Carlo Ancelotti and Chelsea will play hosts to Tottenham in this afternoon’s late kick-off as both teams aim to keep their own seperate ambitions alive for the remainder of the season.
The only selection headache that Ancelotti will be faced with is who to put up front, as his side are set out to continue the pressure on the league leaders, Manchester United, whom they will travel to in their next fixture. After Fernando Torres broke his duck in a cameo appearence against West Ham in his last fixture, he may be set for a start in today’s game alongside Drogba – who has found some of his last season’s form.
Harry Redknapp, however, has much more serious concerns. His side trail Manchester City by 4 points, with both sides facing only five remaining games, and regaining a place among Europe’s elite seems unlikely without a serious City slip up. Redknapp will look to gather points from what is sure to be a difficult tie to keep their Champions League dreams alive, with a large selection of players missing or doubtful.
Tom Huddlestone is set to miss the tie, after an ankle injury flared up recently. Joining him will be Ledley King, Wilson Palacios, Alan Hutton and Jonathan Woodgate who will all miss the game certainly, through injury. There are also doubts of Vedran Corluka and Niko Kranjcar who have ankle and foot problems respectively. Finally, regular starter Benoit Assou-Ekotto will definitely miss the trip to Stamford Bridge through a hamstring knock.
Both managers received good news in the build up to the game over regular starters and key figures. Ancelotti dispelled fears over Michael Essian and Ramires, who missed the previous three matches through a hamstring issue. In addition, fellow Brazilian – Alex, is also said to be fit again after suffering identical issues.
Meanwhile, Redknapp will have Gareth Bale to call upon who appears fit and ready to start after recovering from a knee problem.
Spurs are facing a real battle to reach Europe’s premier competition, with their league form poor of late, and wins hard to come upon with only one win in the last seven games. The game is similarly a must win for the Blues, as failing to take points today would surely hand Manchester United the title and end the late Chelsea resurgence.
Possible starting XIs for Chelsea v Tottenham, 17.30pm kick-off are:
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry, Cole, Mikel, Essien, Lampard, Malouda, Torres, Drogba.
Tottenham: Gomes, Kaboul, Gallas, Dawson, Bassong, van der Vaart, Jenas, Modric, Bale, Pavlyuchenko, Defoe.