The fixture at Stamford Bridge last season between Chelsea and Tottenham Hostpur was one of the most fiercely-contested Premier League games in recent memory. On that fateful night in May, Eden Hazard scored a beauty late on to seal a comeback point for the Blues. More prominently though, that goal ended Spurs’ title challenge, and Leicester City were crowned champions of England.
The two juggernauts of London collide again this Saturday, and sparks are expected to fly again. On one side, Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea are on a six-match winning run, keeping clean sheets in all those games. From looking completely out-of-sorts and directionless in a 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in late September, they are now sitting at the top of the table. It’s been an incredible turn of events, and optimism is at a real high.
Spurs, on the other hand, have had a mixed start. They are the only unbeaten team left in the Premier League, but are still placed outside the top 4. Mauricio Pochettino‘s men exited the Champions League this week following a loss to Monaco. They may have been able to pull a rabbit out of the hat last weekend against West Ham, but this week’s game is an entirely different prospect altogether.
A record to shout about
Chelsea have won their last three home games 3-0, 4-0, and 5-0. They have been near-impossible to break down, and some of the best in the business including Manchester United and Everton have been completely dismantled. Spurs are next in line, but it remains to be seen if they meet with a similar fate.
The Blues have never lost at home to their London rivals in the Premier League. The last time they managed a victory at Stamford Bridge was in 1990, when Gary Lineker scored the winner. On Saturday, the former England striker will be hosting Match of the Day on BBC hoping to see someone else take that place.
Harry Kane and Co. must have thought they’d done enough to break that duck in May, when they went 2-0 up at half-time. Chelsea had nothing but pride to play for, and they displayed plenty of pride in the second period. Instead of trying to calm things down, Spurs tried to fight fire with fire and some rather nasty exchanges ensued. In the end, the visitors had nothing to show for it as the Blues fought back to 2-2 and ended their opponents’ title dreams.
Defender Danny Rose spoke before the Monaco game about the feeling in the dressing room that Monday night:
The feeling after the Chelsea game last season is one that I never want to feel again.
There were people upset, crying in the changing room after that game.
It’s a feeling that we never want to feel again as a football club. I hope everyone has learned from that and we are going to try to push on this season.
There is no doubt that Chelsea are favourites going into this one. The 3-4-3 system has worked to a tee, and their best players are all in form. Spurs, on the other hand, have flattered to deceive despite still not losing a league game. Christian Eriksen has been invisible, while Kane is still to hit form as well. They’ve been scraping through in the last couple of games, and something’s got to give at some point.
For now, it doesn’t look like Spurs are the team to bring Chelsea’s winning streak to a halt. They might score and break the clean sheet run, but getting a result at Stamford Bridge against the most in-form side in the league seems like a tall order.