White Hart Lane
Sat 28 Sep 2013 12:45 (Attendance: 35,857)
The main act is on first when it comes to this weekend's league programme. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton get the stage ready and light the lights…
The Premier League is currently presenting a decent impersonation of a horserace, with runners and riders hitting fences, remounting and catching up the leaders. Five teams have amassed double figures in points and every one of them has been beaten once.
Still, only the brave or foolhardy would heavily back any horse right now. At the same stage last season the leading pack included Everton, West Brom and Fulham, who wound up sixth, eighth and 12th respectively. Chelsea were top and Man United fifth.
Blues v Lilywhites, Sorcerer v Apprentice, fourth versus second sets up the biggest match of the weekend even if it is a 12.45 kick-off. Midday games, with their change of matchday rhythm, sometimes struggle to set the dancefloor alight, like a nightclub with the lights on.
Hosts Spurs are doing their best to bust a move by talking up their title hopes but there is ground to make up. It is now 52 years since Spurs last won the league - a longer period than Chelsea fans have ever had to suffer. The Lilywhites have been champions just twice since joining the Football League Division Two in 1908, three years after the Pensioners, who have won been crowned champions four times.
Chelsea's Europa League triumph last season means the Blues' 19-trophy haul has eased further ahead of that of our north London rivals with 17, five in Europe against their three. The White Hart Lane outfit remain ahead in the FA Cup, eight wins to seven.
Chelsea also have a remarkable record against Spurs in the Premier League era, claiming 23 wins to the Lilywhites' three and 16 draws, along with 77 goals against 36.
West London lost out three times in four visits between 2006 and 2010 but normal service was resumed with a 4-2 triumph last season for which Gareth Bale was unavailable. Underwritten by Bale's sale Spurs have added to the complements of Belgian and Brazilian internationals on both sides that day.
Since then the departures of Steven Caulker, Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore, and Aaron Lennon's injury have slightly diminished the British influence at the Lane.
Progress in the Capital One Cup was earned with the Blues' first away win of the season, but we will aim to bag our first away league goals of the season at this often happy hunting ground.
Saturday's match is the second of four successive road trips for the Blues. The fourth round cup draw did not bring any home comforts either, taking Chelsea away from home for the second time in the competition. The possibility of ending Arsenal's trophy hopes is always a mouthwatering prospect, but the meeting does complicate the diaries of both clubs.
Chelsea will have to deal with Schalke home and away, Man City at the Bridge, the Emirates, and West Brom at home in a little over two-and-a-half weeks spilling into November. Over the same period Arsenal will face Dortmund (h), Palace (a), Chelsea (h), Dortmund (a) and Man Utd (a).
Much was made (as usual) of Arsenal's youth in midweek yet the average age of the Gunners that edged out West Brom was 24. Chelsea's at the County Ground was 26.5, largely as a result of the inclusion of goalie Mark Schwarzer. At 40 years and 354 days the Australian became our oldest-ever debutant as well as our oldest first teamer.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Tottenham v Chelsea 12.45pm - BT Sport
Aston Villa v Manchester City 3pm
Fulham v Cardiff 3pm
Hull v West Ham 3pm
Manchester United v West Brom 3pm
Southampton v Crystal Palace 3pm
Swansea v Arsenal 5.30pm - Sky Sports
Stoke v Norwich 1.30pm - Sky Sports
Sunderland v Liverpool 4pm - Sky Sports
Everton v Newcastle 8pm - Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League top six|
|Big six mini league|
- Click on tabs above for more briefing.
This is likely to be a tight match, with neither manager wishing to cede ground to the other while their new teams bed in.
Tottenham's 4-0 Capital One Cup victory at Villa was an anomaly. They are not creating a great deal of clear-cut chances and their league games generally end 1-0 - five of the last six, in fact, with one a defeat.
Equally, Chelsea have not hit more than two in the league since Fulham in April, with profligacy in the goal area again an issue at Swindon in midweek. That comfortable 2-0 win came at a price.
Marco van Ginkel underwent anterior cruciate ligament surgery on Thursday and is not expected to return for six months. We wish him well in his recuperation. Ramires is also a doubt with a hip muscle problem. Mikel is the obvious option to replace the goalscoring Brazilian in centre midfield if required but David Luiz played a half there on Wednesday.
The Blues need to find the net at an away league ground for the first time this season. Recording two goalless away league games brings to mind late 2001/02, the last time the Pensioners were shut out three times in succession on the road: Liverpool (0-1), Ipswich (0-0) and Blackburn (0-0).
Spurs have not been creating a huge number of clear-cut chances but they have scored when they have needed to and have been taking pot-shots from everywhere.
They took their chances against a second string Aston Villa, hitting four, while Chelsea squandered several good opportunities to score more than the final total of two.
