Chelsea face José Mourinho for the tenth time ever (4 wins, 1 draw, 4 losses), but more importantly, fourth place is on the line as the Blues visit Spurs’ brand new cookie-cutter stadium.
Since The Special One burned his last bridge to Stamford Bridge, Spurs have won 5 of 7 and closed a 12-point gap to the Blues to just 3. Meanwhile, Chelsea have lost 5 of 7 and have just 3 points from the last 15 on offer in the Premier League. Thanks to our earlier results, we’re still clinging to fourth place, but the chasing pack is just behind and the top three are already well out of reach (and Liverpool at the very top are hardly a speck on the horizon).
The busy holiday period is always a decisive one, and this year’s feels very much in that vein, if not more, starting with this massive derby. It’s not only bragging rights, schadenfreude, or the Premier League that are on the line. The youth revolution and, dare we whisper it, Lampard’s long-term job prospects are all going to be affected, at least to a certain extent.
Date / Time: Sunday, December 22, 2019, 16.30 GMT; 11:30am EST; 10pm IST
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, England
Referee: Anthony Taylor — Taylor was in charge of our opening day loss to Manchester United as well as our 2-1 win over Watford last month. He once also refereed a League Cup final between Chelsea and Spurs, with Mourinho’s Blues winning 2-0 in 2014-15. If we’re looking for an even better omen, he refereed our 2-1 win over Spurs in 2017, when Conte’s Blues were on the brink of an early-season crisis. (We’d have to wait a bit longer for the true crisis to arrive.)
Forecast: Cool and breezy, chance of rain
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); NBCSN, Telemundo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); Canal+ Sport 2, SuperSport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); HotStar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Spurs team news: Mourinho may not be as special as he once was, but his impact has been immediate with Spurs. They have as many wins in the last month as they had all season under Pochettino. They’re back in the thick of the top four race, they’re in the Champions League knockout rounds, they’re scoring for fun, and they already love José like all his teams do. Dele Alli is once again Dele Alli. Harry Kane is once Harry Kane. Son is still Son. And Toby Alderweireld has signed a new contract (although Christian Eriksen has not).
Hugo Lloris, Erik Lamela, and Ben Davies are all long-term absentees for Spurs, who have lost to Chelsea at home just once since 2012.
View from the enemy: Cartilage Free Captain
Chelsea team news: Chelsea are as healthy as we’ve ever been under Lampard — only Ruben Loftus-Cheek remains out — and even had a rare full week to prepare for this game.
Previously: Conte’s second season wasn’t nearly as good as the first, but it still had its moments, such as the 2-1 win at
White Hart Lane Wembley, featuring Alonso’s double and Michy’s own goal.