Gomes: Time to pile pressure on Chelsea
Heurelho Gomes has urged Tottenham to pile the pressure on faltering Chelsea by making a flying start to Sunday's London derby at White Hart Lane.
This weekend sees Spurs host the defending Premier League champions, who have endured an alarming slump in form in the past month to surrender top spot. The Blues have won just two of their last eight games in all competitions, their misery compounded when their 100 per cent UEFA Champions League record went up in smoke after last night's 1-0 defeat at Marseille.
Tottenham, on the other hand, are flying, having put together a seven-match unbeaten run during which they have scored goals for fun. Victory at White Hart Lane on Sunday would close them to within a point of their opponents, who they beat the last time the sides met in April.
Spurs raced to a 2-0 half-time lead that day - an advantage that proved enough despite a late Chelsea consolation. And goalkeeper Gomes, who played in that victory, wants more of the same on Sunday.
"Of course, at the beginning, we need to press them - like we did last season," he said. "I think we can do it again against them."
"We play at home and, when we play at home, I think we are more strong than away from home."
Chelsea looked like running away with the league until the start of last month, since when they have suffered a string of shock results.
Now appears the perfect time to play them but Brazil international Gomes is wary of a backlash. "I think they are inconsistent at the moment. We play at home but we need to be careful against them. They are still a great side."
Victory for fifth-placed Spurs on Sunday would move them to within three points of leaders Arsenal, who travel to Manchester United on Monday. Gomes, who helped Spurs finish top of Champions League Group A in Tuesday night's 3-3 draw at FC Twente, said: "The focus now is the Premier League and we're still fighting for the title. I think the gap is close, you know? It's a little gap. I think the title race is open for everybody."
Gomes will on Sunday come up against Petr Cech - the man he still rates as the league's top goalkeeper. Cech was widely regarded as the best in the business after his first two seasons at Stamford Bridge. A loss of form appeared to follow his return from serious head injury suffered four years ago but he enjoyed a stellar start to this campaign.
Spurs are still sweating on the fitness of Rafael van der Vaart (hamstring) and Younes Kaboul (hip), while Jermaine Jenas limped out of Tuesday's game with a recurrence of his calf injury.
Luka Modric should be back after missing the Twente match with flu, while manager Harry Redknapp must decide whether to hand Michael Dawson his first senior appearance since August after the defender played 90 minutes of a behind-closed-doors friendly yesterday following his recovery from knee and ankle ligament damage.