The interruptions in our fixture list are now over for 2012, and it's a major match to resume the league campaign. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton prepare the way to White Hart Lane…
This is Chelsea's second successive away trip with a Saturday 12.45pm kick off, and both have been in north London. The Blues triumphed 2-1 at the Emirates with a dominant performance and decisive moments of flair.
Arsenal had not lost at home since succumbing 1-2 to Wigan in April. Spurs are undefeated at White Hart Lane since that same month, when Norwich won by an identical scoreline.
Leaders Chelsea have so far dropped just two points from a possible 21. Along with Manchester City, four points behind, the Blues are the only Barclays Premier League clubs yet to taste defeat. Spurs, though, have not lost at home in local derbies since 2007.
Roberto Di Matteo will have to negotiate this traditionally feisty derby and the ensuing three domestic fixtures without captain and leader John Terry as a result of the player's decision not to appeal the FA's recent judgment, fine and four-match suspension.
The other games JT will miss are Manchester United in the league and Capital One Cup, both at home, and Swansea away. The central defender remains available for the Blues' vital Champions League visit to the Ukraine to play Shakhtar, second-placed in Group E and could return to domestic action for the visit of Liverpool on Sunday 11 November.
Terry has of course retired from international football, but many of his teammates remain heavily engaged with their country - just six first-teamers reported for training at Cobham until midweek.
However, during the previous break there were just three. This time Juan Mata and Cesar Azpilicueta were omitted by Spain and Daniel Sturridge was regaining fitness, while Ryan Bertrand and Frank returned early through illness and injury respectively.
None the less, league matches following the FIFA-imposed interludes are always a test, with preparation reduced to a minimum and players often enduring long journeys and tiring match schedules.
Last season in the four games played after interruptions in August, October, November and February (an England match rescheduled from August), Chelsea won one (Everton at home), drew one (Stoke away), and lost two - Liverpool at the Bridge and West Brom at the Hawthorns, both upsets.
Nor will the workload ease up. This season there are further fixed international dates in mid-November before another visit to West Brom, early February ahead of the arrival of Wigan, and towards the end of March prior to the trip to Southampton.
Tottenham are similarly affected; symbolically, Chelsea's Eden Hazard replaced Spurs man Mousa Dembele at half time for Belgium against Scotland. Their USA international Clint Dempsey arrived back from games in the Caribbean and Kansas on Thursday. He was rested after racking up similar mileage during the previous FIFA break.
All that exertion perhaps suggests goals late on as players tire. In a turnaround from last season's bad habit, Chelsea have scored three times in the last 10 minutes of Premier League matches, conceding none.
Tottenham have managed the exact opposite, and are in danger of inheriting a pattern that was damaging to the Blues' last campaign. Going into January Andre Villas-Boas's Blues had conceded nine times from the 80th minute on.
It was one of the factors that contributed to Chelsea finishing behind Tottenham in the league for the first time in 16 years. Over the course of the Premier League the Blues have averaged 70 points per season, 16 more than the Lilywhites.
In terms of honours, last season's domestic and continental successes mean that the west Londoners now boast as many European and League Cup victories as our north London rivals and are just one short in the FA Cup. Chelsea have won twice as many league titles as Tottenham.
This season there are 30 points up for grabs in capital contests. As an indication of how treacherous they can be, already only Chelsea and Tottenham remain unbeaten in these matches. The Blues' only dropped points came in the derby at QPR.
|Premier London League|
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Tottenham v Chelsea 12.45pm - Sky Sports
Fulham v Aston Villa 3pm
Liverpool v Reading 3pm
Manchester United v Stoke 3pm
Swansea v Wigan 3pm
West Brom v Manchester City 3pm
West Ham v Southampton 3pm
Norwich v Arsenal 5.30 - ESPN
Sunderland v Newcastle 1.30pm - Sky Sports
QPR v Everton 4pm - Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League table top eight|
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WE HAVE HISTORY
This derby was first played in the 1909/10 season. Chelsea won the mid-December game at Stamford Bridge 2-1, with England's Jimmy Windridge opening the scoring. Spurs wrought severe revenge on April 30 1910, though, by reversing the scoreline and condemning the injury-ravaged Pensioners to the drop. Worse, Percy Humphreys, who had only left Chelsea in November, hit the winner.
Another 'old boy' moment came in April 2001, when manager Glenn Hoddle faced the Blues in only his fourth match in charge. As player-coach Hoddle had kick-started the Stamford Bridge revival in 1993. He had left White Hart Lane six years earlier, and Spurs had not beaten their London rivals since - hence the nickname 'Three Point Lane.'
The crowing was all Chelsea's again as Hoddle's plans fell apart in a first half that saw centre-back Chris Perry limp off (to be replaced by Anthony Gardner) and Dutch winger Willem Korsten shown a second yellow card by referee Graham Barber.
By then the Claudio Ranieri's side were ahead through Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink - his 21st of a prolific season (pictured below) - and Tottenham were unable to gain a foothold after the break. On the hour mark Gus Poyet doubled the lead with his fourth goal in three games, and Eidur Gudjohnsen added one in the last minute to send visiting fans home delirious.
Fortunes have changed in recent years. Our last six league visits to White Hart Lane have seen three defeats and three draws. Tottenham have lost only three of our last 11 meetings in league and cup.
Our last victory at White Hart Lane was in the FA Cup quarter-final replay in March 2007 when Andriy Shevchenko and Shaun Wright-Phillips scored for Chelsea, Robbie Keane for Spurs with a penalty.
Our last win there in the league came as far back as August 2005. Goals in each half by Asier Del Horno and Damien Duff (after Mido was sent off after 25 minutes) were enough to secure the three points.
Our last 10 away league meetings at Tottenham
2002/03 - Drew 0-0
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
Other matches last season
24 March 2012 Barclays Premier League
15 April 2012 FA Cup semi-final, Wembley
Bale 55 Drogba 42
Chelsea v Tottenham in all competitions
Games played 146
Chelsea wins 61
Spurs wins 49
Head to head in the League at White Hart Lane
Games played 64
Chelsea wins 22
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 qualified for the Champions League: 153
Tottenham qualified for the Europa League: 153
Arsenal won a trophy: 2,709
Liverpool won the league: 8,204
Visit again tomorrow for part two of the Pre-Match Briefing.