Chelsea Host Tottenham in Crucial Top Four Battle


Chelsea’s hopes of finishing in the top four and qualifying for next season’s Champions League will be all but over if they fail to beat Tottenham at Stamford Bridge today. Spurs are unbeaten in the league since December 16 while Chelsea have lost two of their last three matches in the Premier League.

Spurs could have Harry Kane in the squad for the crucial match between the teams that finished first and runner up last season.

Kane was expected to be unavailable as he recovers from an ankle ligament injury suffered against Bournemouth last month, but he might have a chance of featuring at Stamford Bridge.

“We need to assess, there is still a few days to the game,” said Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino on Thursday. “It’s difficult now to say yes or no to be involved in the game.”

Kane’s return could be a major boost for Tottenham as they look to win at Stamford Bridge for the first time since 1990. Victory for Spurs would see them move eight points ahead of Chelsea in the battle for a top-four place in the Premier League.

“It will be a massive game for both teams,” said Pochettino. “When you play this type of game, the pressure is for both teams. History is history and is there, but it is not going to help. That is not what counts.

“Of course there is still a lot of games to play, this is not a final, this is not a decisive game, but always it is important for your confidence, your motivation. To win in Chelsea would be fantastic for everyone.

“But for sure it will be a very tough game. They are a very good team, and always it is tough to compete with them.”

Thibaut Courtois and Andreas Christensen are doubts for Chelsea. Goalkeeper Courtois sustained a hamstring problem before the international break, meaning Willy Caballero could deputise, while centre-back Christensen has been struggling with fatigue.

Defender David Luiz (knee) is definitely out, along with midfielder Ross Barkley who is set to feature for the club’s Under-23 side.

Pochettino will give Kane every chance to prove his fitness after suffering ankle ligament damage three weeks ago. Harry Winks will definitely be missing as he sees a specialist over his own ankle injury. Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 27 home league matches against Spurs (W18 D9) since losing 2-1 in February 1990.

Spurs’ 25 games at Stamford Bridge without winning in the Premier League is the most that one team has played on one ground without a single victory in the competition.

Tottenham have won more points in Premier League London derbies this season than any other side (13 – W4 D1 L2).

The Blues are looking to do their first league double over Tottenham since the 2005-06 season. They are also looking to secure back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since December – they’re winless in their last four against fellow ‘big six’ sides (D2 L2), although all of those have been away from home.

Spurs are unbeaten in six Premier League away games (W4 D2) since a 1-4 loss at Man City in December.