The fixture between Chelsea and Tottenham on Saturday may well have a telling effect on the eventual Champions League qualifiers for next season, as both clubs are desperate to finish in the top four. With Arsenal’s improved form of late, there may well only be room in Europe’s top tournament for one of these two sides, with Saturday’s victor take the impetus in the race for fourth.

Chelsea have been markedly better since Roberto Di Matteo took over as boss, and despite a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City last time out seem to have their confidence back. The Blues’ senior players such as Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard seem to be back to their best after being reinstated as the team’s main men, and the Stamford Bridge faithful will expect three points at the weekend.

Chelsea have something of a hex over Tottenham in the Premier League, especially at Stamford Bridge, and the hosts will go into the game as favourites. John Terry has been passed fit to feature in the game which is a huge boost, and the west Londoners will look to close the five-point gap over their rivals at the weekend.

Tottenham have had a dramatic loss of form over the last month, and after finding themselves 10 points clear in third place, are now a point behind Arsenal in fourth. Harry Redknapp’s men have seemed distracted, potentially by the consistent rumours over their manager’s future, and have lost games against Arsenal, Manchester United and Everton of late. A last-ditch Rafael van der Vaart strike on Wednesday night avoided it being four defeats in a row, as the White Hart Lane side drew 1-1 with Stoke.

Spurs’ confidence will not be as high as earlier in the campaign, but they must go out and attack Chelsea if they are to get a result this weekend. The loss in form has come from sitting back and defending against Arsenal, which has sparked a domino effect of defeats. With Gareth Bale, Luka Modric etc all ready to play, there is no reason that Tottenham can’t get a result in this one, and a draw to maintain their five-point advantage would be welcomed by the travelling supporters.

Chelsea have to travel to the Estadio da Luz on Tuesday night for their Champions League quarter-final first leg against Benfica, but the Blues must be focused on this game first as it holds equal importance. Tottenham need to start believing in their considerable ability, and with an away win could all but seal a top four finish.

By Gareth McKnight

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