Everything you need to know ahead of the Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge on Saturday
Chelsea welcome Tottenham to Stamford Bridge on Saturday for the first time since they cost them the Premier League title back in May.
Spurs head into the game in mixed form after being knocked out of the Champions League on Tuesday night, but having emerged victorious in another London derby against West Ham United last time out in the league. Chelsea, contrastingly, have won their last six top-flight fixtures without conceding a goal.
Willian is a doubt for Chelsea after missing the game against Middlesbrough. The Brazilian winger has fallen out of favour at Stamford Bridge after losing his place to Pedro and has only sporadically made the bench since he was forced to miss Chelsea’s win over Leicester City in October due to a family bereavement.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has also been struggling for match time at Chelsea and England Under-21 level as he suffers with a back complaint, but could make his return to the bench against Tottenham.
Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas were all selected for thematch day squad, despite being injury doubts last week, while Kurt Zouma completed another 90 minutes for the Chelsea Under-23s on Monday.
Tottenham have a number of selection issues, with Toby Alderweireld failing to recover in time from a knee injury and reported Chelsea target Ben Davies doubtful with an ankle injury. Erik Lamela faces a race against time to prove his fitness as he nurses a hip problem.
Costa remains one booking away from a suspension after receiving four yellow cards so far this season. Chelsea could be without the Premier League’s top goalscorer for their clash with Manchester City if Costa picks up another booking against Spurs.
Chelsea have no other players walking a disciplinary tightrope, but Tottenham will be without Danny Rose while Jan Vertonghen is one booking away from a suspension.
CHELSEA POTENTIAL STARTING LINE-UP
Conte has picked an unchanged line up in his last five games, which is a Premier League first for Chelsea. He will do so again if he suffers no fresh injuries in training ahead of the derby.
On recent form, it is difficult for Conte to rotate his players and give minutes to experienced first team stars such as John Terry, Cesc Fabregas and Kurt Zouma.
Chelsea will once again use the 3-4-3 formation which resolved their defence issues after they suffered a 3-0 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. The tactical switch has tightened the Blues up at the back, while they have scored 17 goals in their last six games.
Tottenham are just four points adrift of table-topping Chelsea and are undefeated in the Premier League going into the game. They have played well against the biggest teams in the Premier League, having beaten Manchester City while drawing against Arsenal and Liverpool.
Harry Kane’s recent return from injury against West Ham is a huge boost to Mauricio Pochettino with his back up option, Vincent Janssen, failing to live up to his hype so far this season.
Like Chelsea, Tottenham are aiming to finish in the Champions League places, with anything else considered to be a bonus. Chelsea will be up against a team who press with a similar energy to what they have shown since switching to 3-4-3, and there may be scores to settle after last season’s feisty 2-2 draw, that was ultimately dubbed “The Battle of Stamford Bridge.”
Spurs and Chelsea have the most miserly defences in the league and will be hard to get through, but the Blues will face a stern test of their improvement at the back against the likes of Dele Alli, Son Heung-Min and Christian Eriksen.
BEST OPTA MATCH FACTS
Chelsea have won more Premier League matches against Tottenham than versus any other opponent in the competition (25).
Spurs were shown nine yellow cards in the last Premier League meeting with Chelsea – the most by a single team in a match in Premier League history.
Fabregas has provided 11 Premier League assists versus Spurs; one more would equal the PL record against a single opponent (Ryan Giggs, 12 v Man City and Newcastle).
TV COVERAGE & KICK-OFF TIME
In the UK, Sky Sports 1 will have televised coverage of the match from 17:30pm on Saturday.