Chelsea, Spurs face ti­tle tests

League lead­ers meet Ever­ton and in­form Lukaku as sec­ond­placed Tot­ten­ham host ri­vals Arse­nal

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - WORLD - Agence France­presse

Conte will hope Diego Costa jus­ti­fies his faith in hav­ing him rather than Ever­ton’s Romelu Lukaku as his main striker and de­liver another three points in Chelsea’s chase for the ti­tle on Sun­day.

Chelsea face their big­gest chal­lenge in their re­main­ing five matches at Ever­ton, who are on a run of eight suc­ces­sive home vic­to­ries.

How­ever, Conte will hope they ex­tend their lead over ri­vals Spurs to seven points be­fore Tot­ten­ham kick-off in the north Lon­don derby with Arse­nal later on Sun­day.

Arse­nal are five points adrift of fourth-placed Manch­ester City and with a game in hand, at least have re­stored some bat­tered morale with two wins this week in­clud­ing a gutsy vic­tory over Manch­ester City in the FA Cup semi­fi­nal.

Both City and fifth-placed Manch­ester United are also in ac­tion on Sun­day and would hope to both pick up three points as they play two rel­e­ga­tion can­di­dates in Mid­dles­brough and Swansea re­spec­tively.

Conte is adamant he wouldn’t swap the tem­per­a­men­tal Costa, who has 19 goals to his name this sea­son with Lukaku, who tops the scor­ing charts with 24.

“As I’ve said be­fore, for me my play­ers are the best in the world. I wouldn’t change my play­ers with any other play­ers.”

Spurs will be seek­ing to win the 50th Pre­mier League meet­ing with Arse­nal to keep the pres­sure on Chelsea.

For Ar­gen­tine man­ager Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino beat­ing Arse­nal is nec­es­sary not for brag­ging rights but to keep their dreams alive of win­ning the ti­tle.

“My feel­ing is now, when you are so close — only four points the gap — I will be very dis­ap­pointed if we don’t win the ti­tle,” said Po­chet­tino.

“My chal­lenge or my aim is not to be above Arse­nal. My aim is to be above 19 teams and to be first, to be on the top.”

Arse­nal coun­ter­part Arsene Wenger has a greater spring in his step since his play­ers re­dis- covered their fight­ing spirit and he still hasn’t even give up hope of a top three fin­ish.

“We have an op­por­tu­nity to be in there only if we win our games, we don’t have to spec­u­late at all,” said the French­man.

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