Chelsea - Tottenham Preview: London rivals go head-to-head in top-four showdown
Andre Villas-Boas returns to Stamford Bridge for the first time since he was dismissed as Blues' manager last season as the race for Champions League football heats up
By Husmukh Kerai
Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole
Oscar, Mata, Hazard
Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto
Lennon, Dempsey, Bale
Chelsea should have Eden Hazard back after the Belgium international missed the weekend's trip to Manchester United with a calf injury.
He should replace Victor Moses in Rafa Benitez's side with John Terry likely to once again start on the bench. The Blues also have doubts over John Obi Mikel (shin).
Moussa Dembele may not start for Tottenham after he limped off during Spurs' win over Southampton, but he is in the squad. Lewis Holtby replaced the midfielder on Saturday and will probably do so again from the start at Stamford Bridge.
Aaron Lennon played an hour on his return from injury on Saturday and came through the game unscathed meaning he should be in line for another start on Wednesday.
Jake Livermore has recovered, but William Gallas (calf), Younes Kaboul (groin) and Sandro (knee) are all out.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Chelsea have won each of their last six home games in the Premier League.
- Juan Mata (pictured right) has scored three times in his last two appearances against Tottenham in all competitions.
- Tottenham have never won a Premier League match at Stamford Bridge in 20 visits.
- No player has scored more goals away from home this season in the Premier League than Gareth Bale.
- Jermain Defoe netted in each of his first two Premier League appearances at Stamford Bridge, but has failed to score in the seven since.
- On only one occasion this season have Tottenham failed to score away from home in the league.
Tottenham managed only four shots last weekend, fewer than any other team playing on Saturday or Sunday.
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Top 3 Predictions
Chelsea FC 3-1 Tottenham
- 19.27 %
Chelsea FC 2-1 Tottenham
- 16.22 %
Chelsea FC 2-0 Tottenham
- 11.08 %
|Premier League (EPL)||28 Sep 2013||Tottenham 1 - Chelsea FC 1|
|Premier League (EPL)||8 May 2013||Chelsea FC 2 - Tottenham 2|
|Premier League (EPL)||20 Oct 2012||Tottenham 2 - Chelsea FC 4|
|FA Cup (FA)||15 Apr 2012||Tottenham 1 - Chelsea FC 5|
|Premier League (EPL)||24 Mar 2012||Chelsea FC 0 - Tottenham 0|
|11 Dec 2013||Chelsea FC 1 - Steaua Bucureşti 0||UCL|
|7 Dec 2013||Stoke City 3 - Chelsea FC 2||EPL|
|4 Dec 2013||Sunderland 3 - Chelsea FC 4||EPL|
|1 Dec 2013||Chelsea FC 3 - Southampton 1||EPL|
|26 Nov 2013||Basel 1 - Chelsea FC 0||UCL|
The Belgium international has enjoyed a fine end to his debut season in the Premier League, and his pace, agility and trickery should prove a handful for Kyle Walker to deal with. The Spurs' right-back, who is more renowned for his ability going forward, might have to put his attacking inclinations on hold in order to guard against the Chelsea wideman. His best performances have also come at Stamford Bridge, Wednesday night is probably the last big ocassion for the Blues in front of their home support this term.
If Tottenham are to somehow record their first win at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, one suspects the PFA and FWA Player of the Year will play a central role once again. His 86th-minute strike rescued three points against Southampton after a lacklustre display from Andre Villas-Boas' men. The Welshman is perhaps the single most potent match-winner in the Premier League. Wednesday presents Spurs' biggest game of the season and all eyes will be on Bale to make the difference.
Expect a tight, cautious start to the match purely because of what is at stake. Rafa Benitez is unlikely to set his team out to attack from the word go while Andre Villas-Boas has often relied on his side's speed in the counterattack away from home. What might start off as a game of chess could turn into a end-to-end thriller in the second half, though, as both managers throw caution to the wind. Spurs' over-reliance on Gareth Bale might see them come up short on Wednesday, but it would come as no surprise if the Welshman does decide the outcome.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed