Stamford Bridge, December 3, 2014 Wednesday
8/1 Tottenham Hotspur
11/4 Draw Odds
A season which is in danger of becoming a procession became a little more interesting over the weekend with Chelsea dropping points at Sunderland and Manchester City putting in arguably their strongest performance of the season in winning at Southampton. The gap at the top is now six points and although Chelsea must still be considered big title favourites, maybe, just maybe, the contest will still actually be a contest in the spring.
Chelsea's Diego Costa is suspended after picking up a fifth yellow card on Saturday and is likely to be replaced by either Loic Remy or Didier Drogba. Defender Nathan Ake (hamstring) missed the weekend game at Sunderland and is unlikely to be included. Tottenham defender Kyle Naughton is available after a two-match ban. Emmanuel Adebayor faces a late fitness test after a virus and a back problem, while Etienne Capoue and Danny Rose are also struggling with knocks.
At times Chelsea have seemed so far ahead of the rest that a draw at the Stadium of Light, rarely an easy place to go, seemed a major surprise. Not only did Chelsea not win, they didn't score for the first time in a league game since 4 May. A fifth yellow card of the season for Diego Costa, ruling him out against Spurs, only fermented their disappointment. Chelsea will be hoping that Sunderland play as well against Manchester City on Wednesday night as they did against Jose Mourinho's side on Saturday; whilst Manchester City will be hoping that Spurs can really ignite a title race by getting something at the Bridge. Seasoned watchers of both London clubs will not be expecting Tottenham to deliver. Spurs' last win at Stamford Bridge was back in 1990, and in the 57 meetings home and away since then, Tottenham have won just five. It's a paltry return. Last time I saw Mauricio Pochettino's side, I was shocked by how poor they were in losing at home to Stoke since then they've put together three handy wins and have actually won six of seven in league and cup. Even so, the suspicion remains that Spurs under Pochettino are pretty much where Spurs were under Sherwood, AVB and, but for one year, Redknapp - that is not quite a top four team.