Almost exactly a year ago, on Sunday, May 3, 2015, Chelsea welcomed Crystal Palace to Stamford Bridge, knowing that a win would decide the Premier League title. Eden Hazard scored a header off his own saved penalty kick, and Chelsea won the league.
On Monday, May 2, 2016, Chelsea welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Stamford Bridge, knowing that a win will decide the Premier League title. Should Chelsea collect all three points, Leicester City will win the league. Should Chelsea collect just one point, Leicester City will win the league. The only way for Spurs to stay alive is to do something they haven't done in 26 years, win at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have won 18 of the 28 played at the Bridge in all competitions since (17 of 25 in the league).
It was the year 1990 when Gary Lineker's 89th minute winner gave Spurs all three points. Many playing tomorrow were not even born. Should Spurs win on Monday, they will be heroes regardless of where the title ends up. Should Chelsea hammer in the final nail on their title-challenge coffin, we'll have something to celebrate, too.
Date / Time: Monday, May 2, 2016, 20:00 GMT; 3pm EDT; 12:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Mark Clattenburg — taking charge of his sixth (6th!) Chelsea match this season. We've won two (West Brom and Arsenal, both away), lost two (Liverpool, home and Leicester, away), and drawn one (Stoke, home) so far.
Forecast: Afternoon rain turning into breezy, cloudy night; still probably better than the conditions for the FA Youth Cup final on Wednesday.
On TV: Sky Sports 1 (UK); NBCSN, NBC Universo (USA); Star Sports 1 / HD 1 (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live Extra, NBC Deportes En Vivo Extra (USA); Star Sports (India); Chelsea TV (radio, int'l)
Chelsea team news: With only two injury absentees, Kurt Zouma and Loïc Rémy, this is the healthiest Chelsea have been for some time. Captain John Terry is expected back for his second-to-last ever match at the Bridge (unless we do agree a last-minute contract extension with him). Gary Cahill is also available after missing last weekend's match with an unspecified illness. Another recent infectee, Oscar, has been MIA from matchday squads for a couple weeks now without much newsprint or airtime dedicated to his whereabouts. Meanwhile, Thibaut Courtois will serve the final match of his two-game suspension for the red card against Manchester City.
As the season winds down, with nothing left to play for (except maybe 9th place!), Chelsea have produced several limp, disinterested performances. It would appear however that they all recognize the magnitude of this occasion and what this match (and especially a win) would mean for the fans. Denying Spurs the title while giving it to well liked former manager in Claudio Ranieri would be something to celebrate wholeheartedly in this most terrible of seasons for the Blues.
Tottenham Hotspur team news: Nabil Bentaleb's lost season continues as another injury has ruled him out the rest of the way. He has been limited to just 5 appearances in the league all season, after collecting over 40 in his previous two. It's been partly his absence that has allowed the Dier-Alli and Dier-Dembélé partnerships to flourish to such great effect in central midfield. Unfortunately for the visitors, Dele Alli is suspended for the rest of the season after accepting the three-match ban for punching Claudio Yacob and Eric Dier is likely to miss out due to a concussion suffered in their last game. If Ryan Mason is pressed into action, Chelsea just might have a prayer in midfield.
After a 14-match unbeaten run at the start of the season (almost as unimpressive as Chelsea's 15-match run in the second half of the season), Spurs got down to business and have won 13 of 19 to separate themselves from the rest of the chasing pack. It hasn't been good enough to actually catch Leicester, but it's been good enough to anoint them the pundits' "best team" in the league, for whatever little that's worth.
View from the enemy: Cartilage Free Captain