Tottenham v Chelsea, Premier League, April 17, 2010
The big question in the lead up to this match is which Spurs side will show up? The one that was stunned at Wembley by Portsmouth in the FA Cup semi-final last Sunday, or the team that finally broke their north London derby hoodoo with a fine display against Arsenal in midweek.
Whilst it may have been a week of contrasting fortunes for Harry Redknapp and his team, Chelsea are now running along smoothly and look destined to secure their first ever league and cup double. The FA Cup semi-final over Aston Villa sees them as red hot favourites in the final against Tottenhamâ€™s conquerors, already relegated Portsmouth, whilst their win over Bolton on Tuesday leaves them four points clear of Manchester United and six ahead of Arsenal.
Both sides will be following events from Eastlands closely on Saturday lunch time. If United drop points against City, Chelsea will be on the verge of their first title since 2006 and if Roberto Manciniâ€™s side fail to gain all three points Spurs will be able to reclaim the coveted fourth and final Champions League position.
After the win over Arsenal Harry Redknapp said of the visit of Chelsea: â€œIt will be another difficult game against a strong team but on the back of this we will go into it with a bit of confidence. We are in great form with six wins in the last seven in the league. The crowd will be with us again as they were tonight so it’s a game to look forward to.”
Redknapp will have a number of selection dilemmas following an exhausting week both physically due to extra time at Wembley and emotionally after the nature of both games. Wilson Palacios remains suspended and despite the win over the Gunners, the Honduran was missed in the middle of the park whilst Danny Rose, scorer of the first sensational goal against Arsenal, is set to miss out due to the injury that forced him off at half time.
Sebastien Bassong will likely be recalled with Ledley King unable to play twice in four days, we can also expect Peter Crouch to return after the beanpole striker missed all but the last few seconds of the win against Arsenal. Throughout the side, the likes of Michael Dawson, Gareth Bale and Luka Modric will have to produce impressive displays at the end of a tough week which has seen them play 210 minutes of football.
Carlo Ancelottiâ€™s team should be relatively refreshed and hungry for all three points after their largely comfortable home win over Bolton on Tuesday. The Pensioners have built up some impressive momentum thanks to five successive victories, scoring 18 goals in the process.
Nicolas Anelka scored his first Premier League goal since January against Bolton and the battle between Chelseaâ€™s attack against the Spurs defence will be intriguing. The Blues have already scored their highest total of Premier League goals in a season whilst the Tottenham back line is the meanest at home having conceded just 11 goals at White Hart Lane.
Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and Florent Malouda have all been in great form in the recent Chelsea run and the defence also appears to be coming together since the return of Petr Cech from injury after he missed the second leg Champions League exit to Inter Milan. The Czech custodian kept his 100th clean sheet in his 179th league game for the Blues against Bolton.
For so long, Spurs were unable to beat Chelsea and it became known as one of the most famous hoodoos in English football. Tottenham failed to beat Chelsea in the league between February 1990 and November 2006, in recent seasons however the Lilywhites have had the upper hand at White Hart Lane.
In 2007/2008, a crazy 4-4 draw severely damaged the title hopes of Avram Grantâ€™s Chelsea side and in 2008/2009 Guus Hiddinkâ€™s hopes of a Premier League title were all but extinguished by a 1-0 defeat at White Hart Lane. (1.90 to be over 2.5 goals, 1.85 to be under.)
It would be a surprise if Chelsea donâ€™t come away with at least a point but it looks set to be another ding-dong London derby full of action and incident.
101gg predicts: Tottenham 2 â€“ Chelsea 3 (23.35)