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Dembele thanks Hazard and Fabregas for the extra motivation ahead of tonight's Chelsea, Tottenham derby

Clive Rose/Getty Images

Chelsea players have spent much of the preceding seven days talking about their and the team's desire to beat Spurs in tonight's marquee Monday Night Football derby at Stamford Bridge.

This game would've been a big occasion under regular circumstances already, but with Chelsea getting the chance to win the Premier League for Leicester City by beating or drawing with Spurs, it's taken on extra meaning.  Chelsea fans have had very little reason to celebrate this season; but this is what it's come down to; this is our Super Bowl.  And the players know it.

From Fabregas to Hazard to Pedro to even Baba Rahman, Chelsea players have received the fans' message loud and clear.  You better beat [funning] Tottenham! And they haven't been shy about showing their understanding and commitment in public, in interviews, and media appearances, perhaps to curry favor with the largely disillusioned fanbase.

Chelsea fans weren't the only ones listening of course.

"He [Hazard] has motivated us well for Monday. We want to show Chelsea why we are ahead of them in the table."

-Mousa Dembele; source: The Sun via Evening Standard

Dembele tried to pose himself as above such petty tribalism, saying that he's "not paying much attention" to comments by his international teammate as well as Cesc Fabregas, but fired back at Hazard, calling him "envious" of Spurs' success, which, considering the trophies Hazard has won with Chelsea and Dembele has won with Spurs is a bit of a bold claim.

So it's all percolating along quite nicely.  Add in the Monday night lights, the late kick-off on a bank holiday, and the historic rivalry ... and there could be some fireworks.

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