Chelsea are aiming for a first league double over Tottenham since 2005/06.
Back in August against the Cockerels at Wembley, Antonio Conte completed his half century of matches in England with the 500th victory of the Roman Abramovich era. That was the Blues’ fourth successive victory against Tottenham in the national stadium, the first on their own ground for almost five years, and their first home league defeat in 15 months. A win on Sunday would bring Chelsea’s fourth double of the campaign.
Also on the line is the honour of ending the season as leading lights in London. Chelsea have been the capital’s highest-placed club in the top tier on 21 occasions, including our debut season in Division One, 1907/08, and in 11 of the past 13 campaigns.
HIGHEST-PLACED CLUB IN LONDON (ALL-TIME)
West Ham 4
Spurs were last kings of the capital 23 years back in 1994/95, when they finished seventh. (Chelsea were placed 11th and Arsenal 12th that season.)
Prior to that, Tottenham led the capital’s charge in 1989/90, the campaign in which they last left Stamford Bridge with all three points.
The following season, in December 1990, Tottenham’s coach was delayed by having its wheel clamped, and they have been in Chelsea’s grip at the Bridge ever since (see the We Have History section tomorrow for more.) The long unbeaten run against the Lilywhites is not the only extended home comfort the Blues have against our neighbours, as the following table shows.
In all competitions, Chelsea are undefeated at home to Tottenham over 30 matches (27 league, 25 Premier League). In fact Chelsea have the best two undefeated home records in the Premier League of any club, with Everton, winless in 23 visits to SW6, second only to Spurs.
With both sides still involved in FA Cup semi-finals in a fortnight’s time, this may not be the last encounter between the Blues and the Lilywhites this season.
Two weeks ago at Leicester, in front of 5,000 travelling fans who by the end were bouncing to keep warm, Chelsea became the first quarter-final side to win a one-off quarter-final game in extra-time. Replays at the sixth-round stage were excluded as of last season.
Chelsea’s semi-final opponents Southampton have not reached the last four since 2003, though new coach Mark Hughes managed it with Blackburn in 2007. Once there, of course, he lost to his old club, Chelsea, inspired by Michael Ballack. The Blues went on to claim the trophy for the fourth time in the maiden final at the new Wembley.
Prior to drawing the Saints, every opponent in the 2017/18 cup run had formed part of a previous FA Cup-winning campaign by Chelsea: Norwich (2006/07), Newcastle (1999/00), Hull (1999/00), Leicester (1996/97, 1999/00, 2011/12),
Chelsea Ladies’ reward for breaking new ground by reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League is a two-legged tie against Wolfsburg, the Blues’ nemesis in the last two campaigns. A record crowd for a Chelsea Ladies game at Kingsmeadow of over 3,000 watched the team monster Montpellier 3-1, 5-1 on aggregate.
At men’s junior level west London has already pipped north London to a trophy. On an island of green among snowy acres at Cobham, a young side coached by Jody Morris won the inaugural U18 Premier League Cup by beating Scott Parker’s Tottenham 2-0, both goals coming from the prolific right boot of Charlie Brown.
Had a penalty kick from Conor Gallagher not been saved by the Spurs ’keeper it would have been an even better day for the runaway U18 Premier League South leaders. Three of the 13 involved were aged 16 and five 17.
The only sad news for that age group came after the fine UEFA Youth League victory over Real Madrid when it was confirmed an injury has brought an end to talented Ethan Ampadu’s season.
Meanwhile, Willy Caballero and Marcos Alonso made their full international debuts in the past few days for Argentina and Spain respectively. It took the total number of players on Chelsea’s books to have played a senior international this season to 26.
THE BEST THAT CAN HAPPEN THIS WEEKEND…
The top four in touching distance and a proud home record extended.
PREMIER LEAGUE FIXTURES
Crystal Palace v Liverpool 12.30pm – Sky Sports
Brighton v Leicester 3pm
Manchester United v Swansea 3pm
Newcastle v Huddersfield 3pm
Watford v Bournemouth 3pm
West Brom v Burnley 3pm
West Ham v Southampton 3pm
Everton v Manchester City 5.30pm – BT Sport
Arsenal v Stoke 2.15pm – Sky Sports
Chelsea v West Ham 4pm – Sky Sports
PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE – TOP HALF