Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview: London Derby with Europe on the line

Chelsea host another of the Premier League's big wigs this weekend, Tottenham Hotspurs, making the short journey across London, just four days after welcoming Manchester United to Stamford Bridge on Monday.

United ran out 2-0 victors in that tie, leaving Frank Lampard in what seems a must win game if the Blues are to book their ticket into the Champions League next season, especially with Spurs heavily breathing down their neck, just a point and place behind Chelsea. 

Jose Mourinho will return to the stadium where he is still herald as a hero, standing in the opposing dugout to a man he won numerous titles alongside; now they will pit their wits against each other again as rival coaches.

Form

That loss to United was only Chelsea's second in nine fixtures across all competitions, having drawn with fellow European hopefuls Leicester City in the last match before the winter break. 

However, the Blues league form makes for unpleasant reading; just four wins from 13 has halted their progress in cementing their Champions League spot, keeping just two clean sheets in that period. 

Lampard can take some security in the fact they have already beaten Spurs in that run, as well as fellow local rivals Arsenal and taken points from the Foxes. 

Spurs had entered arguably their best form since Mourinho arrived, undefeated in seven, before failing to break down RB Leipzig at the Tottenham Hotspurs stadium on Wednesday evening in the last 16 of the most coveted prize in club football. 

Their last loss in the league came against the runaway leaders Liverpool on the 11th of January; since then they have defeated the current holders Manchester City, as well as recording late victories over strugglers Norwich and Aston Villa. 

From eight to fifth in that time frame- amassing ten points- has thrown Spurs right back into the hunt for Europe and will be seeking revenge against Chelsea on the weekend. 

Head to head

As already mentioned, Chelsea have an advantage over their neighbours this campaign, winning 2-0 away from home in late December, thanks to a Willian double.

Chelsea have now won their previous three meetings with Spurs, twice in the league and once in the League Cup, only after being on the receiving end of a trio of defeats themselves. 

Expect one side to come claim all three points in this one; there have only been two draws between the pair since 2013, both occurring in 2015/16, the year when Mourinho was dismissed as the Blues boss. 

Spurs have only recorded two wins at the Bridge since 2008, their most harrowing result coming in the year of Mourinho's exit when they were on the brink of clinching the Premier League, only for Chelsea to fight back from two goals down to deny their nemesis league glory, instead handing the title to Leicester. 

Team news

Chelsea

Lampard has confirmed he will be without Callum Hudson-Odoi (hamstring issue) and Christian Pulisic (short of match fitness), alongside N'Golo Kante, who picked up a groin injury against United. 

All associated with Chelsea will hope Tammy Abraham can reintroduce himself into the starting line-up- despite playing with a fragile ankle- especially after Michy Batshuayi’s less than convincing display against the Reds in Abraham's absence. 

Andreas Christensen's broken nose may cause Kurt Zouma to come into defence, as Mason Mount could come in for the injured Kante. 

Lampard will be boosted by the news Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be fit enough to make the bench on Saturday, following the midfielders achilles problem. 

Tottenham

Tottenham's biggest blow is the loss of Son Heung-min, the South Korean expected to miss the rest of the campaign thanks to fractured arm picked up against Aston Villa. 

Moussa Sissoko is another side-lined, missing since New Year’s Day and has required surgery on his left knee. 

Harry Kane is still on the treatment table, absent from December, but the club and England, are hopeful he'll play again before the European Championships in the summer. 

Managers words

Lampard

On feeling the pressure after poor league form: "I always feel it, because this is top sport. I thrive on it. I have enjoyed this week. It was disappointing to lose on Monday, but this is the challenge for us. Everyone probably wrote us off for top four. It is a process and the pressure is always there."

On his relationship with Mourinho: "Our relationship after working together changes. We're very amicable and respectful of each other but obviously we both want our teams to win."

Mourinho

On his return to Stamford Bridge: "No, not special, one more game. Because I’m a professional, as I’ve said every time I played my previous clubs, I’ll belong 200 per cent to my club. That’s it. The only different thing will be at the end of the game I can walk from the stadium to my house but even that I won’t take an advantage of because I’ll go back from the stadium with my players. I won’t use that advantage."

About being without Son or Kane, he said: "Sonny and Harry, they score the majority of goals that Tottenham score. This season was so negatively special that we’ll be without them both at the same time for a lot of matches. So yes, not for me, my achievement, but collectively for this group of boys if we manage to finish fourth without Harry and Sonny it would be something incredible, incredible achievement for the boys. So we have to give everything we have.”

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