Spurs aims to bounce back at Stamford Bridge

Tottenham Hotspur travels to Stamford Bridge to take on a high-flying Chelsea side which will be defending an unbeaten home record against Spurs stretching back 26 years.

Chelsea and Tottenham players clashing during the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge last season.   -  AP

Tottenham Hotspur faces a major test of nerves on Saturday when it returns to Stamford Bridge, scene of the 2-2 draw with Chelsea that ended last season's title challenge.

Spurs had nine players booked and Mousa Dembele was hit with a six-game ban for gouging Diego Costa's eye in a stormy May 2 encounter that delivered the Premier League crown to Leicester City. Mauricio Pochetttino's side is licking its wounds once again, having been dumped out of the Champions League by Monaco, but goalkeeper Hugo Lloris says they will relish the trip to Chelsea.

"I said the same after we lost against (Bayer) Leverkusen at Wembley: this is the best type of game to bounce back," said the France international following Tuesday's 2-1 loss to Monaco at the Stade Louis II. "The only thing is to digest the frustration of this defeat and look forward. It's a big disappointment, but we need to keep our chins up because it's a big game on Saturday."





Harry Kane struck twice late on as Spurs came from behind to beat West Ham United 3-2 at White Hart Lane on its previous league outing. But that was Spurs' only win in its last nine fixtures in all competitions, a run that has seen it slide to fifth in the table, four points below leader Chelsea.

Chelsea, in stark contrast, is flying, having won its last six games without conceding a goal and will be defending an unbeaten home record against Spurs stretching back 26 years. Centre-back Gary Cahill says it is important for the players not to get carried away.

"We're happy with our work, but the league isn't won now," he told the Chelsea website. "There's plenty more football - it's not even Christmas yet - so keep going, keep the foot down and keep trying to produce performances like we have been in the last few weeks."

Should Chelsea slip up, Liverpool and Manchester City - both just a point below it - will have designs on supplanting it at the summit.

Liverpool, which ceded top spot after drawing 0-0 at Southampton last weekend, hosts a Sunderland team buoyed by back-to-back wins that have lifted it off the foot of the table.

"It's our job to show from the first second as a big group, crowd involved, that we are different - here it's different," Liverpool manger Jurgen Klopp told his pre-match press conference. "Sunderland, if they win football games in the Premier League: well done, deserved, whatever. But not here."

Like his Chelsea counterpart Antonio Conte, Liverpool's absence from European competition means Klopp has had a full week to prepare his team for its next league assignment.

But City manager Pep Guardiola will have little time to drill his players ahead of Saturday's trip to Burnley, which follows Wednesday's 1-1 Champions League draw at Borussia Monchengladbach.

The result in Germany took City into the last 16, albeit as runner-up behind Barcelona, and it will now look to build on last weekend's 2-1 win at Crystal Palace.

"Obviously it's only two days in between for the next game, so that's tough to fly back and be prepared, but I think mentally we need to try to be prepared," City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne told the club website.

Arsenal, in search of a second wind, welcomes Bournemouth to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Arsenal needed a late Olivier Giroud header to rescue a 1-1 draw at Manchester United last week, then saw its hopes of top spot in its Champions League group fade in a 2-2 draw with Paris Saint-Germain.

Giroud's goal condemned United to a third successive home draw in the league - the first time that has happened since April 1992 - but it bounced back to crush Feyenoord 4-0 in the Europa League.

United, nine points below Chelsea in sixth, faces West Ham on Sunday in the first of back-to-back home games against the east London club, which returns to Old Trafford in the League Cup on Wednesday.

Having netted his 248th United goal against Feyenoord, skipper Wayne Rooney will equal Bobby Charlton's club scoring record if he scores against West Ham.



Fixtures

Burnley v Man City, Chelsea v Tottenham, Liverpool v Sunderland, Hull v West Brom, Leicester v Middlesbrough, Swansea v Crystal Palace, Arsenal v Bournemouth, Man Utd v West Ham, Southampton v Everton, Watford v Stoke.

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