Tottenham vs Chelsea preview: Jan Vertonghen returns for Spurs

Tottenham have been boosted by the return of defender Jan Vertonghen ahead of their clash with Chelsea on Saturday.

Vertonghen has missed the last nine games with a hamstring injury, but returns at a good time for Spurs as fellow defender Davinson Sanchez has a hamstring problem of his own.

On the return of Vertonghen, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino said on Thursday: “It is very good news, he has been training with the group.

“Jan is such an important player for us. We have a very busy period ahead so it’s important to recover our players.”

Spurs have already lost at home to the top two sides in the Premier League, Manchester City and Liverpool, but are looking for a fifth win in a row in all competitions.

Chelsea are unbeaten in the Premier League this season and start the weekend four points behind leaders City.

Team news

While Vertonghen has returned to training for Spurs, Sanchez is out and Kieran Trippier (groin) hopes to be back in action by the end of next week.

Danny Rose is very near a return from a groin injury, but Mousa Dembele is in Qatar, getting rehab on an ankle injury.

Mateo Kovacic is Maurizio Sarri’s only major injury concern, having suffered a muscle injury during the international break.

Opta stats

  • Tottenham have won three of their last seven Premier League games against Chelsea, as many as they’d won in their previous 49 top-flight games against the Blues (W3 D18 L28).
  • Chelsea have won just two of their last 12 away games vs Tottenham in league competition (D5 L5), although they did win this exact fixture 2-1 last season.
  • Tottenham are looking to win consecutive league games against Chelsea for the first time since August 1987.
  • Chelsea have kept 21 Premier League clean sheets against Spurs – against no side have they kept more in the competition.
  • This will be the seventh meeting between Tottenham and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium – Chelsea have beaten Spurs four times, more than any club has beaten another at the ground.
  • Only Arsenal (51.2 per cent), have a better win rate in Premier League London derbies than Chelsea (50.6 per cent) and Spurs (35.3 per cent).
  • Tottenham have won just 22 per cent of their Premier League points in home games this season (6/27), the lowest ratio in the division.

Merson’s prediction

It should be a great game and for both sets of fans, this is the game. So a massive match and I do not see a great deal between the two teams. At the moment, Chelsea’s match winners are playing better than Tottenham’s, like Eden Hazard, Ross Barkley, Willian and even Pedro had one of his best games against Palace.

I do not see Chelsea losing, so I am going for a draw, which would be a good result for them. I mean, let’s be honest, Chelsea are not going to win the league this season, top four is the main thing. And if they come second or third in the manager’s first season with a team that were nowhere near last year, I think that would be a really good start.

Tottenham, meanwhile, have set themselves a really high standard and they are probably better off than they have been all season. But these players have to keep doing this week in week out, they do not have the squad.

If they are losing on Saturday, Mauricio Pochettino will turn round to the bench, but who will he bring on? Whereas if Chelsea are losing, Barkley, Olivier Giroud, or Pedro could be a sub and these are players who can come on and change a game.

But who can change a game for Tottenham? So that is where I think it will take its toll on them at the end.

PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1 (11/2 with Sky Bet)

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