Antonio Conte’s Chelsea will face another significant test on Wednesday, as they head to the home of rivals Tottenham Hotspur looking for a remarkable 14th Premier League win in succession.
The Blues have surged to the top of the table after taking 39 points from a possible 39 in their last 13 games, with their most recent victory a 4-2 triumph over Stoke City on Saturday containing the attacking flair, determination and ruthlessness that champions so often exhibit.
Tottenham have settled into a groove themselves as of late, though, and they will return to White Hart Lane after scoring a total of eight goals in two victories at Southampton and Watford.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men will fancy their chances of stopping the Chelsea machine in its tracks. Aside from what’s at stake in terms of league position, matches between these two always contain some exciting moments due to the rivalry.
Here are the key viewing details for a contest not to be missed, the latest team news and a preview of what’s to come at White Hart Lane tonight.
Pochettino will welcome back Kyle Walker back from suspension for the visit of the league leaders, while Jan Vertonghen, having sat out the clash with Watford, is also set to return to the starting XI.
Conte left Nemanja Matic out of the starting XI for the 4-2 win over Stoke, the Serb’s robustness will surely be called upon for this contest. The Italian manager has no other fresh injury concerns, although he faces a difficult decision over whether to start Pedro or Willian.
Chelsea’s winning run will end at some point this season, and plenty have earmarked this trip to their local rivals as the match in which their momentum may be sapped.
That opinion has been given more credence in Spurs’ last two outings, when they slipped into a devastating attacking gear to beat Southampton and then Watford by a 4-1 scoreline.
Kane and Alli, in particular, are in their best form of the campaign.
They have netted three and four goals, respectively, in those victories and will be desperate to get at a Chelsea defence that did look a little shaky against the Potters.
Even so, you sense everyone in the Spurs side will need to raise their levels again if they are to get the better of this Chelsea side.
A run of 13 wins in a competition as unforgiving as the Premier League takes some doing. Indeed, what has been so impressive about Conte’s side is the different kind of victories they have managed to secure; the win over Stoke, in which they were pegged back twice, was another sign of their insatiable search for three points.
“When you win a lot, there is a great danger to be satisfied,” the Chelsea boss said after the 4-2 victory.
“To be relaxed and to think that, in the end, we’ve won a lot in the past, and a draw, if we don’t win, is not important.”
If Chelsea make it 14 in succession they would set a new benchmark for the Premier League having equalled the existing record of 13 straight win in the Premier League set by 2002 title winning Arsenal side.
Chelsea in the Premier League since losing 3-0 to Arsenal:
Most consecutive Premier League wins in a single season:
Arsenal (13), Chelsea (13), Man Utd (11), Liverpool (11).
Spurs may feel as though they have a score to settle with their rivals. Not only did Chelsea come from behind to beat Tottenham 2-1 earlier in the season, the Blues ended their title hopes late last term, scoring late to secure a 2-2 draw.
The north Londoners need to turn the tables in this rivalry.
They are certainly capable, although Chelsea, are so cohesive, attuned to each other and will be extremely determined to set a new divisional record.
With a full-strength side to choose from, it all looks Conte’s men will sneak another narrow victory to make history.
PREDICTION: TOTTENHAM 1-2 CHELSEA
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