Chelsea v Tottenham – Match preview and team news

West and North London face off at Stamford Bridge in a match that could prove crucial to the destiny of the race for the top four.

Hosts Chelsea currently lie two points ahead of opponents Tottenham and one point ahead of fourth-placed Arsenal as interim manager Rafael Benitez bids to secure Champions League football for his successor.

The Spaniard will know that victory at Stamford Bridge will guarantee his side a place in the top four courtesy of their superior goal difference over the Lilywhites. On the other hand, a win for Andre Villas-Boas’ men over his former club would not just take them to the same number of points as the Blues, but more importantly, would take the race for a top four-place out of the hands of North London rivals Arsenal.

Chelsea will rotate their starting XI once again from the one that impressively secured victory against champions Manchester United at the weekend, meaning the likes of John Terry, Fernando Torres and Gary Cahill are all vying for returns.

Attacking midfielder Eden Hazard is fit after recovering from a calf injury though John Obi Mikel and Ryan Bertrand remain absent.

For Tottenham, winger Aaron Lennon is expected to start despite being forced off in the weekend victory against Southampton with a continuation of his hamstring problem.

However, Gareth Bale looks more than recovered from his ankle problem and has now scored three times in his last three matches since his return. Elsewhere, Moussa Dembele limped off against the Saints with a muscle problem though his manager expects him to be available while Jermain Defoe looks set to continue up front in place of Emmanuel Adebayor.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Chelsea v Tottenham

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