There are two games in the Premier League on Sunday, with the main event being a London derby between top-four rivals Chelsea and Tottenham at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has admitted his side cannot afford to slip up against Spurs if they are to force their way back into the top four this season, and he knows a defeat will leave the Blues what could well be an insurmountable eight points adrift of Mauricio Pochettino’s men with time fast running out.
However, for Spurs to achieve that gap they will have to break an incredible 28-year record given they’ve not won at Stamford Bridge since 1990.
So will this be the day for the north Londoners, who are likely to be without injured top-scorer Harry Kane, or will Chelsea once again prove to be their ultimate bogey side away from home?
The noise coming out of the Chelsea camp before Sunday’s clash suggests they are well aware just how important this match is in terms of potentially saving a season that has not gone anywhere near according to plan, and they will be desperate to maintain that fine home record against Spurs.
A draw would not be a bad result for Pochettino’s men, all things considered and while that outcome does Chelsea no favours at all in their top-four bid, it may be the sensible selection.
The first game on Sunday sees relegation-threatened Stoke City host an Arsenal side who, despite protestations from the Emirates, are surely now out of the top-four race themselves.
The Gunners sit a huge 13 points adrift of Spurs in fourth but Steve Bould, who stood in for boss Arsene Wenger in the press conference this week, insists they have not given up on getting back into the Champions League via the top four.
However, the reality is that the game appears up in that particular battle and winning the Europa League would seem a much better route for Arsenal to get themselves back amongst Europe’s elite. So, with that in mind, the need is much greater for the second-bottom Potters on Sunday.
With fellow strugglers West Ham and Newcastle both winning, and Southampton, Brighton and Swansea all beaten on Saturday, Stoke will believe this is a great chance for them and, at odds of 19/4, they are backable to claim a point against Wenger’s men, who can usually be relied on to be knocked out of their stride at the most unexpected time.
Arsenal have won their last three, including big wins at home against Watford (3-0) and AC Milan (3-1), but a fired-up Stoke are tipped to stop that run and claim a share of the spoils.
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