By the time Sunday comes at Stamford Bridge, it will be a massive 21 days since Tottenham Hotspur’s last Premier League game and 22 since Chelsea’s, a huge length of time that seems out of sync with the competition’s relentless modern news cycle. There’s been a rare chance to breathe, for rhythms and patterns to be broken, for some pressure to be lifted – but the players from both sides are still fully aware of the potential consequences of this match. It could well kill the season, at least in terms of the top six. If Spurs win, after all, there will be an eight-point gap between themselves and Chelsea. That would surely make the race for the Champions League as much a fait accompli as that for Manchester City’s title. Mauricio Pochettino was at pains to point out “this is not a final”, but it could well have final consequences, and greatly undercut every big-six game to come. Read more Who has the easiest run-in? United, Chelsea, … [Read more...] about With Chelsea vulnerable and exposed, it’s time for Tottenham to draw their line in the sand
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Mauricio Pochettino says there is a “small possibility” that Harry Kane could make a startling recovery in time to feature in Tottenham Hotspur’s Premier League game against Chelsea this Sunday. Kane has been out of action since the ankle injury he suffered in the 4-1 win at Bournemouth three weeks ago, which forced him to pull out of the England squad for the games against the Netherlands and Italy. Initially, the injury was expected to put him out for over a month. And the likeliest outcome remains that Kane will be eased back into first-team action, perhaps for the trip to Stoke a week on Saturday. But Pochettino paid tribute to the speed of his recovery, his strong base level of fitness and his mental toughness, admitting that he may yet be able to play some part in this weekend’s crunch London derby. Read more Kane 'best player in the world' claims Spurs teammate “A small possibility,” Pochettino said when asked about Kane’s chances … [Read more...] about Harry Kane has ‘small possibility’ of returning for Tottenham’s clash with Chelsea
With the final international break of the season now over, attentions turn back to the Premier League and, particularly, the top-four race. For Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, the task is quite simple: no team has ever finished lower than fourth after reaching 76 points. Three of those teams are currently on course to surpass that target, one is not. However, fortunes in the final weeks of the season are often dictated by the fixture list and those who benefitted from easier runs earlier in the season can suffer as the schedule evens itself out. By calculating each Premier League club’s average points-per-game home and away this season, we can approximate the difficulty of each fixture and see who, on paper, has the easier run-in. Top 25 players in Premier League history 25 show all Top 25 players in Premier League history 1/25 Behind Ronaldo and Rooney, the next-most important man to United’s recovery in the second half of … [Read more...] about Premier League top-four race: Who has the best run-in? Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham or Chelsea?
Antonio Conte admits Chelsea will struggle to qualify for next season’s Champions League if they fail to beat Tottenham on Sunday. Chelsea are currently fifth in the Premier League, five points behind Spurs and seven behind Liverpool with a game in hand, and the manager believes defeat to Mauricio Pochettino’s team at Stamford Bridge would be a major blow to the Blues’ top-four ambitions. “For sure this is an important game for us,” said Conte. “Our target is to try and take a place in the Champions League and reach the final of the FA Cup and to win if we are able. “Sunday is an important game because if we win we go very close – otherwise we continue to stay not so close and with seven games to go it will be difficult to take a place in the Champions League. Nothing is impossible. In this run I put Liverpool as well. For us, we have to try to win every game and not make mistakes.” Read more Who has the easiest … [Read more...] about Chelsea will struggle to qualify for Champions League unless they beat Tottenham, warns Antonio Conte
Harry Kane could make a startling recovery in time to feature in Tottenham’s Premier League game against Chelsea this Sunday, according to his manager Mauricio Pochettino. Kane suffered an ankle injury in the 4-1 win against Bournemouth three weeks ago that forced him out of England’s last two games, and was initially expected to put him out for over a month. But after what Pochettino described as a “positive” recovery, he did not rule out the - admittedly small - possibility that Kane may be able to play some part in this weekend’s crunch London derby. “We need to assess him,” Pochettino said. “He is very positive and doing very well. Every day he is improving. We need to assess in the next few days. It’s difficult now to say yes or no. I cannot say no, but I cannot say yes. Read more Kane 'best player in the world' claims Spurs teammate “Maybe it will be next weekend [the trip to Stoke on 7 April]. But the most … [Read more...] about Mauricio Pochettino gives Harry Kane a chance of surprisingly early return from injury for Spurs against Chelsea