Even in the very best of circumstances, Tottenham Hotspur do not enjoy playing against Chelsea, with just three wins against the Blues in the Premier League era.
Now set to come up against Jose Mourinho’s table-topping behemoths, who thrashed Spurs 3-0 at Stamford Bridge less than a month ago, the odds are firmly stacked against the hosts at White Hart Lane.
The Lilywhites are a considerable 13/4 to win on home turf, with Chelsea just 4/5 to triumph and the draw 13/5.
Looking back through the history of this fixture is clearly going to be a painful affair for Spurs fans, but what can be gleaned from the modicum of success they have garnered against the Blues?
Firstly, there’s only one recent match-winner still available to them in Mauricio Pochettino’s squad, the currently out of favour Aaron Lennon.
The speedy winger notched the decider in Spurs’ 2-1 win in 2006, during Mourinho’s first stint in the Stamford Bridge dugout.
Since then Spurs have generally sold the key goal-getter in this game to Real Madrid, with Gareth Bale and Luka Modric both ending up at the Bernabeu after, but not necessarily because of, bagging the winner against Chelsea.
Unless he can prise Spurs’ League Cup 2008 hero Jonathan Woodgate away from Middlesbrough in time for the match, or convince Gary Lineker to desert the Match of the Day studio, Pochettino might have to put Lennon back in his side if he fancies a past winner to down Chelsea again.
However, an easier route to success might come simply from attempting to wind up John Terry, who has been dismissed in two of Spurs’ past three wins over the Blues.
The centre-back has enjoyed a renaissance under Mourinho over the past year and a half, but if Harry Kane can summon the needle required to get under Terry’s skin, Spurs’ chances will be improved greatly.
A more reasonable hope for Spurs than a win, which the above perhaps suggests is a tad unlikely, is to instead try and avoid defeat, and there is a key lesson in recent seasons when it comes to that aim.
The Lilywhites have drawn three of their past four league games with Chelsea at home 1-1, and on each occasion they’ve been ahead by the 20 minute mark.
If you extend that run one-year further back to their 2-1 win in 2010, when Jermain Defoe put them ahead in the 15th minute, it’s clear that an early strike is vital to the hosts’ chances.
Spurs are 13/2 to net before the 15th minute is up, and Pochettino should send his charges out revved up to achieve just that, or you’d suspect Chelsea will romp home.