A much-anticipated match in the capital city awaits this weekend, and we look at the key talking points and team news here…

Sunday lunch round the neighbours’ place always is liable to dredge up memories of past disputes, and few local rivals have had more than Chelsea and Tottenham.

The Blues travel to the Cockerels’ home needing a boost, and this is the west Londoners’ first 1.30pm Sunday kick-off in the league since mid-December 2018 – coincidentally a 2-1 victory over a Brighton side coached by Graham Potter.

The classic London derby build-up, where exhilaration and trepidation compete for supremacy, are much higher for Chelsea fans given the poor run of results. As disappointing as last weekend’s home loss to Southampton was, though, in some ways it had everything but the goal – all that was missing was the finishing touch.

Many in Graham Potter’s squad have played fine football in patches and created sufficient chances. Yet for the expected goals metric Chelsea currently rank 13th.

Spurs, meanwhile, lost four of their previous five home league games before beating Manchester City and West Ham, and their FA Cup quest takes them to Sheffield United on Wednesday.

Despite setbacks, Chelsea remain 10th in the Premier League with 15 fixtures to go – plenty of time for the emerging team to discover its mojo. The Blues have an exceptional record at the Lilywhites’ lair too, and could extend our unbeaten league run against them to nine games this weekend. An away win would complete four in a row in the league on their territory for the first time in our history.

On the anniversary of the full scale invasion of Ukraine, to show the continued Premier League-wide support to the people of that country, the usual captains’ armbands for this weekend’s games will be replaced with an armband of blue and yellow.

Chelsea team news

Our home defeat to Southampton, the first at the Bridge this season to a team below second in the table, left the Blues still 10th with 15 matches to go. The reassurance that should not be underestimated is that Chelsea have still quietly assembled the second-best defensive record in the top flight (23 conceded), bettered only by Newcastle United (15).

It is a platform on which to build when the goals at the other end finally start to flow. As a result of that resilience, Chelsea’s xG goal difference (the different between great chances for and against) is -1.2 rather than the minus double-figures of the bottom six.

Even in Saturday’s loss there were bright moments from the powerful David Fofana and sprightly Noni Madueke, with Raheem Sterling and the returning Wes Fofana adding coherence after the break.

Graham Potter will now hope to reap the reward of resting Marc Cucurella, Reece James, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Thiago Silva and Hakim Ziyech, and starting Kai Havertz, Mykhailo Mudryk and Sterling on the bench.

Cesar Azpilicueta has been monitored for concussion since being kicked in the head by Southampton’s Sekou Mara. Apart from Armando Broja and Edou Mendy, Potter may soon have all of his squad available, including the long-absent N’Golo Kante and Christian Pulisic.

Chelsea are winless in seven away trips in the Premier League though few fixtures galvanise the Blues as much as this annual trip to north London. A morale-boosting derby performance would be as unsurprising as it would be welcome.

Chelsea’s favourite opponents (all competitions)

Tottenham 77 wins
Newcastle 76
Everton 75
Man City 71
Arsenal 66
Aston Villa 66
Liverpool 65

Scouting the opposition – Tottenham

The middle of the park potentially presents the biggest headache for recuperating Antonio Conte, Chelsea’s 2017 title-winning coach, and his pitch-side representatives Cristian Stellini and Ryan Mason.

With Ryan Sessegnon out of the reckoning, Ben Davies was preferred to Ivan Perisic in a more advanced role for the first time under the Italian and set up fellow wing-back Emerson Royal’s opener in Sunday’s West Ham win.

Sessegnon is one of four Spurs players written off until April at the earliest, the others being midfielders Rodrigo Bentancur and Yves Bissouma, and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Before heading into a run of six games in three weeks, midfield anchor Pierre Hojbjerg played the full 90 on Sunday and has now clocked up 3,440 minutes for club and country. Pape Sarr replaced Oliver Skipp in a late cameo, but neither has the same ball recovery stats as the high-mileage Dane or the absent Uruguayan.

In goal, Fraser Forster has filled in for Lloris for the past three games, the 4-1 and 1-0 defeats at Leicester and Milan respectively, and the 2-0 win over West Ham.

Where Spurs are thriving is in attack, with the club-record goalscorer Harry Kane and substitute Son Heung-min combining yet again for the killer blow against the Hammers. However Richarlison, a standout for Brazil in the World Cup, has only started six league games and has yet to find the net in the competition.

Conte is winless in four against his former club but secured a draw in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge, with Harry Kane’s 96th minute equaliser – one of eight late goals for Tottenham this season.

Greavsie the great

Harry Kane recently became Tottenham’s all-time leading goalscorer, overtaking the late, great Jimmy Greaves. The 1960s marksman, though, began his career as a Chelsea Junior and arrived on the senior scene like a tornado on 24 August 1957.

Having netted the late equaliser in a 1-1 draw, at Spurs’ former ground White Hart Lane, the 17-year-old inside left instantly earned ‘superstar’ reviews. He would bag a remarkable 132 goals in 169 appearances over four seasons for Ted Drake’s youthful Blues, including an astonishing 13 hat-tricks or better.

That goalscoring bow at the Lane was no surprise to Chelsea fans in-the-know: Greavsie had scored 114 goals the previous season and his days at the Bridge would remain by some measure the most prolific of his career.

Jimmy Greaves’ club career



Goals per game





AC Milan








West Ham




Concussion repercussions

Cesar Azpilicueta’s health has been closely monitored since his head injury on Saturday. The incident led to the Chelsea defender being stretchered off and rushed to hospital.

It also made his replacement, Trevoh Chalobah, the Blues’ first ever Additional Permanent Concussion substitute (APC). In line with Premier League regulations originally trialled in February 2021, the Chelsea bench handed officials a green-coloured substitution card (the regular ones are white) indicating the concussion diagnosis, and Chalobah took the field as normal.

At the same time, Southampton were handed an extra white card to exercise their right to a sixth replacement at a time of their choosing.

Under the new rules each team may bring on two APCs per game.

Twenty minutes into the 2-0 December victory over Bournemouth it appeared Denis Zakaria might leave the field for the same reason, but the midfielder was cleared of head injury and played a further 60 minutes.

RIP Motty – the lifelong Blue

John Motson OBE, who has died this week aged 77, was not only a brilliant commentator but became a Chelsea supporter in 1957 when he attended his first ever football match.

Professional from the outset, though, he hid his allegiance from the public gaze. ‘When I got to “Match of the Day” in 1971 Chelsea figured in my first, faltering commentary [Liverpool 0 Chelsea 0]. Somehow my Chelsea loyalties were pushed into the background,’ he admitted in 2018. ‘It was essential that I sounded unbiased and neutral when I was at the microphone.’

If asked, he would say he backed Barnet, which ‘was not entirely inaccurate. I had grown fond of the club when I was a reporter on the local paper.’

To those who knew his true affiliation, though, it was doubly fitting to hear his eulogy to the Blues after the 5-0 evisceration of Everton on 5 November 2016 – a Premier League performance the veteran lauded as the best he had ever witnessed. Some praise, some broadcaster.

  • By club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton