Chelsea host Tottenham in the Premier League’s biggest clash of the weekend on Sunday. Not only this is yet another skirmish between two London clubs whose rivalry has become incredibly intense over the last few seasons, but it also represents potentially the Blues’ final chance of closing the gap between themselves and the top four.
So, will the west Londoners reduce the deficit to congest the pack at the top end of the Premier League, or will Sunday’s visitors claim a huge win to surge ahead of the outgoing top flight champions? Football FanCast’s writers give their verdict on the likely result…
I can see Chelsea winning this one. They have to go for the jugular to keep their faint hopes of making next season’s Champions League alive and I still don’t see this Spurs side as being able to get over the psychological hurdle of finally winning at Stamford Bridge. The Blues raised their game to end Spurs’ title hopes in 2015/16 and while they have had a poor season this time around, they’re in better shape now than they were then. The absence of Harry Kane is also a huge blow.
The fact that this is such a huge game makes it almost impossible to call. If Tottenham win, Chelsea’s season is over bar the FA Cup. If it’s Antonio Conte’s men who win, we’ll have a top four shootout with the momentum arguably on Chelsea’s side. It would also have Liverpool looking over their shoulders – who could well end the weekend four points ahead of the Blues, but having played a game more. Just because of what’s at stake and the fact that Chelsea have home advantage, I’ll cautiously plump for a narrow Blues victory.
I’m going for a draw. Tottenham made light work of Bournemouth and Swansea without Harry Kane but Chelsea are a much-different proposition defensively and Spurs are fighting the weight of history here, still awaiting their first ever Premier League win at Stamford Bridge. That being said, Chelsea have come up short against all their top opponents in recent weeks – Barcelona, Manchester City and Manchester United – and although I think they’ll do better on Sunday, the fact a point serves Tottenham almost as well as win in terms of Champions League qualification suggests Mauricio Pochettino’s side will be happy to hold on, especially if they score the first goal. 1-1.