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Spurs v Chelsea

PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: CHELSEA V TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

TACTICAL BRIEF
It's always a biggie, but tonight Chelsea v Tottenham could mean the world (well, Europe) to either club. Here's how the Blues might secure a Champions League place.

Key battles
Chelsea are defending far better in recent matches, with the midfield particularly playing its part to reduce openings. On Sunday Manchester United were actually prevented from scoring at home in the league for the first time since December 2009, a 0-1 defeat by Aston Villa.

Tottenham were unimpressive on Saturday when entertaining Southampton, who successfully stifled Spurs' pacemen and shackled the dangerous Gareth Bale until the last few moments.

As Saints left-back Luke Shaw discovered, it is one thing to know Bale is always going to push the ball onto his left foot and another preventing him from executing it. Either Cesar Azpilicueta or Branislav Ivanovic will have their work cut out at right-back.

The winner against Southampton was Spurs' only shot on target that wasn't blocked, and came when the wide man switched over to the right flank (something Ashley Cole must be alert to). He has scored in nine of his last 11 games - seven wins, two draws. The other two matches ended in defeat.

Unsurprisingly for an André Villas-Boas side, Spurs' play a high line of defence. It allows them to press the opponent in their own half and has caught opponents offside 112 times, topped only by Arsenal.

Yet it can also prove a crucial source of opportunity for the opposition: in the Europa League against Basel, for example, Mohamed Salah's goal and Jan Vertonghen's red card both derived from runs onto passes behind Spurs' advanced back line.

Rafael Benítez will look to his pacy forwards such as Eden Hazard, Demba Ba or Fernando Torres, and runners from deep, especially Ramires, to exploit this.

Torres

Should he feature, Frank Lampard is expert at finding gaps in a high defensive line with a first-touch through ball. Lampard, who has scored nine career goals against the Lilywhites, needs one to equal Bobby Tambling's all-time club record of 202.

Spurs play an open game but it sometimes extends to their own penalty area. Five of the goals they have conceded over the last seven matches were from corners, one each against Swansea, Basel home and away, Everton and Wigan.

Gary Cahill's thump from a corner also opened the scoring in our 4-2 triumph at White Hart Lane this season. The Yorkshireman will be eager to return to Chelsea's defence, as will another set-play threat, John Terry.

Bale missed that encounter as his partner was having a baby. Another absentee, Mousa Dembele, was taken off with a hamstring problem at the weekend, as was Aaron Lennon. 

Squad fitnes news
Eden Hazard is available again having sat out the Man United win following a tight calf and but John Mikel Obi remains out with a hip injury and Ryan Bertrand joins him due a minor knee problem. Oriol Romeu is back training after his knee surgery in December.

Sandro, Younes Kaboul and William Gallas - scorer of a handball goal in the 4-2 game at the Lane - are not expected to figure for Spurs. Lennon and Dembele are expected to overcome their niggles.



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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: CHELSEA V TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

CHELSEA STATS
This is the 36th successive midweek that our players have either played for the club or been away on international duty. The last clear week all the players were at Cobham training was the last week of August leading up to the Super Cup against Atlético Madrid.

The Blues are hoping for a ninth successive home win in all competitions. We have won 11 and drawn one of our last 12 at the Bridge.

We have lost one of our last eight Premier League games.

The Blues have opened the scoring in 24 Premier League matches which is higher than any other club. We have gone on to win 18 games and draw five. Only West Ham have defeated us.

Chelsea are 11 points better off compared with the corresponding 35 fixtures last season.

We have gained 12 points from losing positions this term. We have dropped 16 points from winning positions.

We have dropped eight points in the Premier League this season from the 85th minute onwards (Swansea away, West Ham away, Reading away, Newcastle away and Liverpool away).

