London — Chelsea will face their biggest test of the season against Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, manager Antonio Conte said as his team chase Premier League history.
Chelsea — in 10th league spot last season — are five points clear at the top and will arrive at White Hart Lane seeking to better Arsenal’s record of 13 consecutive victories in a season.
"It’s another challenge, another type of football to face [from Stoke] because Tottenham like to play from the back. They like to put a lot of pressure on when you are in possession," Conte said.
"We have to prepare very well because this game for sure will be very, very tough for us, but also for them. For sure [this match] is the biggest test. I think for us now every game is the biggest test."
Chelsea showed great resilience in their 4-2 win over Stoke City but Conte expected a different challenge from their next opponents.
"Tottenham is a good team. Last season they could have won the title and this season they have a stronger team. For sure we will see a good game," the Italian added.
At the same time Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has a plan to halt Chelsea’s winning run, defender Jan Vertonghen has said.
Since switching to a 3-4-3 system after suffering consecutive defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal in September, Conte’s Chelsea embarked on their winning run.
Pochettino is set to become the first manager to have a second crack at halting the successful run of giants Chelsea.
"The gaffer spends a lot of time analysing them. He prepares for the game and the way we should play and in what shape," Vertonghen told British media.
"We see some videos and all these tactical things — but that’s our secret. I think the gaffer has a plan."
Vertonghen believes the improved depth in the squad has allowed the manager to name competitive starting line-ups even when key players such as Harry Kane and Toby Alderweireld were sidelined with injuries earlier this season.
"With the new signings that came in I think we have a very strong squad. It’s the strongest since I’ve been here," he said.
"We can play different systems. Harry Kane has been out.
"Toby [Alderweireld] has been out, it’s a lot of important players we’ve missed. But the guys that have played for them have done brilliantly."
Spurs, who are unbeaten at White Hart Lane in their nine league games this season, are currently sitting fifth in the table and trail leaders Chelsea by 10 points.