AMIDST all the hype surrounding the Carabao Cup final this weekend, there are some tasty Premier League fixtures on the schedule.
And maybe none of these are better positioned to deliver sheer fire and brimstone than the London derby at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where Chelsea visit tomorrow.
The interest in this fixture goes beyond the three points that will enhance either team’s bid for a top-four finish.
The tenure of Graham Potter at Chelsea is on the line, according to many a pundit. The majority of them believe that if he loses this one, he’ll be out of work.
The Blues are 10th in the league standings, 11 points behind the fourth-placed Spurs, who have played one more game.
Chelsea reportedly spent more than US$350mil (RM1.55bil) in the January transfer window, including US$132mil (RM585.21mil) for Enzo Fernández.
According to some estimates, Chelsea have spent more than US$600mil (RM2.66bil) on signings since American businessman Todd Boehly led the club’s takeover in a more than US$5bil (RM22.17bil) deal last May, including Mykhailo Mudryk (US$74mil or RM328mil), who arrived last month.
More than anything, it appears that Potter lacks the ability to integrate all of these players into a cohesive unit capable of competing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League.
Last week, they lost to Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16 of Europe’s elite club competition. And unless they can turn it around in the second leg, it looks like they’ll be missing the tournament next season.
Tottenham have been inconsistent, but they are still good enough to beat Chelsea tomorrow.
Spurs beat champions Manchester City, then lost to Leicester before carving out a hard-fought win over another London rival, Crystal Palace.
Son Heung-Min seems to have found some form at last, and a goal or two from him again would not hurt Tottenham’s cause.
Liverpool have found Palace hard to beat in the past, and today they could face more of the same.
Vanquished by Real Madrid in the Champions League in midweek. Jurgen Klopp will be challenged to inspire his team to victory, as they did in their previous two league games.
Arsenal, the league leaders, also appear to have an important match against Leicester.
The Foxes were on a resurgence before they went down to Manchester United last week.
And Brendan Rodgers will be keen to get back to playing with pressure again, something that could make life difficult for the Gunners who showed great grit by coming back from 1-0 down to win 4-2 at Aston Villa last time out.