While most are talking about Jose Mourinho, the important thing for Chelsea at the moment is securing their place in the Champions League next season. Winning at home against Tottenham will make sure that a top 4 place is pretty much guaranteed.
Three points more than Spurs and a much superior goal difference, a win for Chelsea will almost assure they’ll finish in the third spot, ahead of Arsenal or Spurs left to battle for the fourth and final spot. A draw isn’t something Tottenham can afford, although it doesn’t throw them out of the race. Chelsea would be quite pleased with a draw as well, and knowing Tottenham haven’t won at Stamford Bridge in 23 years does bring them quite a lot of confidence.
But it’s not only history. Chelsea are simply playing well recently, and there’s nothing like a win at Old Trafford to press your claims to a successful finish this season. Frank Lampard is playing in the midfield instead of the injured John Obi Mikel, or is it Ramires who is replacing Mikel? It’s hard to tell with the Benitez rotation, but with Eden Hazard healthy against to start, Victor Moses will probably be pushed to the bench while Fernando Torres will be the starter.
It was the Juan Mata show the last time the two teams met, a decisive 4-2 win by Chelsea at White Hart Lane, and Mata will be the key man once again as Chelsea hope their recent run in all competitions, winning five of their previous six matches, isn’t going to come to an abrupt halt. They’re playing well, not just winning, which is a good cause for some optimism, while knowing that Tottenham will struggle containing their trio of creative attacking midfielders.
For Spurs, it’s all about Gareth Bale, who has scored two goals for Tottenham over the last three seasons against Chelsea, including the last time they’ve beaten the Blues, 2-1 on April 2010 at White Hart Lane. Spurs haven’t lost a match since March 17 against Fulham, and Gareth Bale, with 20 goals this season, has scored in four of their last five matches.
Predictions – Chelsea can afford a draw, Tottenham can’t, but they also struggle when trying to go in all-out attack mode against a rather strong Chelsea defensive side. Countering through Gareth Bale is their best option, although Chelsea have the advantage in this one, as long as they don’t actually play for that draw.