Tottenham v Chelsea: Match Preview

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Tottenham v Chelsea; White Hart Lane; Barclays Premier League; Thursday 22 December 2011, 20:00

Team News

Gareth Bale is a major doubt for Tottenham as he continues to have treatment on a recent ankle injury.

Harry Redknapp will also be without Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon for tonight's encounter after both players were sidelined with respective hamstring problems, and Emmanuel Adebayor faces a race to be fit as he struggles with a knee injury.

Meanwhile, Chelsea captain John Terry has overcome the Achilles problem he suffered in training earlier this week, and is set to make the starting line-up, while Ramires - who sat out of the Blues' open training session on Monday is also poised for a return.

However, it's not so good news for fellow Brazilian David Luiz who remains sidelined with a knee problem.

Villas-Boas: We can handle the pressure

Andre Villas-Boas insists he has no problem whatsoever with the pressure being put on his Chelsea players ahead of tonight's crunch Barclays Premier League clash with Tottenham.

The Blues head to White Hart Lane this evening knowing anything other than a victory will leave them left further behind in the race for the Barclays Premier League title.

"The pressure that is on us is fair," said Villas-Boas. "We wanted to be closer to the league leaders, that is 100 per cent correct.

"At the moment we are far behind; dropping points at the weekend wasn't as dramatic as is being portrayed but we need to show the same commitment as we did when we beat Valencia and Manchester City a few weeks ago."

Despite the disappointment at dropping points at Wigan last Saturday, Chelsea remain unbeaten in the league in over a month, so the players will take confidence from that run.

However, Villas-Boas insists he won't underestimate the threat Spurs will pose, having only lost once at home all season, their London rivals have also made their most impressive start to a campaign in their history, leading to some quarters, including Harry Redknapp, tipping the team for the title.

"What you have to respect is the fact that Harry made their title contention public," he added. "For him to make a statement like that he obviously feels his players have the belief that they can go all the way.

"He wouldn't commit to a statement like that if he didn't truly believe it or if his players didn't, because there are implications of pressure and expectancy from the fans when you say things like that.

"At the moment, the statement has played into his hands because the supporters are hyped up and his team are playing fantastic football and they have shown enough competence to suggest they will be a big threat."

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