Can Chelsea Get Title Dream Back on Track with Tottenham Visit?
With 12 points adrift of leaders, Manchester City, Chelsea will be hoping to revive their first Premier League title dream in five years as the Blues welcome London neighbours-Tottenham to Stamford Bridge on Sunday. The Thomas Tuchel’s side got the better of Spurs in the League Cup and would hoping for a repeat tomorrow. However, Antonio Conte’s side would be boosted by their dramatic comeback win against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium, midweek and the fact that they are yet to taste defeat in a league game under the Italian
Chelsea will be looking to return to winning ways in the Premier League when they welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.
Thomas Tuchel’s side suffered a 1-0 defeat to leaders Manchester City in the league last Saturday before drawing at Brighton & Hove Albion on Tuesday, which has left them 12 points behind Pep Guardiola’s side.
The Blues have now only won one of their last seven Premier League games during a disappointing run of form, but they have already beaten Tottenham twice this month in the EFL Cup.
However, fresh from a magnificent comeback win over Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur are prepared to renew hostilities with Chelsea.
Antonio Conte’s side were on the verge of defeat at the King Power Stadium on Wednesday night before a dramatic late double from Steven Bergwijn completed a remarkable turnaround.
The Lilywhites have given their top-four hopes quite the boost with that 3-2 victory and now sit one point behind West Ham United – who have played three games more in the final Champions League spot.
Weeks ago, the notion of Chelsea’s visit of bitter rivals Tottenham being anything close to a potential battle for the top four would have sounded strange.
Still, such has been the nature of their differing runs of form, Sunday’s Premier League meeting could be a huge one in the battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Clearly, Chelsea aren’t exactly fighting for their lives on that front but a loss would make things interesting. With their title challenge collapsing and Tuchel struggling to rediscover a winning formula, Spurs could take advantage.
While the German-born manager will take heart with how easily side beat Conte’s men in the Carabao Cup, Spurs’ dramatic win over Leicester City will surely give them confidence heading to Stamford Bridge.
Meanwhile, Premier League leaders Manchester City will be looking to claim their 13th successive league victory when they face Southhampton at St Mary’s this evening.
The Saints, who played out a goalless draw at the Etihad Stadium earlier this season, could move into the top 10 if they were to secure all three points on home soil.
After Raul Jimenez and Conor Coady put the hosts two goals in front, set-piece king James Ward-Prowse scored an astonishing 35-yard free kick six minutes from time to give the Saints hope of a comeback; only England legend David Beckham (18) has scored more Premier League free kicks than Southampton’s captain.
However, Wolves managed to restore their two-goal cushion and claim all three points when Adama Traore netted in stoppage time. That result has seen Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men slip to 12th in the table, 11 points clear of the relegation zone and the same number of points behind the top seven.
Hasenhuttl’s side also suffered defeat against Wolves on home soil earlier this season, but that has been their only league loss in 10 games at St Mary’s this campaign – drawing six and winning three of the other nine, a record which will give them confidence ahead of today’s clash with the champions.
The Saints will also take note of their resilient display at the Etihad Stadium in September last year when they played out a goalless draw, though many would argue that the visitors were unlucky not to come away with all three points on that occasion.
Another impressive defensive performance will be required today if they are to avoid defeat in both league meetings with City for the first time since the 2002-03 campaign.
However, since keeping a clean sheet against the Citizens, Southampton have only recorded three shutouts in their last 16 league matches, shipping 27 goals in the process.
Kevin De Bruyne haunted his former club with the decisive strike in the 70th minute to seal all three points for the Citizens, who now sit 11 points clear of Liverpool in second place, having played a game more.
City seem to be unstoppable at present and without a recognised number nine, Guardiola’s men continue to excel in front of goal, netting 34 times during their 12-game winning streak in the league.
However, the Sky Blues were unable to breach Southampton’s backline on home soil earlier this season, taking 16 shots on goal but registering only one on target. City have in fact failed to score in two of their last four league meetings against the Saints despite finding the net in each of their previous 16 against them.
Guardiola’s buoyant bunch will be anything but concerned about such a statistic, and having opened the scoring in more different Premier League fixtures than any other side this season, going on to win all 17 matches in the process, another potential opener today should give them the platform to secure yet another top-flight victory.
City are six points better off than at this stage last season, and another win on would see them move 14 points clear at the summit before Liverpool face Crystal Palace on Sunday.