Spurs also have the tightest defence in Europe in these early days - one goal conceded this season in 810 minutes of play. At the heart of their meanness is Jan Vertonghen (pictured below), the outstanding player in an increasingly tall, powerful Tottenham team.
The opposition's physicality will not have escaped the diligent Jose Mourinho and may influence his selection; Branislav Ivanovic or Cesar Azpilicueta, who impressed on Wednesday; Fernando Torres or Demba Ba, or the smaller but increasingly sharp Samuel Eto'o?
Equally the Portuguese will know there are questions about the positional sense and decision-making of Spurs full-backs Kyle Walker and Danny Rose.
Eden Hazard may not have been at his scintillating best recently but is still always at the hub of the Blues' attacks. Andre Schurrle, like Hazard rested in midweek, could be asked to win the ball high up the field and prevent Rose going forward and crossing.
Christian Eriksen has been the new boy illuminating Spurs' season so far, with Lewis Holtby and Erik Lamela not far behind. The Dane is a threat anywhere just outside the box with his vision and probing.
Box-to-box midfielder Paulinho played in Corinthians' FIFA Club World Cup win over Chelsea last December breaking behind defence, while both Roberto Soldado's goals to date have come from the spot. Last season he picked up 10 yellows, often for dissent, and already has two in 2013/14.
Injured Aaron Lennon's replacement has been Andros Townsend, a left-footer cutting in dangerously from the right and briefly reckoned the successor to Gareth Bale in the match-winning stakes.
WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea are looking to extend our unbeaten run against Tottenham to eight games since our last defeat in April 2010.
Our 4-2 victory at White Hart Lane last season ended a winless run there in the previous six league games.
This cross-capital derby first took place in 1909/10 in Division One. Chelsea took the spoils of the first game just before Christmas at Stamford Bridge with a 2-1 win, goals coming from Jimmy Windridge and Joe Bradshaw.
Former Pensioner Percy Humphries broke Chelsea hearts the following April by scoring the winner in a 2-1 game at White Hart Lane that sent Chelsea down.
One of the most remarkable meetings at the Lane happened on Wednesday 20 February 1957. The Lilywhites were unbeaten at home all season and pushing for the title. Led by future Blues manager Danny Blanchflower, they were second-best but justified the pre-match favouritism of bookmakers by extending an 11th-minute penalty lead to 2-0, through Blanchflower, 10 minutes before the break.
In a sometimes fractious match, host keeper Ted Ditchburn was irked by the close attention of the Chelsea centre-forward Les Allen (a future Spur and father of Clive Allen). Just past the hour, while Tottenham's left-back Mel Hopkins was off the field for treatment, Allen compounded Ditchburn's unease by pouncing when he fumbled the ball to make it 2-1.
On 74 minutes the game was tied when skipper Derek Saunders (pictured below) tried his luck from 25 yards and gave Ditchburn no chance. Soon the Blues were ahead, Johnny McNichol rising to head in a corner from amateur winger Jim Lewis, and with 10 minutes to go the lead was doubled by Allen's 30-yard pot shot.
Terry Medwin pulled one back for the Lilywhites but the 4-3 turnaround handed Chelsea the two points.
Our last 10 away league meetings at Tottenham
2003/04 - Chelsea won 1-0
2004/05 - Chelsea won 2-0
2005/06 - Chelsea won 2-0
2006/07 - Tottenham won 2-1
2007/08 - Drew 4-4
2008/09 - Tottenham won 1-0
2009/10 - Tottenham won 2-1
2010/11 - Drew 1-1
2011/12 - Drew 1-1
2012/13 - Chelsea won 4-2
Chelsea v Tottenham in all competitions
Games played 148
Chelsea wins 62
Spurs wins 49
Head to head in the League at White Hart Lane
Games played 65
Chelsea wins 23
Spurs wins 24
Biggest league win at White Hart Lane for each team
09/10/1920 - Tottenham 5-0 Chelsea
06/12/1997 - Tottenham 1-6 Chelsea
Chelsea lost to Tottenham: 1,260
Tottenham conceded a goal in any competition: 26
Arsenal won a trophy: 3,052
Liverpool won the league: 8,547
Chelsea's defeat at Everton was our only reverse in 13 Barclays Premier League matches.
We have won three, drawn two and lost one of our last six away top-flight league games.
|Last six results|
|Aug 26||Manchester United (a)||D 0-0|
|Aug 30||Bayern Munich (Super Cup) lost 4-5 on pens||D 2-2|
|Sep 14||Everton (a)||L 0-1|
|Sep 18||Basel (Champions League h)||L 1-2|
|Sep 21||Fulham (h)||W 2-0|
|Sep 24||Swindon (Capital One Cup a)||W 2-0|
League games since
An away win: 2
An away draw: 1
An away defeat: 0
|Chelsea's next three games|