PREVIEW: Chelsea v Tottenham - Chelsea have another chance to extend their advantage.
Chelsea take on Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening with a chance to extend their lead to seven points in the Barclays Premi...
Chelsea take on Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening with a chance to extend their lead to seven points in the Barclays Premier League. As we know with London derbies, anything can happen. Chelsea need to be at their best tomorrow to win this one.
Any game against Tottenham is massive and the game on Saturday evening will be no different. Chelsea sit top of the league and will hope to keep up the pressure on Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal while Tottenham are chasing a top four position. This game could go one way or the other, it could turn into a classic or if could turn out to be a tight tense affair.
Chelsea picked themselves up last weekend to beat Fulham 3-1 away from home while Tottenham managed to grind out a 1-0 home win against Cardiff.
The North London side sit four points behind Man City but as we know City have two games in hand. In joint second are Liverpool and Arsenal, both sitting six points clear of Tottenham and Tim Sherwood will be looking for at least a draw tomorrow. Another defeat could really hit their top four hopes this season.
A poor performance against Man City at home, a great away win at Newcastle, a poor away performance at Norwich followed by a rousing performance after going behind at home to Dnipro, the away side haven't got that consistency in their game to maintain their challenge.
Roberto Soldado has struggled to find the net on a regular basis but Adebayor has sprung into life under Sherwood, a manager who believes in his ability. As we have seen before whether it's been for Arsenal, Man City or Tottenham, on his game Adebayor is one of the Premier League's best and we have often witnessed battles between him and JT over the years.
For me Tottenham's problem is still their midfield and the real lack of anyone with a natural defensive instinct. You can forget Paulinho tracking back with purpose, Dembele has natural flair and creative instincts but is no defensive minded player. Bentaleb the new man seems to be the same as Dembele for me so that leaves Sandro who let's face it, can't be everywhere to cover.
Tottenham haven't learnt from the days of Scott Parker in their midfield a few years back. In a similar position to Sandro, Parker became isolated in the middle and time and time again the opposition would get the ball in time and plenty of space in between the lines. This is where Chelsea have the potential to really hurt Tottenham tomorrow.
Lennon and Townsend are threats down either side and I have already spoken of Adebayor. Those three are the players that will cause Chelsea the most problems.
It's all about how Jose Mourinho approaches this one for me. We had some good news this week in that Eden Hazard only featured for around 25 mins or so for Belgium in midweek. He will be fresh and raring to go. How will Tottenham decide to cope with Hazard will be key. Will they man mark him?
Mohamed Salah hasn't had enough time to stake any sort of claim as yet so I cannot see him starting in this one despite scoring for Egypt on Wednesday.
Andre Schurrle's hat trick last weekend against Fulham has surely put him in the box seat to start on the opposite side to Hazard. It's what Mourinho decides to do with the number ten position that will be really interesting.
Oscar hasn't been at his best of late despite scoring this week for Brazil and Willian was rested against Fulham. These derby games are as much about taking the battle to the opposition and earning the right to win the game and I just fancy Willian's industry to get him the nod to start ahead of Oscar.
At the moment Chelsea's back five select themselves despite Ashley Cole's first half appearance for England and David Luiz playing against Brazil this week. It will remain, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry and Azpilicueta in front of Petr Cech.
Now we have the key area for Chelsea which will be our two holding midfield positions. Nemanja Matic has featured in almost every game since he resigned for us so he starts. Next to him is a toss up between Frank Lampard, Mikel and Ramires and I believe Ramires will get the nod to start alongside Matic.
Chelsea needs to keep Paulinho quiet and to stop the supply to Adebayor and Soldado. Matic's presence and Ramires energy will be just as important as any attacking threat we have.
Up front I am not sure who to go with. Fernando Torres has a score to settle after being sent off in arguably one of his best performances of the season at White Hart Lane. However, with Michael Dawson playing and his lack of that extra yard's pace in his legs, Samuel Eto'o could be given the start.
If anything it will come down to the fact that Eto'o played in midweek for Cameroon and while Torres missed out from the Spanish squad once again.
Jose Mourinho puts his unbeaten record at home in the Premier League once again as Tottenham come to the Bridge. With both Arsenal and Man City involved in the FA Cup this weekend, Chelsea have another opportunity to stretch their lead on those two tomorrow evening.
Can Jose Mourinho and his Chelsea players deliver the performance and result we are all asking for or will Tim Sherwood's boys come to the Bridge and give us a real test?
Only time will tell. Come on Chelsea!