Tottenham Hotspur hope to capitalise on Chelsea's fragile confidence on Sunday to maintain their own pursuit of the Premier League title at their local rivals' expense.
A few years ago Chelsea fans would refer to Tottenham's ground as "Three Point Lane", but Spurs have recovered their poise in home matches against these opponents in recent seasons. The champions will arrive in north London having failed to win at White Hart Lane in the league since 2005, to face hosts unbeaten in seven matches in all competitions and buoyed after winning their Champions League group in midweek.
"We have done well against them in the past and I think we can do so again," said Heurelho Gomes, an integral member of the Spurs side that defeated Guus Hiddink's team 1-0 in 2009 and Carlo Ancelotti's 2-1 last season. "They are inconsistent at the moment and their confidence is low, so we need to put pressure on them. In the beginning we need to press them, like we did last season. When we play at home we are a stronger team, but we must remember that they still have experienced players and are still a great side. Everybody is saying they are weaker now, but we need to be careful."
That note of wariness was delivered despite Chelsea's recent toils – the champions have won only twice in eight matches in all competitions, and once in six in the league. By contrast Tottenham are only six points from the top and thrilled at their own progress out of what had initially appeared a daunting Champions League group in their first appearance in the senior competition since the 1961-62 European Cup.
Gomes is a Champions League semi-finalist from his days at PSV Eindhoven, when they were knocked out of the competition by Ancelotti's Milan in 2005, but recognises the achievement in progressing to the knockout phase having claimed the section ahead of the reigning European champions, Internazionale. Indeed, that progress has convinced Harry Redknapp's players that they boast the quality to go on to mount a genuine challenge for domestic honours.
"Finishing top of the group and getting through to the last 16 of the Champions League is the best feeling," the Brazilian said. "We have done a great job in getting through. It wasn't an easy group. They were three tough teams. But we showed we can play against the best. But now we must forget about Europe and focus on the Premier League because we still fight for the title. The gap between us and the top is not so big and it's getting closer. It's only a little gap. The title race is wide open – not just for us, but everybody – because this season is proving difficult for everyone."