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Why Chelsea vs Tottenham isnt just a top four battle – it could decide the long-term future of both clubs


Feb. 21, 2020

Tottenham travel across London on Saturday as they take on rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League.
The game – live on talkSPORT – has the potential to have huge ramifications for the rest of the season and perhaps well into the future too.
In the short-term, we have two sides battling for a place in the top four and while Spurs are, domestically, in the ascendency, Chelsea are now beginning to struggle for form.
Since the arrival of Jose Mourinho in November, Spurs have actually won more points than almost every other side, bar Liverpool, of course.
Meanwhile, a promising start from Frank Lampard’s men this season has slowly unravelled with a lack of consistency costing them dear.
Defeats to West Ham, Bournemouth, Southampton, and Newcastle have hampered them in recent months.
It’s seen the Blues lose the 12-point lead they had over Spurs back in November and now a victory for Mourinho’s men will wrestle fourth place from them.
Jose Mourinho offered very little in tactics yesterday - I think he's been left behind, says Tony Cascarino
Tottenham are getting results but performances are still underwhelming having only just won a topsy-turvy clash with Aston Villa and claimed an efficient win over Manchester City.
With Heung-Min Son joining Harry Kane on the sidelines we could see a quick downturn in attacking output unless Dele Alli , Lucas Moura, and Steven Bergwijn step up.
This is a concern going into the final stretch of the season but there could also be another knock on effect should they taste defeat against Chelsea. And it could signal a return to days Spurs fans may have felt were long behind them.
Once upon a time, Chelsea’s incredible run of form against Tottenham was the talk of the town when the two sides met.
Spurs failed to beat the Blues in 32 consecutive league games from February 1990 until an against-the-odds win over them in November 2006.
Meanwhile, it took another 23 matches before Tottenham were able to claim a victory at Stamford Bridge.
The taunting was incessant from those in west London and fixtures with them were often draining encounters with excitement and several near misses, as well as some cup classics along the way too.
Recently, Spurs had seen an uptick in their fortunes against their old nemesis.
Famous goals from Luka Modric and Gareth Bale helped improve their woeful record.
And astonishing 5-3 and 2-0 victories at White Hart Lane, with Harry Kane and Dele Alli stealing the show, have gone some way to erasing more than a decade of misery.
But at an important crossroads in the 2019/20 season, we also reach a crossroads in the rivalry again.
Two wins, home and away, in 2018 were the perfect tonic for supporters but since a 3-1 victory last November things have taken a turn.
A 1-0 League Cup semi-final first leg win followed but papered over cracks with Chelsea unlucky not to get at least a goal.
The return match was a victory for the Blues, though, and it was managed with ease, a 2-1 scoreline suggesting it was far closer than it actually was in reality.
Another 2018/19 Premier League clash came next with a 2-0 result embarrassing a Tottenham team who failed to register a shot on target.
This season saw another humiliation. Inexperienced manager Lampard outwitted the wily Mourinho by playing three at the back and a Son compounded a bad afternoon, getting sent off in a 2-0 defeat.
Now, with a top four spot on the line, the balance of power is there to be seized too.
If Tottenham can win they will end a run of three straight defeats and potentially dispel fears an injury hit team are set to plummet down the Premier League table.
Should Chelsea win on Saturday though their Champions League ambitions will be strengthened and the money from qualifying will bolster their chances of signing top talents in the summer.
Meanwhile, Spurs may be left in the Europa League and feeding off scraps as they seek to improve in the areas they have declined, while they may also be at the start of another woeful run against one of their fiercest rivals.
The two sides will have similar targets in the summer and should the result go against either club it could severely restrict them going forward.
Lampard and Mourinho are certainly set for an enthralling tussle given the current circumstances but a safety first approach might be for the best in a game which may be season-defining for both clubs.
Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT as we bring you THREE live Premier League commentaries across our network, including Chelsea vs Tottenham at 12:30pm
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