Premier League Preview: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea

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  • Since 1992, Chelsea have played 22 times at White Hart Lane. They won 10, drew nine and lost just three times.
  • In Jose Mourinho’s 10 previous full seasons as manager, his teams have never finished worse than the position they held Jan. 1
  • Eden Hazard led the league in chances created in 2014 with 92, and his teammate Cesc Fabregas led the league with 13 assists (ESPN FC)

New Year’s Day has a big slate of Premier League matches, and many eyes will be trained on Chelsea, which will look to increase its lead at the top of the table when facing Tottenham Hotspur at 12:30 PM ET, ready for viewing NBCSN or online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

Under the leadership of Jose Mourinho, Chelsea have achieved 14 wins, the most out of any PL team, and consequently lead the table in first place. Although tied for Manchester City with the highest “goals for” statistic, the men from Stamford Bridge have demonstrated the best statistical defense in the goals against category.

The Blues saw their four-game winning streak come to an abrupt halt when they drew Southampton, 1-1, on Sunday, while Diego Costa, who is second in the league behind Sergio Aguero with 13 goals, failed to make a scoring impact.

[RELATED: Premier League stats]

On the other hand, Tottenham Hotspur, and specifically manager Mauricio Pochettino as some believed, was not living up to standards in October, but since then, barring a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea on Dec. 3, decent results have supported the North London-based side.

A current five-game unbeaten stretch, including victories over Swansea City, Burnley and Leicester City, has Spurs nearing fifth place, only two points behind Arsenal in that spot.

What they’re saying

Chelsea defender Filipe Luis on squad’s performance in 2014 (Chelsea official website): “We are still top of the league and the first half of the season is over now. The second half of the competition is the more difficult one and we have to keep the level really high because we know it is going to be really difficult, but we are happy because it is not easy being top of the league for the whole competition until now.”

Spurs midfielder Nacer Chadli on past week’s results (Tottenham official website): “Manchester United was a difficult game. We showed patience and we had some chances but we have to be realistic also – United had the bigger chances in the first half and they played well…I think we have a lot of confidence at this moment, we had a good draw on Sunday and we have been winning games as well.”

Match injuries/absences

Erik Lamela and Aaron Lennon are both set to return fro Tottenham. Spurs defender Kyle Walker is still recovering from an abdominal injury, but could be fit to play. Danny Rose went down with a rib injury at the start of November, and Pochettino could favor him over incumbent Ben Davies.

Mourinho doesn’t have any injury or suspension concerns. With respect to resting players, Filipe Luis, Andre Schurrle and John Obi Mikel may sit out with Cesar Azpilicueta, Willian and Oscar taking their positions.

Prediction

Chelsea handily defeated Spurs the last time these sides met about a month ago, and the efforts of Christian Eriksen will likely not yield the attacking firepower needed to win. Tottenham 1-2 Chelsea.