By English Premier League standards, three matches qualifies as a busy Sunday, though the day's first two matches are likely to be overshadowed by the Tottenham-Chelsea match, kicking off at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. So consider the other two fixtures the undercard, both kicking-off at 8:30 a.m. Eastern: Bolton hosting Blackburn in the Lancashire Derby while Wolverhampton Wanderers hosts Birmingham City.
At the Reebok, Bolton will be looking to send a ten-match winless streak versus Blackburn, though since Owen Coyle was hired by the Trotters, Bolton has gotten used to ignoring their recent past. Hence their sixth place standing coming into the weekend, a place few thought possible coming into the season, although recent down performances against Manchester City and Blackpool raise the question: Are the Trotters about to slip back to their normal level? Where Blackburn tends to serve as a litmus test for the league, Bolton will have a chance to show whether they belong in the upper half.
Over in Birmingham, Brum is at the Molineux to visit Wolves in a local derby. Though Birmingham City still sits 16th, they are undefeated in four, a stretch which includes a 1-0 win over Chelsea. Alex McLeish's side also carries a three match win streak over Wolves into this derby, dating back to the teams' last season in the Championship. That's where Wolves are threatening to return, sitting 19th, in the midst of a stretch where they've lost five of six.
But the day's main event is at White Hart Lane. Tottenham and Chelsea kick-off at 11:00 a.m. Eastern, a fixture won by Spurs last year, 2-1. The match wasn't as close as the score reads, with a late Frank Lampard consolation obscuring a match that was in Spurs' grasp from Jermain Defoe's early spot kick. Lampard, out for the last three months, could make an appearance today, a return which would embolden a Chelsea midfield whose failures have contributed to the Blues fall from first to third place, coming into the weekend.
With Manchester City winning yesterday, Chelsea sits fourth, four points ahead of Spurs. If Tottenham can beat Chelsea at the lane for the third season in a row, the top five in England will be separated by only three points ahead of tomorrow's Manchester United-Arsenal match.