Last six results
Apr 17 Fulham (a) W 3-0
Apr 21 Liverpool (a) D 2-2
Apr 25 Basel (Europa League a) W 2-1
Apr 28 Swansea (h) W 2-0
May 2 Basel (Europa League h) W 3-1
May 5 Manchester United (a) W 1-0

 

Premier League scorers
Lampard 13 (5 pens), Mata 11, Hazard 9 (2 pens), Torres 7 (1 pen), Ivanovic 5, Ramires 4, Terry 4, Oscar 3 (1 pen), Ba 2, Cahill 2, D Luiz 2, Cole 1, Marin 1, Moses 1, Sturridge 1, own goals 3. Total 69


League games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 6
A home defeat: 7

 

Chelsea's next three games
Sat 11 May Aston Villa away 12.45pm
Wed 15 May Benfica (Europa League final) Amsterdam 7.45pm
Sun 19 May Everton home 4pm

 

MILESTONES
Frank Lampard needs one goal to equal our all-time top scorer Bobby Tambling on 202.

If selected, John Terry will make his 550th start for the Blues and David Luiz his 100th start since joining the club.

Victor Moses next appearance will be his 50th for club(s) and country this season.


TOTTENHAM STATS
Formed
1882

Major trophies
2 League championships, last in 1961
8 FA Cups, last in 1991
4 League Cups, last in 2008
7 FA Charity/Community Shields (3 shared), last in 1991
1 European Cup Winners' Cup in 1963
2 UEFA Cups, last in 1984


Spurs have won 15 of the 22 matches they have opened the scoring, losing three.

Tottenham have lost 23 points from winning positions this term. Only Southampton have surrendered more.

They have gained 19 points from losing positions over the season. In their last four league games they have won seven points by scoring in the last 15 minutes.

Home and away, Tottenham have the best Premier League record against top-half sides this term, winning 30 points from 17 matches.

Spurs have won 30 points from a possible 51 on the road this term. They have won at Reading, Man Utd, Southampton, Fulham, Aston Villa, Sunderland, West Brom, West Ham and Swansea, drawn at QPR, Norwich and Wigan and lost at Newcastle, Man City, Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool.

Gareth Bale scored his 20th Barclays Premier League goal of the season against Southampton last weekend, the first Tottenham player to achieve that since Jurgen Klinsmann in 1994/95. That strike was also his 30th for club and country this season.

Bale has scored eight goals from outside the penalty area - more than any other top-flight player and 13 away Premier League goals which is also the most in the division.


Manager Andre Villas-Boas
Days in charge: 309
Played 51
Won 25
Drawn 15
Lost 11

 

Spurs' last 10 year league history
2002/03 50 10th
2003/04 45 14th
2004/05 52 9th
2005/06 65 5th
2006/07 60 5th
2007/08 46 11th
2008/09 51 8th
2009/10 70 4th
2010/11 62 5th
2011/12 69 4th

 

PMB

 

Last six results
Apr 4 Basel (Europa League h) D 2-2
Apr 7 Everton (h) D 2-2
Apr 11 Basel (Europa League a) lost 1-4 on pens  D 2-2 aet
Apr 21 Manchester City (h) W 3-1
Apr 27 Wigan (a) D 2-2
May 4 Southampton (h) W 1-0

 

2012/13 Premier League scorers
Bale 20, Defoe 11, Dempsey 6, Lennon 4, Vertonghen 4, own goals 4,Adebayor 3, Caulker 2, Sigurdsson 2, Assou-Ekotto 1, Dawson 1, Dembélé 1, Gallas 1, Sandro 1, Total 61.


League games since
An away win: 1
An away draw: 0
An away defeat: 2


WINDOW WATCH
Spurs major completed January transfers
Ins Lewis Holtby (Schalke, undisclosed)
Outs Carlo Cudicini (LA Galaxy, free), Heurelho Gomes (Hoffenheim, loan), Jermaine Jenas (QPR, undisclosed), Andros Townsend (QPR, loan), David Bentley (Blackburn, loan)


THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Mike Dean is the official for his fifth Chelsea match this term. He was the referee in the reverse fixture at White Hart Lane in October (a 4-2 win), at Southampton in the FA Cup in January (5-1 to the Blues), Wigan at Stamford Bridge in February (4-1) and Fulham at Craven Cottage last month (3-0).


OTHERWISE ENGAGED
There are no suspensions.

 

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