Tottenham v Chelsea

Despite our excellent record at Three Point Lane — we haven’t lost a League game there since 1987 — this match could prove tough to win. Martin Jol’s side hasn’t lost at home since our last visit in January and has yet to concede a goal this season. The Dutchman has also strengthened his squad with some shrewd purchases, causing many Spurs fans and football writers/broadcasters to get carried away and predict a top six or better finish for the perennial underachievers. Only time will tell, but the words ‘false’ and ‘dawn’ spring to my mind.

For the first time this season Jose Mourinho doesn’t have a full strength squad from which to choose the team. In what can only be described as a synchronicity, the two players who openly criticised his rotation policy, Ricardo Carvalho and Arjen Robben, find themselves on the injury list with calf and foot injuries respectively. Wayne Bridge, who had recovered from his horrendous ankle injury but not started a first team game this season, has also picked up a foot injury and will not feature.

Robben’s absense is sure to be greeted with a smile by Joe Cole. The England international deputised brilliantly for the Dutchman last season and will be hoping to do so again, although he has more competition to contend with this season in brilliant new signing Shaun Wright-Phillips.

Petr Cech and Paulo Ferreira are likely to be recalled after being rested for the midweek demolition of West Brom, while Hernan Crespo will be hoping to win back his starting place after losing out to Didier Drogba in the same match. New signing Michael Essien is likely to keep his place in midfield after making a big impression on his first start.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to predict the starting eleven what with the wealth of talent available to Mourinho, but I insist on trying: Cech; Ferreira, Terry, Gallas, Del Horno; Makelele, Lampard, Essien; Duff, Drogba, J. Cole.

As for a score line, it’s pretty difficult to ignore our fifteen-year unbeaten League record against Spurs. I’ve not been overly impressed with them so far this season and cannot see any reason why they should beat us. Once again we’ll prove too strong: 0-2.

Related links:

Tottenham 0 – 2 Chelsea · Match Reports

The run continues — 31 League games unbeaten against Spurs.

See Del Horno and Duff’s goals here (downloadable zip files).

BBC Sport; Sky Sports; ESPNSoccernet; Sporting Life; ITV Football; Official Chelsea FC Website; ESPNStar (AFP); The Observer; Independent on Sunday; Sunday Telegraph; Sunday Times; The Times; The Independent; The Guardian.

Related links: