After the draw at the Stadium of Light, and tricky games against Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United coming up in quick succession, Chelsea’s six point lead at the top of table suddenly doesn’t seem insurmountable with Manchester City climbing the table swiftly. The Blues were frustrated by a gritty Sunderland display and were denied goal-scoring opportunities inside the box, something which they have been very lethal at this season thanks to the dangerous Diego Costa who will miss out on the London Derby on Wednesday because of suspension.
Tottenham meanwhile climbed up to 7th in the table with their 2-1 win over Everton, level on goal difference with North London rivals Arsenal and only two points behind 4th placed Manchester United. Mauricio Pochettino would have been delighted with the sixth win out of seven in all competitions and even more so with the reflection of his ideologies in his side’s display emphasized by high pressing from the likes of Harry Kane, Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason; the striker having a hand in both goals. The Argentine will be hoping for more of the same when his side travels 10 miles south to face the unbeaten league leaders.
Diego Costa picked up his 5th booking in the draw at the Stadium of Light and will serve a one match suspension.
Nathan Ake continues to be sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Etienne Capoue, Andros Townsend, Danny Rose, and Emmanuel Adebayor are all recovering from injuries and will undergo late fitness tests before the match.
Vlad Chiriches had to come off with a back injury in the win against Everton and will miss the derby along with Kyle Walker.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Courtois, Azpilicueta, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic; Matic, Fabregas; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Drogba
Spurs: 4-2-3-1 Lloris; Naughton, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Davies; Bentaleb, Mason; Chadli, Eriksen, Lamela; Kane
Last five meetings
08 Mar 2014 Chelsea 4 – 0 Tottenham Hotspur Premier League
28 Sep 2013 Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 1 Chelsea Premier League
08 May 2013 Chelsea 2 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur Premier League
20 Oct 2012 Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 4 Chelsea Premier League
15 Apr 2012 Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 5 Chelsea F.A. Cup
Chelsea have the best home record in the Premier League with six wins while Tottenham Hotspur have the third best away record with three wins and two draws.
Chelsea haven’t lost against Tottenham Hotspur in their last nine matches in all competitions.
Chelsea have kept 11 clean sheets in their last 14 Premier League matches at the Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea have scored a league highest 30 goals so far, three more than any other team.
Didier Drogba has scored three goals and assisted four more in his last eight Premier League games against Spurs.
Tottenham have not registered a single win at Stamford Bridge in any competition since February 1990 when Gary Lineker scored the winning goal in a 2-1 win (W0 D10 L17).
Tottenham Hotspur’s last five games in the Premier League have finished with a 2-1 scoreline.
Tottenham Hotspur have scored in their last 14 games in all competitions
Chelsea: Cesc Fabregas
Cesc Fabregas along with Diego Costa has been the best summer signing this season and his partnership with his compatriot has been one of the reasons for Chelsea being at the top of the table. Even though the Brazil-born striker will miss out on Wednesday, the former Arsenal midfielder will be looking to exploit a nervy Tottenham backline as they try to repel wave after wave of Chelsea pressure. Fabregas has is one half of the best central midfield partnerships this season along with Nemanja Matic and has already bagged a league highest 10 assists in only 13 games, well on his way to break Thierry Henry’s record of 20 assists in 2002/03. With an 89.4% passing accuracy in the league Fabregas has dominated games with his intelligence and movement, creating 43 chances for his teammates along the way, an average of 3.3 per game. He has completed 989 passes this season and will be looking to playing against Spurs, something that he relished during his time with the Gunners.
Tottenham Hotspur: Christian Eriksen
The Danish international has netted two goals in his last two Premier League appearances and is finally starting to show signs of the tremendous potential he was touted as having from his Ajax days in the past few weeks. With five goals in the league so far, he is Tottenham’s second highest goal scorer behind Nacer Chadli. The 22-year-old has created 25 chances for his teammates though he is yet to get an assist, while registering a pass accuracy of 83.6% and a shot accuracy of 53%. He was also monumental in his side’s 2-1 win over Everton with his defensive work down the left flank, and would be required to do more of the same against the likes of Fabregas to help out his midfield that will be stretched on Wednesday.
Though Tottenham have been on the upward curve over the past month or so, visits to Stamford Bridge are tough fixtures whatever form one may be in. Having had one less day to prepare for the match might prove vital when matches are coming your way thick and fast, and even without Diego Costa, Mourinho’s side are expected to bag all three points in the London derby.