Rafa Benitez is no stranger to rotation, but it would still be surprising if he made wholesale changes to the back five that came away from Old Trafford with a clean sheet on Sunday. Petr Cech is clearly untouchable between the sticks, especially when Ross Turnbull is your other option, and the defenders picked against Manchester United are unlikely to be changed unless Benitez pushes David Luiz into midfield.
The Brazilian will probably start at centre back though, and Branislav Ivanovic is the most likely choice to start next to him. John Terry and Gary Cahill are also available, and Benitez could bring in one, or even perhaps both of them, but Ivanovic and Luiz have been impressive in recent weeks.
Ashley Cole is certain to start on the left, and Cesar Azpilicueta has nailed down the right back berth over the last couple of months, meaning the full back positions are unlikely to see changes.
In the centre of midfield, David Luiz might be considered as a replacement for Frank Lampard if Benitez decides the English midfielder's recent run of games might have worn him out, but Lampard is probably going to start the game, with the energetic Ramires alongside him.
Eden Hazard is likely to be fit for the match, and Juan Mata is far too important to be rested for such a crucial game. There are a few candidates for the third sport in their attacking midfield, but Oscar could well get the nod ahead of Victor Moses. The trio were excellent in the 4-2 win at White Hart Lane, and although they have played together far less regularly under Rafa Benitez, they could wreak havoc on Spurs if Mousa Dembele fails to make the match.
Up front, Demba Ba will probably make way for Fernando Torres in the starting eleven as part of Benitez's natural rotation of his strikers, with Torres no doubt keen to bring his good form from the Europa League into domestic football.
image: © Jason Bagley