Following their shock home defeat to Burnley on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season, Chelsea will be looking to put things right as they face fierce London rivals Tottenham at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
This fixture has produced some of the most exciting matches in recent years, most notably a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge which effectively ended Spurs’ title hopes as Leicester City were crowned Premier League champions.
While Sunday’s game certainly isn’t a title clincher, it is still crucial that Chelsea put in a good performance and get a result to ease the pressure in what has been a tumultuous summer for the club. That is easier said than done, with captain Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas both suspended and Eden Hazard still recovering from an ankle injury.
Chelsea did receive a timely boost as new signing Tiemoué Bakayoko was given the green light to be in contention to face Tottenham. Whether he is fit enough to start the game is questionable, but he will offer much-needed cover if called upon, with Chelsea currently facing a real midfield crisis.
Record signing Alvaro Morata looked like a breath of fresh air when he came on against Burnley and rewarded himself with a goal and an assist in what was an impressive first appearance in the Premier League. He is expected to make his first start.
The two sides last met in an FA Cup semi-final last season, also at Wembley, and this is where the Blues should have the upper hand heading into the derby. Spurs have a terrible record at their new temporary home, having won just one out of nine games since 2008. Wembley is everything that White Hart Lane isn’t; soulless and not very intimidating. It won’t necessarily feel like an away game, and if Chelsea play their cards right, this is the perfect occasion to make up for last week’s horror show.
- Chelsea have lost just two of their last 17 league and cup games against Tottenham (W8, D7).
- Spurs are unbeaten in 13 Premier League London derbies at home under Mauricio Pochettino, winning nine.
- Since beating Chelsea in the 2008 League Cup final, Spurs have won just one of nine games at Wembley (D2, L6).
- Harry Kane has 18 goals in his last 21 top-flight matches against London clubs.
- Christian Eriksen has been directly involved in each of Tottenham’s last six goals against Chelsea in all competitions (one goal, five assists).
- The last time Chelsea lost both of their opening two league games was in 1973 – with one of those defeats coming against Burnley.
- The last reigning top-flight champions to begin the season with two defeats were Aston Villa in 1981.
- Seven of Antonio Conte’s eight defeats as Chelsea boss have come in London.
- Alvaro Morata could become the fourth player to score in his first two Premier League appearances for Chelsea
Predicted Line-up (3-4-3)
Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Rüdiger; Moses, Bakayoko, Kanté, Alonso; Willian, Morata, Boga
Chelsea could probably live with a draw, but Antonio Conte’s men know the importance of this game to club and fans. Spurs being favourites could play into our hands. 1-2