Trio of Tottenham injuries leave Chelsea in the ascendancy
Away wins have not been particularly prevalent in the recent Premier League history between Tottenham and Chelsea, but a raft of injury troubles at Spurs may help ensure a vital victory for Andre Villas-Boas.
It is not only London bragging rights at stake at White Hart Lane, as a defeat for Chelsea would leave them five points adrift of third-placed Spurs and in an even greater battle to secure a Champions League spot for next season with Arsenal and Liverpool.
However, their chances will be significantly boosted if Tottenham’s three injury concerns all fail to overcome late fitness tests.
Aaron Lennon is definitely out and could be missing for a minimum of six weeks after damaging a hamstring in the weekend victory over Sunderland.
Defoe is also being hindered by a hamstring issue, while Bale suffered an ankle strain in training and both are reported to be struggling to prove their fitness.
The absences of Bale and Lennon would be a major blow to Harry Redknapp and leave Tottenham short of obvious width against Chelsea.
Luka Modric, Niko Kranjcaar and Steven Pienaar are the logical squad members vying for a wide spot, but all would naturally drift inside in search of the ball.
Therefore, Chelsea’s full-backs may be in for an easier ride defensively and so Villas-Boas could risk picking his most attacking options in Ashley Cole and Jose Bosingwa in the hope of sneaking a win.
Tottenham have scored in all of their Premier League home games this season, meaning that Chelsea may need to score twice to triumph, but this is well within their capabilities.
The away side has not won a Premier League meeting between the pair since 2005, but Chelsea’s odds look tempting at 13/8, while a 2-1 success may be the best option in the correct scoreline market at 11/1.