Chelsea host Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening, in an eagerly anticipated tie that could go a long way in deciding who takes the final two Champions League positions for next season. The Blues are presently third, with a three point gap to Spurs in fifth. Arsenal occupy fourth place; the Gunners are two clear of Andre Villas-Boas' men.
Chelsea won 4-2 at White Hart Lane in the reverse fixture, with Spain international Juan Mata scoring a brace.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is scheduled for 7.45pm BST. Live coverage starts at 7pm BST and is on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 1 HD.
Chelsea come into this game after a morale-boosting and hugely critical 1-0 win over Manchester United in their last game. Rafael Benitez needed Mata to score the late winner in a match that saw yet more controversy involving a Chelsea defender; Brazilian David Luiz and his compatriot Rafael were involved in a physical incident that saw the United right-back sent off.
Should the west London club win this derby, they will open a four point gap over Arsenal in fourth and a six point lead over Tottenham, as the season enters its final two weeks. And such a lead should make Champions League football a near certainty for Roman Abramovich's men and leave the north London rivals to fight it out for the last spot.
However, even if they do lose to Tottenham, Chelsea will retain third place by virtue of goal difference and still be in pole position to qualify for the Champions League.
Chelsea have been in good form in recent games, with the defeat of the Premier League champions their fourth, across all competitions, in a row. The win at Old Trafford will also give the side confidence heading into the UEFA Europa League final next week; they play Portuguese club Benfica in Amsterdam.
The Blues are unbeaten in six games, with their last defeat coming in mid-April, to Manchester City in the FA Cup semi final. Their last league defeat was in March, when Southampton shocked them 2-1 at St Mary's. Stamford Bridge remains a relative fortress in English top flight, with 11 wins and four draws for the home team this season. The statistic that will truly worry AVB though, is the number of goals Chelsea have conceded at home - only 13.
Meanwhile, Tottenham will need Gareth Bale to fire on all cylinders in this game. The Welshman continues to have a superb season and scored in his club's 1-0 win over Southampton last weekend. AVB has struggled a bit in the season's final weeks, with only two wins in the last six games.
However, like Chelsea, their last league defeat was back in March (0-1 to Fulham), which is a run of seven games unbeaten. The club's away form in the league has been reasonable, with nine wins and three draws so far but the fact they've conceded 25 goals in that time will be a point of worry.
Unlike Chelsea, Tottenham know they must win at Stamford Bridge. A draw would be an acceptable result but Spurs play Stoke City and then host Sunderland in their final two games and those could be difficult results to count on.
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): W W W W D
- Last Match: Manchester United 0 - 1 Chelsea
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): W D W D D
- Last Match: Tottenham 1 - 0 Southampton
Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard returns after recovering from a calf problem. He will likely replace Nigerian Victor Moses and Benitez will field his first choice attacking partnership of Hazard, Oscar and Mata. Captain John Terry will probably be on the bench as well, as Chelsea aim to seal Champions League football for next year. Moses' compatriot, John Obi Mikel, is also a doubt.
Probable Line-Up: Cech; Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Cahill, Cole; Luiz, Ramires; Oscar, Mata, Hazard; Ba
Moussa Dembele will probably be on the bench, as the midfielder continues to recover from a knock in the last game. January signing Lewis Holtby will provide cover, with England international Aaron Lennon expected to return to the right flank. William Gallas (calf), Younes Kaboul (groin) and Sandro (knee) are all out for the season. Jack Livermore may be in for a call-up.
Probable Line-Up: Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto; Huddlestone, Holtby; Lennon, Dempsey, Bale; Defoe