Cesar Azpilicueta has admitted that Chelsea are out to prove they are the top dogs in London when they welcome Tottenham Hotspur to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
It is always a special occasion when Spurs and Chelsea come up against each other but the London derby this weekend has even more significance than usual with the two teams vying to be Liverpool’s main challengers for the Premier League title.
Tottenham are top of the table going into the weekend but Chelsea only sit two points behind in third, and three points on Sunday would see them leapfrog the North Londoners and potentially go top.
Azpilicueta admitted that it is a shame that the game will be played behind closed doors, revealing that he cherishes the atmosphere when Tottenham visit.
Recalling the Battle of the Bridge in 2016, a game which effectively ended Spurs’ title hopes that season, the defender told The Telegraph: “It’s one of those kinds of games when you usually feel a special atmosphere at the Bridge and that game [in 2016], we were having a terrible season, we were losing 2-0 at half-time.
“But, in the second half, the electricity around the stadium… I think something clicked that day that even though we were not playing for anything, just to not let Tottenham win the league. It was not only the game, it was the title race as well that they were involved in.
“Every year is different and we had a very good record against them until two or three seasons ago when we lost, but, hopefully, we can keep beating them at the Bridge.
“We always try to be the top team in London and we want to be at the top because that means we are the No 1s. That’s what we fight for.
“We are in good form and, hopefully, we can improve on last season and now reach higher levels.”
However, Azpilicueta brushed aside the significance of Jose Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge, where he won three league titles as manager.
The defender added: “That’s football. I think Jose has a great history in Chelsea, but, after, football moves on. We played against him when he was in Manchester United and now he’s in Tottenham.”
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