Football

Clash of the titans at the Lane

Tottenham will go all out to deny Chelsea a record-breaking 14 wins in a row Giants collide in London Derby

TOTTENHAM v CHELSEA

(Tomorrow, 4am, Singtel TV Ch 102 & StarHub TV Ch 227)

History beckons at White Hart Lane.

When Chelsea visit Tottenham tomorrow morning (Singapore time), they will be seeking a record-breaking 14th straight English Premier League win in a single season.

But Spurs will be more than just an inconvenience standing in their way.

On the back of four straight wins themselves, Spurs will be all fired up to deny the Blues an exclusive slice of history, just like how they were denied by the same opponents last season.

Last May, it was Chelsea who forced a 2-2 draw between them, a result which ended the Lilywhites' title hopes.

Spurs midfielder Dele Alli is hell-bent on halting the league leaders, who will go eight points clear at the top of the table with a victory.

Alli, who scored five goals in his last three games, told the Spurs club website: "We're in good form and we've got good confidence. It's a good atmosphere in the changing room.

"This is an important win for us and for our mentality going into the next match because it's a massive game for us and it's important that we win it."

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said that the situation is making him feel what it was like to be in Leicester's shoes last term, when the Foxes defied the odds to beat his team to the Premier League crown.

He said: "Maybe we will feel how Leicester felt last season, when all the teams were with them and against us. Maybe now we are Leicester."

Despite so much riding on the game, Chelsea are claiming that they will be treating this match just like any other.

COSTA HAILS CONTE

Defender Gary Cahill told Chelsea TV: "It's not like all week we've been saying, 'We want this record'.

"We've just kept going. And that's the right mentality to have. Being aware of the record and wanting to achieve it, there's nothing wrong with that. I want to achieve it.

"Every player wants to be a part of records - I'm not shy about saying that - but it's not something we speak about. We just have to keep focused on the job that we're doing."

Striker Diego Costa, who is the league's top scorer with 14 goals this season, said that Chelsea's impressive form this season is down to manager Antonio Conte's close relationship with the squad.

"The manager has come, he's applied his ideas and things are going well," the 28-year-old striker told the British media.

"The truth is the manager is good with the players, every time making more jokes with us.

"That's good for us, to have a manager who is not just a boss, but also someone we can talk with, someone whose support we can count on in difficult moments."

Although spared from the 48-hour turnarounds imposed on some of their rivals by the fixture schedulers, both Pochettino and his Chelsea counterpart Conte could elect to rotate their starting 11s.

Pedro Rodriguez returns from suspension for Chelsea and will hope to recover his place from Willian, while Cesc Fabregas' position is under threat from the more defensively minded Nemanja Matic.

Spurs will welcome back first-choice defenders Kyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen, both of whom missed the trip to Watford through suspension. - WIRE SERVICES


TOTTENHAM

17
Harry Kane has scored 17 goals in his last 17 EPL London derbies, including 10 in his last nine played at White Hart Lane.

9
Spurs are unbeaten at White Hart Lane this season (W7, D2); their longest unbeaten start to an EPL season at home since 2000/01 (13).

4
Spurs have won four consecutive English Premier League home games for the first time since August 2014 (five wins).

3
Mauricio Pochettino’s side have not lost to Chelsea at White Hart Lane since a 4-2 victory in October 2012 (W1, D2 since).


CHELSEA

26
Chelsea have won more EPL games (26) and scored more EPL goals (92) against Spurs than they have against any other opponents.

14
Chelsea striker Diego Costa is the current top scorer in the English Premier League with 14 goals.

14
If Chelsea win this match, they will equal both the EPL and English top-flight record for successive wins (Arsenal Feb 2002 and Aug 2002).

6
The Blues have won six successive EPL away games; they last embarked upon a longer winning run in September 2009 (seven).

epltottenham hotspurCHELSEA (EPL)