January 3, 2017

Tottenham v. Chelsea Preview  (Sky Sports)

David Luiz and Harry KaneKyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen are both set to return to Tottenham's defence for the visit of Premier League leaders Chelsea on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports.

The Blues, who have won a record-equalling 13 consecutive league matches, can stretch their advantage over second-place Liverpool to eight points with victory at White Hart Lane.

But Antonio Conte is expecting a difficult game against Spurs, who have won their last four league matches following defeat at Manchester United on December 11 and should be boosted by the return of Walker and Vertonghen.

"Tottenham is another challenge, another type of football to face," Conte told Chelsea's website.

"They like to play from the back, they like to put a lot of pressure on when you are in possession. We have to prepare very well because this game will be very tough, for us and for them.

"Tottenham are a great team. Last season they could have won the title, and this season they have a stronger team. For sure we will see a good game."

Team news

Walker and Vertonghen are available after missing the win over Watford on New Year's Day through suspension while Mousa Dembele was rested at Vicarage Road and is also likely to start.

Erik Lamela is Mauricio Pochettino's only absentee. The winger is still recovering from a hip problem.

Conte confirmed Chelsea have no fresh injury concerns, while the head coach also revealed the problem picked up by David Luiz in the victory over Man City is improving.

Match stats

Tottenham have won just one of their last 13 Premier League meetings with Chelsea (W1 D7 L5); 5-3 on New Year's Day 2015.

Chelsea have won more Premier League games (26) and scored more goals (92) against Spurs than they have against any other opponent.

Harry Kane has scored 17 goals in his last 17 top-flight London derbies, including netting 10 in his last nine played at White Hart Lane.

In fact, of players to have played more than one London derby in the Premier League, Kane has the best goals per game ratio (0.78 - 18 goals in 23 derby apps).

The Blues have not won at White Hart Lane since a 4-2 victory in October 2012 (D2 L1 since).

This will be the first fixture to be played 50 times in the Premier League.

This will be Mauricio Pochettino's 150th Premier League game as a manager.

Spurs have won four consecutive Premier League home games for the first time since August 2014 (five wins).

Pochettino's side are unbeaten at White Hart Lane this season (W7 D2); their longest unbeaten start to a PL season at home since 2000/01 (13 games).

The Blues have won six successive away league games; they last embarked upon a longer winning run in September 2009 (seven games).

Conte has the best away Premier League win percentage of any Chelsea manager (77.8%).

If Chelsea win this match, they will equal both the Premier League and English top-flight record for successive wins (Arsenal - 14 wins between February 2002 and August 2002).

The only occasion of a side winning more points from their first 19 games in a Premier League season than Chelsea this season (49) is Chelsea in 2005-06 (52).

Merson's prediction

Chelsea are looking to break the Premier League record for consecutive wins in this match, but I don't think they'll do it because this is a really hard game. I watched Chelsea's game against Stoke for Soccer Saturday and they have weaknesses. Despite the record, I think Conte will look at the next two fixtures away at Spurs and Leicester and he'd take four points.

That would make them major, major favourites to win the Premier League. Remember, it can still change very quickly.


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