Spurs v Chelsea preview

20 March 2009 10:13
Chelsea will be looking to keep their title hopes alive as they travel to London rivals Tottenham.

Guus Hiddink has vowed to push Manchester United all the way until the end of the season but the Blues face a stern test against a Spurs side that is in fine form.

Tottenham have climbed to 11th in the table on the back of a five-match unbeaten run, while they have suffered just one league defeat at White Hart Lane since Harry Redknapp took charge in October.

They remain just six points above the relegation zone but last weekend's 2-1 victory at Aston Villa has put them in the running for a European place.

Seventh spot is likely to secure qualification for the UEFA Europa League and Spurs are now just five points behind West Ham.

Redknapp will once again field his strongest available side now that Tottenham's fixture congestion has cleared, but as ever he will have to make a late assessment on the fitness of key defender Ledley King.

Vedran Corluka is likely to start at right-back after the experiment with Didier Zokora backfired against Villa.

Alan Hutton was recalled to the Scotland squad this week after shaking off a foot injury to return to training, but Redknapp will look to ease him back into action gently.

Darren Bent will hope to keep his place ahead of Roman Pavlyuchenko after scoring last time out, while Carlo Cudicini will be keen to line up between the posts against his former club.

Jermain Defoe is set to miss the rest of the season with a broken foot.

DeterminedChelsea are currently four points adrift of leaders Manchester United, having also played an extra game, and Hiddink realises they cannot afford to lose any more ground.

But the Blues have won their last four Premier League games and their situation was helped by Liverpool's 4-1 win at United last Saturday.

Hiddink will be determined to pick up three more points before he leaves England to coach Russia during the international break.

Hiddink will be forced to make at least one change after Deco sustained a hamstring injury in the 1-0 victory against Manchester City which is expected to keep him out for some time.

Juliano Belletti came on to replace the Portuguese midfielder last week but Salomon Kalou, Florent Malouda and Ricardo Quaresma are other options.

Didier Drogba should be fit to face Spurs despite suffering a minor knock to his knee against City, and Nicolas Anelka is once again set to partner him up front.

Joe Cole is a long-term absentee with a knee problem.

Possible starting XIsTottenham: Gomes, Corluka, King, Woodgate, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Jenas, Palacios, Modric, Bent, Keane.

Chelsea: Cech, Bosingwa, Terry, Carvalho, Ashley Cole, Essien, Lampard, Ballack, Malouda, Drogba, Anelka.

Source: SKY_Sports