AZPILICUETA: SPECIAL GAMES

Cesar Azpilicueta had yet to establish himself in the side when Chelsea won away at Tottenham back in mid-October.

He had started one game by that stage - in the Capital One Cup - and it wasn't until early November he began his first league game.

Since then the Spaniard has been a regular at right-back, making 44 appearances which has allowed him to sample something fresh in his career. With his first club Osasuna predominant in his home city of Pamplona, and his next one Marseille the football giant there, local derby matches were not part of his football experience.

Having this season started against all our Premier League London rivals apart from one, the 23-year-old is learning quickly about the occasion and if selected tonight he will complete the full set.

'When you play a derby the atmosphere is different,' Azpilicueta confirms.

'The experience is very nice because I never played a lot of derbies until this year and always against Tottenham it is a special game. It is always a tough game against a good team and we are both fighting for the Champions League so it is true that this game is very special.

'Tottenham have some good players with quality but they are good as a team as well,' he adds when assessing tonight's contest.

'They defend well and then do quick counter-attacks with players with pace. This is the action we need to stop but also play our game that we would like to play. We would like to play the ball, to go forward and try to play at our best.'

As well as establishing himself at Chelsea this season, Azpilicueta has also become a Spain international. That led to one of the more amusing stories from the last few days when French radio pundit Eric Di Meco fulfilled his part of a bargain by eating a rat on camera. He had declared back in 2010 he would do so should Azpilicueta win a Spain cap when it was suggested by others that was the player's destiny when he signed for Marseille.

'I didn't hear about that until the end of last season when a supporter told me that he hopes he [Di Meco] is going to eat a rat because he thought I would never go to the national team,' smiles Azpilicueta broadly, 'but I thought that it only counted for the European Championships in 2012.

'I have seen the video. He was a full-back for Marseille as well.'

-Tonight's' Matchnight Live' show on Chelsea TV is exclusively free to view on Sky Digital channel 421 (UK only) so make sure you tune in from 6.30pm.

The show will include exclusive interviews with Gary Cahill, Rafael Benitez, Gustavo Poyet and Boudewijn Zenden, as well as a flavour of the atmosphere from Stamford Bridge.