Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur face off in the Premier League on Saturday evening in what is always a hotly contested London derby.
It is the first time the sides have met since the Blues recovered from 2-0 down to earn the draw that ended Spurs’ title hopes towards the end of last season.
The Stamford Bridge outfit have looked irresistible in recent weeks, racking up six league wins on the bounce to sit top of the table.
Defensive stability has been pivotal to their turnaround and Antonio Conte’s men have now gone over two months without conceding in England’s top-tier.
— NinetyMinutesOnline (@90MinsOnline) November 24, 2016
Given that the Blues are not competing in Europe this campaign there is little need for the Italian to rotate and the line-up here should be the same one that started against Middlesbrough last week.
John Terry has suffered a gluteal strain and is ruled out, along with Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel.
Marco van Ginkel and Kurt Zouma are both short of match fitness after recovering from long-term injuries, but Conte hinted that a return to senior action is close for the Frenchman after he rejoined first-team training.
Conte on Kurt Zouma: 'He's working with us, now… it's of fundamental importance to find good form and get the idea of our football.'
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) November 25, 2016
The front three of Pedro, Eden Hazard and Diego Costa have been in lethal form of late and have contributed 19 of Chelsea’s 27 league goals so far this term.
Tottenham have tasted victory just once in their last nine matches and will have to bounce back from the disappointment of crashing out of the Champions League thanks to a defeat against Monaco on Tuesday night.
— NinetyMinutesOnline (@90MinsOnline) November 25, 2016
Mauricio Pochettino made a number of controversial changes for that clash but they failed to pay dividends as his side were comprehensively outplayed across the park.
Kyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen were both relegated to the bench in midweek but should return here, with the Belgian likely to play at left-back in the absence through suspension of Danny Rose.
Regular stand-in Ben Davies is still injured, along with Toby Alderweireld and Erik Lamela.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 25, 2016
20-year-old Harry Winks has started the last two games and is expected to keep his place after impressing in central midfield alongside Mousa Dembele and Victor Wanyama.
After hitting a good run of early-season form, Son Heung-min has struggled in recent weeks and could be replaced by Christian Eriksen.
This encounter signifies a meeting of the two meanest defences in the league but with key men missing in Spurs’ back-line, the match could be won and lost in Chelsea’s final third.
Possible Chelsea starting XI (3-4-3): Courtois; Cahill, Luiz, Azpilicueta; Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Pedro, Costa, Hazard
Possible Tottenham starting XI (4-3-2-1): Lloris; Walker, Dier, Wimmer, Vertonghen; Wanyama, Winks, Dembele; Eriksen, Alli; Kane