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Feb 22, 2020 at 12.30pm UK at Stamford Bridge
Attendance: 40,608
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Giroud (15'), Alonso (48')
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Rudiger (89' og.)

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

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Saturday's Premier League fixture between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.

Chelsea play host to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday afternoon needing to avoid defeat to remain in fourth place in the Premier League table.

Meanwhile, Spurs make the short trip to Stamford Bridge having put together a three-match winning streak in the top flight, leaving the club on the brink of moving ahead of their rivals.

Match preview

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard on December 29, 2019© Reuters

When Chelsea picked up 10 points from five Premier League fixtures either side of the turn of the year, it appeared likely that Frank Lampard and his side would continue on an upward trajectory during the second half of the campaign.

However, after four matches without success, the Blues find themselves at risk of losing fourth spot, while there is only a five-point gap between the West Londoners and ninth-placed Everton.

The gradually decreasing margin for error means that the pressure is now on Lampard, who will also have one eye on the upcoming Champions League double-header with Bayern Munich.

As he has already acknowledged, Lampard again had to point to Chelsea's failure to take their chances against Manchester United on Monday night - a game where his team were arguably on the wrong end of several refereeing and VAR decisions.

Nevertheless, Michy Batshuayi was unable to take his opportunity in the absence of the injured Tammy Abraham, who Lampard will be hoping is ready to return from an ankle injury this weekend.

Chelsea's Tammy Abraham pictured on December 4, 2019© Reuters

Nevertheless, Chelsea also have significant problems at the other end of the pitch, with seven goals being conceded in their last four top-flight contests, including two from set pieces.

Shipping goals from dead-ball situations hurt Lampard and his team earlier in the campaign, and there are signs that the indecisiveness which plagued them during the early months have returned.

Keeping just one clean sheet in eight league matches leaves Lampard to contemplate reverting to a back three - a strategy which proved to be successful against Spurs two months ago.

That said, the element of surprise has disappeared regarding Lampard's traits as a manager, putting the Englishman in a position where he must evolve if he wishes to have the longevity of his opposite number and former mentor.

Jose Mourinho has been left delighted with the recent performances of his team, who have collected 10 points from their most recent four matches in the Premier League.

However, Son Heung-min's broken arm has the potential to derail Spurs' efforts in their two priority competitions, especially with Harry Kane still two months away from a return.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho reacts on February 2, 2020© Reuters

With a gap of under 65 hours between Wednesday's defeat to RB Leipzig and Saturday's encounter, Mourinho has been quick to allude to the short turnaround at a time when some of his star men are short of fitness.

That will undoubtedly play a part when it comes to Mourinho's team selection at the weekend, with any player who did not complete the 90 minutes likely to feature in the Portuguese's starting lineup.

Dele Alli was not shy in expressing his frustration when being hauled off against Leipzig, but the playmaker may have been substituted with Mourinho open to using the England international as his frontline striker at Stamford Bridge.

Thoughts over a drastic switch of position for Alli will have made been easier by Spurs' struggles in the final third against Leipzig, a team who may have taken tips from how Chelsea defeated Spurs on away territory in December.

As well as an excellent showing from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, the main plus point from Wednesday night was the performance of Gedson Fernandes, who acted as a necessary link between a defence constantly on the back foot and a makeshift attack.

Whether the 21-year-old will be deemed ready for his first Premier League start this weekend remains to be seen, but Spurs fans will be encouraged by the Benfica loanee's display on the European stage.

Chelsea Premier League form: DWLDDL
Chelsea form (all competitions): WLDWDL

Tottenham Hotspur Premier League form: LLDWWW
Tottenham Hotspur form (all competitions): WDWWWL

Team News

Kepa Arrizabalaga in action for Chelsea on January 1, 2020© Reuters

With Willy Caballero less than impressive against United, Lampard could hand a recall to goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Providing that the Chelsea boss reverts to a back three, Kurt Zouma, Fikayo Tomori and Marcos Alonso may all feature in the starting lineup.

N'Golo Kante has sustained an adductor injury, leaving Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic to take on responsibility in the centre of the pitch.

Tammy Abraham is close to recovering from an ankle problem, while Mason Mount could take the spot of Pedro.

There could also be mass changes to the Spurs side with Japhet Tanganga, Eric Dier and Tanguy Ndombele all in line for a recall.

Should Alli start down the middle, Steven Bergwijn could feature on the left to accommodate Fernandes switching to the right flank.

Ben Davies, Harry Winks and Lucas Moura may drop down to the substitutes' bench.

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Arrizabalaga; Zouma, Rudiger, Tomori; James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso; Willian, Mount, Abraham

Tottenham Hotspur possible starting lineup:
Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Tanganga; Dier, Ndombele; Fernandes, Lo Celso, Bergwijn; Alli

Head To Head

Saturday's fixture will represent the 166th competitive game between the two clubs, with Chelsea registering 71 wins in comparison to 54 victories for Spurs.

The Blues have won the last three head-to-heads, the latest coming at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in December.

However, Spurs had prevailed in four of the half-a-dozen games preceding that run, while it has been 10 meetings since a draw was recorded between the sides.

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We say: Chelsea 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur

Despite having home advantage, it is difficult to back Chelsea in front of their own supporters these days. Spurs are also well suited to playing on the counter, and we feel that the visitors will register what could turn out to be a relatively comfortable victory.

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Spurs boss Jose Mourinho on February 19, 2020
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