Tottenham look to strengthen top four ambitions at Stamford Bridge


Tottenham Hotspur travel to Stamford Bridge demanding a reaction from their surprise 2-1 defeat at Turf Moor against Burnley on Saturday. Chelsea will also be keen to get back to winning ways after being defeated on penalties in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday as neither side could break the deadlock after 120 minutes.

The Blues beat Spurs on penalties in the semi-final of that competition but couldn’t overcome Manchester City as scenes around Kepa Arrizabalaga marred an otherwise much-improved Chelsea display.

Kepa refused to be substituted when called off by manager Maurizio Sarri, leading the Chelsea boss to almost storming off down the tunnel. The Chelsea boss claimed the incident was ‘misunderstood’ after the game although Chelsea later fined the ‘keeper. It remains to be seen whether the Spanish keeper will be dropped for Willy Caballero, although player power has often been the greatest force at Chelsea.

England pals Eric Dier (tonsillitis) and Dele Alli (hamstring) are both unavailable, with Spurs hopeful they can feature in upcoming fixtures.

Should Tottenham lose, rivals Arsenal and Chelsea will start to close the gap on the top four places, a position you would have expected Mauricio Pochettino’s team to easily achieve pre-Burnley.

Pochettino has won four times against Chelsea as Tottenham manager, more than all other Spurs Premier League managers combined (Martin Jol once and Harry Redknapp twice).

The north London derby looms at the weekend for Spurs, a fixture that often sees form go out the window, before a trip to Germany where Tottenham should secure their place in the Champions League quarter-finals against Borussia Dortmund given their 3-0 lead from the first-leg.

Therefore, the next two weeks are season defining for Tottenham, Pochettino will be wanting to avoid defeat in the next three fixtures to see his Spurs side remain competitive in both the Premier League and Champions League.

Tottenham broke their Stamford Bridge curse last season, winning away at Chelsea for the first time in 28 years. Should they emerge victorious on Wednesday night, the Stamford Bridge hoodoo may be lifted once and for all.


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