Moss

Head-to-head summary:
TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Tottenham 138 44 35 59
Chelsea 138 59 35 44

Previous encounter:

Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham 26/11/16 (Premier League)

Chelsea goalscorers: Pedro (45′), V. Moses (51′)
Tottenham goalscorer: C. Eriksen (11′)

Players to watch:

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Due to the ease with which Dele Alli has been controlling the Spurs midfield this season, it is no wonder the 20-year-old England man has been linked with a move to Real Madrid.

The link might be exaggerated, but the hype surrounding this player certainly is not. A former Milton Keynes youth, Alli quickly became one of the club’s most important players under Mauricio Pochettino, over the past two season.

And if he can get amongst the goals, like he has done so frequently this season (eight in 18 league ties), while also teeing up striker Harry Kane, then we will be in for an enthralling, and potentially high-scoring tie against Chelsea on Wednesday – Alli and Kane both scored two as Spurs defeated Watford 4-1 in their last clash on New Year’s Day.

If Chelsea do score against Spurs, then there is a significant chance that Diego Costa’s name will appear on the scoresheet.

The fiery Spaniard has an incredible 14 goals in 18 Premier League games this term, and doesn’t look like a player who has done scoring just yet, at this half-way stage in the campaign.

Costa’s last goal, in the win over Stoke, helped secure the win, with Chelsea twice pegged back by a combative Potters side.

Team form and manager quotes:

Ten points separates league leaders Chelsea with Tottenham in fifth place.

Both sides have been impressive this season, and while Spurs come into this tie on the back of four wins, and six victories out of their last eight games, the Blues have earned their place at the top of the standings, with 13 straight league wins.

Spurs have recorded two 4-1 results in their last two games, away to Southampton and Watford, as Chelsea thumped Bournemouth 3-0 before seeing off Stoke 4-2 on New Year’s Eve.

Ahead of the clash, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, who saw his side emerge victorious from their Stoke clash in determined fashion, told the club’s official website: “The Stoke game was different to the last one because they played long balls to [Peter] Crouch.

“For us it was very difficult to stop this situation, above all the second balls, and the free-kicks and corners to find him, but I’m pleased because I saw my players ready to face this situation. You have to fight every game to win, and the Stoke game was another great example of that.”

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He added: “Tottenham is another challenge, another type of football to face. They like to play from the back, they like to put a lot of pressure on when you are in possession. We have to prepare very well because this game will be very tough, for us and for them.

“Tottenham are a great team. Last season they could have won the title, and this season they have a stronger team. For sure we will see a good game.”

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, added: “Chelsea arrive in a very good shape, we too, and it will be a very tough game but a great opportunity for us to try and stop them and reduce the gap.

“I think it is important for the Premier League and for us that we try and win. Then our challenge is to be in the top four.”

Team news:

For Chelsea, only John Terry (Gluteal strain) is sidelined, while Marcos Alonso is a slight doubt with an ankle injury.

Charly Musonda, who has returned from his loan spell at Real Betis, where he played just eight times, is nursing a slight knock.

And Spurs continue to do without Erik Lamela as he bids to overcome a hip injury, but have an otherwise fully-fit squad to choose from.

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