Heat on Spurs

> Tot­ten­ham back in derby mode at Chelsea af­ter Euro exit

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

TOT­TEN­HAM HOTSPUR may be lick­ing their wounds af­ter crash­ing out of the Cham­pi­ons League but they must quickly re­fo­cus as they re­turn to Pre­mier League ac­tion to­mor­row at lead­ers Chelsea in their third straight Lon­don derby.

Spurs were elim­i­nated from Europe’s pre­mier com­pe­ti­tion at the group stage af­ter a sloppy dis­play in a 2-1 de­feat at Monaco on Tues­day but re­main the only un­beaten Pre­mier League side.

That record al­most went last week­end when they trailed West Ham United in the fi­nal min­utes be­fore Harry Kane scored twice, im­clud­ing a late penalty, to snatch a re­mark­able 3-2 win.

Now they move across Lon­don to face An­to­nio Conte’s resur­gent Chelsea, who are seek­ing a sev­enth suc­ces­sive league vic­tory.

Kane be­gan a scor­ing run of four goals in three games with a penalty in a 1-1 draw against Ar­se­nal at the start of the month and will again spear­head a Tot­ten­ham side seek­ing to ban­ish the mem­o­ries of their last visit to Stam­ford Bridge in May.

On that oc­ca­sion, they blew a two-goal lead to draw 2-2, a re­sult that ef­fec­tively ended their hopes of win­ning a first top-flight ti­tle since 1961 when they won the league and FA Cup dou­ble.

To­mor­row, fifth-placed Spurs are likely to start with de­fend­ers Kyle Walker and Jan Ver­tonghen, who were sur­pris­ingly rested by Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino against Monaco, but they must do with­out the sus­pended Danny Rose and in­jured Toby Aider­weireld.

Chelsea have no in­jury prob­lems af­ter a week of re­cu­per­a­tion and have Pre­mier League top scorer Diego Costa show­ing his best form since ar­riv­ing in Eng­land with 10 goals and three as­sists.

To­mor­row’s game and their next fix­ture at Manch­ester City should pro­vide the per­fect test of their ti­tle as­pi­ra­tions.

City, a point off the pace in third and fresh from qual­i­fy­ing for the last 16 of the Cham­pi­ons League with a 1-1 draw at Borus­sia Moenchenglad­bach, make the short trip to Burn­ley.

Fourth-placed Ar­se­nal, two points fur­ther back, en­ter­tain a Bournemouth side miss­ing on-loan Jack Wil­shere, who can­not play against his par­ent club.

With their 2-2 draw against Paris St Ger­main yes­ter­day, the Gun­ners stretched their un­beaten record to 18 matches in all com­pe­ti­tions.

Sec­ond-placed Liver­pool, also a point off the top, face resur­gent Sun­der­land at An­field, a ground where the visi­tors have not won since 1983.

With Adam Lal­lana again in­jured, Liver­pool man­ager Jur­gen Klopp must de­cide whether to re­call Daniel Stur­ridge who is be­ing linked with a move in Jan­uary, pos­si­bly to Southamp­ton.

Klopp warned against the dan­gers of com­pla­cency in mid­week, no doubt with to­mor­row’s game in mind against op­po­nents who looked rel­e­ga­tion cer­tain­ties a cou­ple of weeks ago.

But, fired by the goals of Vic­tor Anichebe and Jer­main De­foe, David Moyes’s side have reg­is­tered backto-back wins to go above Swansea City at the bot­tom.

Bob Bradley’s Welsh side are with­out a league vic­tory since the open­ing day and face a vi­tal game against Crys­tal Palace, who are them­selves just one point above the drop zone.

Palace’s poor form – they are the worst team in the coun­try in 2016 with an av­er­age of 0.71 points per game – is putting pres­sure on man­ager Alan Pardew, with Bri­tish me­dia spec­u­lat­ing that he could be sacked if they fail to win in Wales.

Other man­agers in need of a lift are Ever­ton’s Ron­ald Koe­man against his for­mer club Southamp­ton on Sun­day and Manch­ester United’s Jose Mour­inho, whose side play West Ham hav­ing drawn their last three league games at Old Traf­ford. – Reuters

– AFPPIX

Ros­tov mid­fielder mid­fi­fielder Chris­tian Noboa (not pic­tured) scores his team’s third goal from a free­kick dur­ing the UEFA Cham­pi­ons League match be­tween against Bay­ern Mu­nich at Ros­tov-on-Don’s Olimp 2 Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

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