Tottenham vs Chelsea is one of the English football’s oldest London derbies, but only in the last few years has it become of vital significance, moving to the forefront of the Premier League.
One way or another, the rivalry has decided the last three title races, so Spurs and the Blues’ meeting at Wembley on Sunday could have an instrumental bearing on the final standings come the end of May.
In anticipation for the 4pm kickoff and in celebration of the Premier League’s 25th anniversary, Football FanCast takes a look back at how this fixture has fared over the last 25 years of top flight action.
Not so long ago, this fixture was once a foregone conclusion. Rather incredibly, Tottenham didn’t actually beat Chelsea in the Premier League until 2006 and the Lilywhites are still yet to taste a Premier League victory at Stamford Bridge.
Likewise, only 25% of the meetings at White Hart Lane have resulted in Spurs wins. Accordingly, returns for wins, games failed to score in and goals are poles apart.
The good news for Tottenham, however, his how dramatically the balance has changed in recent years; Spurs have won two, drawn two and lost two of their last six against Chelsea in the Premier League, including a 2-0 home win last season that put a small dent in the Blues’ title bid.
Down the years, the top scorer in this fixture has been Chelsea icon Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink, who took just eight appearances against Spurs to bag a staggering ten goals. That includes a perfect hat-trick in 2002 as Chelsea claimed a 4-0 victory at Stamford Bridge, the powerful Dutchman netting curlers with his right and left and a point-blank header in between.
Tottenham’s best representative is Teddy Sheringham with six who, rather incredibly, beat Chelsea just twice from 27 encounters throughout his entire career. The only current player to make the top five is Eden Hazard. Fortunately for Lilywhites supporters, he’s set to miss this weekend’s clash through injury.
A match Tottenham fans will dread seeing brought up, but it’s undoubtedly the fixture that has made the rivalry what it is today. Whilst Spurs’ 5-3 romping of Chelsea on New Year’s Day 2015 deserves an honourable mention as the result that announced Tottenham as a true title-contending force, it doesn’t quite compare to the notorious battle of Stamford Bridge, which produced a Premier League record of nine yellow cards.
Tempers boiled over as Chelsea came back in a game Spurs needed to win to have any chance of catching Leicester City in the 2015/16 title hunt, producing unsavoury challenges, fisticuffs on the touchline and one iconic goal from Eden Hazard.
No encounter between the two clubs has had more on the line, and no encounter has produced such incredible violence and drama in a true all-or-nothing affair.
Gus Poyet’s relentless supply of goals from midfield captured the hearts and minds of both sets of supporters. An affluent spell at Chelsea saw him net 36 goals in 105 Premier League outings, including a stunning strike against Sunderland, and score for the Blues against Real Madrid in the 1998 Cup Winners’ Cup final.
The Uruguayan’s stint at White Hart Lane was somewhat less successful, blighted by injuries, but he still notched up 18 in 82 for Spurs in the Premier League and became a firm fan favourite, later serving as assistant manager to Juande Ramos.
However, Poyet isn’t remembered too fondly by all Chelsea fans for one notorious incident – at the end of a 5-1 League Cup win for Spurs in 2002, he turned to the away Blues support and audaciously kissed the Tottenham badge.