MX23RW : Friday, April 19 16:46:46| >> :600:12631752:12631752:
Nov 24, 2018 at 5.30pm UK at ​Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Attendance: 55,465
SpursTottenham Hotspur
Alli (8'), Kane (16'), Heung-min (54')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Giroud (85')

Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Saturday's Premier League meeting between top-four rivals Tottenham and Chelsea.

Top-four rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea lock horns at Wembley Stadium in the pick of this weekend's Premier League action.

Spurs have been in better from over the past two months, but they trail their opponents by a point ahead of Saturday evening's clash.

Tottenham Hotspur

Lucas Moura celebrates with Harry Kane after scoring Tottenham Hotspur's second goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers on November 3, 2018© Reuters

Despite the ongoing negativity due to matters out of manager Mauricio Pochettino's hands - namely the delayed move into their new ground and a serious lack of ambition in the summer transfer window - Tottenham headed into the final international break of the year on a high.

Six wins from their last eight matches leaves them in a strong position in the Premier League, through to the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup and still in with a chance of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League.

That five of their last six league wins have come by a one-goal margin, with the exception being a 2-0 triumph away at strugglers Huddersfield Town at the end of September, backs up Pochettino's point that his players have shown exceptional fighting spirit in the face of adversity.

The problem for Tottenham has been their home form, having collected just 22% of their Premier League points at Wembley this season - the lowest-such tally of any side in the division. Of the 27 points accrued overall so far, only six have come at their temporary home.

Victory over Fulham was followed up by defeat to Liverpool, while their slender win against another relegation battler in Cardiff City came immediately before a 1-0 loss to Manchester City in their most recent match at the national stadium.

With rumours that Spurs' new ground will not be complete until February at the earliest, and with three home games to come in the next fortnight, Pochettino knows that his players cannot afford to drop many more points in front of their own fans.

Either side of a trip to arch-rivals Arsenal on December 3, Tottenham have huge matches against Chelsea, Inter Milan and Southampton to prepare for. In what has been a strange campaign for the Lilywhites so far, this really is defining period.

The international break may just have come at the wrong time for Spurs, however, as they had put together a four-match winning run in all competitions prior to the two-week hiatus. Should that run extend to five matches this weekend, Spurs will leapfrog their city rivals into third place - not bad for a side enduring their so-called toughest spell since Pochettino took charge.

Recent form in Premier League: WWwLWW
Recent form (all competitions): DLWWWW


Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard celebrate during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Crystal Palace on November 4, 2018© Reuters

Despite many expecting Maurizio Sarri to struggle upon his delayed arrival at Stamford Bridge in mid-July, the Italian has hit the ground running in his first managerial stint outside of his native Italy.

Sarri, in fact, became the first manager to go his first 12 games unbeaten in the Premier League with the 0-0 draw against Everton a fortnight ago, surpassing Frank Clark's long-held record of 11 matches set at Nottingham Forest in 1994.

Not since 2014 have Chelsea started a top-flight campaign on a better run, though the Everton stalemate prior to the international break did halt them in their tracks somewhat, allowing Tottenham to close the gap to just one point, while Liverpool and Manchester City pulled further clear above them.

The Blues, champions in two of the last four seasons, have now drawn four of their last seven league matches, having also been held by West Ham United and fellow big boys Liverpool and Manchester United in the past nine weeks.

Before firing a blank against Marco Silva's stubborn Everton side, Chelsea had racked up five successive wins in all competitions, including victories over Crystal Palace and Burnley in the Premier League, Derby County in the EFL Cup last 16 and BATE Borisov (twice) in the Europa League.

With their progress to the knockout stages of the Europa League already secured, and a winnable quarter-final tie against Bournemouth in the EFL Cup to look forward to before Christmas, this is shaping up to be a memorable first season at the helm for popular boss Sarri.

Top of the Italian's list of priorities will no doubt by the Premier League, even if he has tried his best to play down his side's chances of not only closing the gap on Man City but also holding off a strong Liverpool side.

The good news for the West London outfit is that they have beaten Spurs on four previous occasions at Wembley - more than any club has beaten another at the ground - including last term's 2-1 success through a couple of Marcos Alonso strikes.

Recent form in Premier League: DWDWWD
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWWD

Team News

Christian Eriksen in action for Tottenham Hotspur on August 27, 2018© Reuters

Pochettino has had to contend with a number of injury problems over the last month, particularly in defensive midfield, where the quietly efficient Moussa Sissoko has been asked to fill in.

A number of star men are starting to return to fitness, however, with Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen among those expected to return to the starting fold this weekend.

Jan Vertonghen could make an early return from his hamstring injury, but Davinson Sanchez and Danny Rose are not ready to feature so Pochettino is not quite at full strength at the back for this busy period.

One of those back fit and firing is Dele Alli, who has scored five goals in his last four games against Chelsea in all competitions.

In terms of the visitors, Mateo Kovacic is the biggest injury concern due to an ankle injury he recently suffered, potentially restricting him to a place on the bench at best.

Should that be the case, Ross Barkley should once again profit alongside regulars N'Golo Kante and Jorginho in the engine room.

That injury aside, Ethan Ampadu - yet to be used by Sarri - is the only confirmed absentee for the Blues after the young midfielder was sent back early from international duty with Wales last week.

The big call for Sarri to make is up top, as Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud are both in contention to be given the nod through the middle, likely flanked by Willian and star man Eden Hazard.

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Foyth, Davies; Sissoko, Dier; Lucas, Dele, Eriksen; Kane

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Barkley; Willian, Giroud, Hazard

Head To Head

Tottenham have won three of their last seven Premier League meetings with Chelsea, matching the number they had won in their previous 49 top-flight encounters.

The Blues have picked up victory in just two of their last 12 trips to Spurs, though one of those came in the corresponding fixture in August of last season.

Spurs exacted revenge by claiming a 3-1 triumph at Stamford Bridge the last time the sides met, and they are now seeking constitutive league wins in this fixture for the first time since August 1987.

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We say: Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Chelsea

Chelsea have fallen off the pace slightly at the top of the Premier League because of a high number of draws over the past couple of months. Tottenham have quietly gone about their business, meanwhile, and could leapfrog their opponents into third place with a seventh victory in eight league matches, though that would mean beating the Blues in back-to-back Prem games for the first time.

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Who will win Saturday's Premier League meeting between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium?

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Harry Winks in action for Tottenham Hotspur on December 13, 2017
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