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Combined XI: Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Sports Mole selects a strongest combined XI from Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur ahead of Sunday's clash at Stamford Bridge.

Tottenham Hotspur can take a giant stride forward in the race for Champions League football, as they head to Chelsea looking to maintain - or indeed extend - the five-point advantage they have on their opponents.

The Lilywhites sit in fourth place and look good value to once again finish in the higher reaches of the division, having won nine and drawn three of their last 12 matches.

Chelsea, by comparison, have lost four of their last six top-flight matches and have failed to win back-to-back games since the turn of the year.

Here, Sports Mole selects the strongest combined XI from both squads, using only the players available for selection this weekend.


Chelsea vs. Tottenham Combined XI

The toughest call to make comes in goal, where Thibaut Courtois and Hugo Lloris can hold claim to being arguably the best two goalkeepers in the division outside of Old Trafford. Courtois is not 100% fit after returning from international duty with Belgium, however, and Spurs also have a marginally better defensive record this term, meaning that sweeper keeper Lloris gets the nod.

Both teams are comfortable playing with a five-man defence, though in order to cram in more midfield and attacking players, this hybrid side is comprised of a four-man defence. Marcos Alonso and Kieran Trippier have both excelled once again this season in terms of goals and assists - a combined nine and seven respectively in all competitions - seeing them selected at full-back over the likes of Ben Davies, Danny Rose, Serge Aurier and Victor Moses.

The return from injury of Toby Alderweireld gives Mauricio Pochettino a chance to potentially reignite one of European football's finest defensive partnerships, but Davinson Sanchez looks likely to start alongside Jan Vertonghen this weekend. Vertonghen remains a consistent presence in Tottenham's backline, featuring 39 times overall this term, while Cesar Azpilicueta is arguably the most reliable - and versatile - player in Chelsea's ranks.

Voted PFA Player of the Year last time around, N'Golo Kante remains a real force in defensive midfield for Chelsea and produced a superb display last time out against former club Leicester City. Much like Kante, Spurs man Mousa Dembele does not tend to chip in with goals and assists - none whatsoever in 2017-18 so far - but he is one of the finest deep-lying midfielders on the continent and would get into most sides.

In the likely absence of Harry Kane, and the mixed fortunes of Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata, choosing Son Heung-min as a false nine of sorts seems the obvious choice as the South Korean has seven goals and one assist in his last five matches. Selecting three players from a possible six or seven to join him is a tough choice, though one man that has to feature in any combined XI side is Eden Hazard.

An inconsistent campaign for Chelsea it may have been, but Hazard has impressed pretty much throughout. Willian, too, has stood out in recent weeks to force his way into the side, seeing him given the nod over the likes of Dele Alli, Erik Lamela, Pedro and Lucas Moura, while Christian Eriksen can add even more creativity from a central position.

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Eden Hazard and Gerard Pique in action during the Champions League group game between Chelsea and Barcelona on February 20, 2018
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Combined XI: Barcelona vs. Chelsea
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City1210203653132
2Liverpool129302351830
3Chelsea128402781928
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs1290320101027
5Arsenal1273226151124
6Bournemouth126242116520
7Watford126241714320
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd126242021-120
9Everton125431915419
10Leicester CityLeicester125251716117
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves124441213-116
12Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton124261318-514
13West Ham UnitedWest Ham123361418-412
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle12237915-69
15Burnley122371225-139
16Crystal Palace12228817-98
17Southampton12156821-138
18Cardiff CityCardiff122281125-148
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield12147622-167
20Fulham121291131-205

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