Preview: Tottenham v. Chelsea in London derby

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  • Chelsea remain unbeaten this season
  • Spurs 4th, Chelsea 3rd in PL table
  • Chelsea have won 2 of last 12 PL games at Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur host Chelsea in a big London derby on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) with both teams eager to kick on this season and push for the Premier League title.

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While a top four berth is more likely for both, Chelsea have shown under Maurizio Sarri that they are capable of hanging with Manchester City and Liverpool as genuine title contenders. As for Spurs, Mauricio Pochettino hasn’t been too pleased with the nature of their performances but their young team continue to grind out wins which is an impressive skill to have when you aren’t at your best.

There is no love lost in this particular London derby. Expect hefty challenges and an intense battle at Wembley.

In team news Spurs have plenty of injury concerns with Mousa Dembele, Danny Rose and Davinson Sanchez out but Jan Vertonghen is available after recovering from a hamstring injury. Christian Eriksen is also pushing for a full return.

Chelsea have Mateo Kovacic available again, while Sarri has several small injury issues to asses over the next 24 hours.


What they’re saying…

Mauricio Pochettino on international action impacting Spurs’ squad: “I was talking with Harry [Kane] a few days ago — England were playing a very competitive game against Croatia. Yes, of course I am concerned. We’re going to finish competing on May 12 and we hope to be in the FA Cup or Champions League Final. They then arrive back here and they’re excited to train, but they need to relax. We put a lot of emphasis on looking after them but, in the end, when the competition arrives, the competition does not wait for you. And who pays? The club.”

Maurizio Sarri on Chelsea’s title hopes: “At the moment, in the Premier League there is a team above the others. This team is Manchester City. Then there is a very good team, Liverpool, and for sure, they will be in the first four positions. Then there are four or five teams who will have to fight for the Champions League places: Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United and maybe somebody else. Usually in a season there is a surprise. We have to work very hard just to try to recover the gap but, at the moment, the gap is still there.”


Prediction

As you can see from the preview video above, I’ve gone for a 2-1 win to Tottenham and that is genuinely an upset. Anybody who has watched Spurs play this season knows they have been struggling through injuries and a World Cup hangover for most of their squad, but somehow they keep grinding out results. Chelsea is unbeaten under Maurizio Sarri but there have been some cracks appearing in recent weeks. I fancy Harry Kane to get the better of this Chelsea defense. 2-1 to Spurs.