Reigning ​Premier League champions Chelsea face London rivals Tottenham when club football resumes this weekend following the March international break. 

But 12 months on from leading Spurs in the title race, Antonio Conte's team are now battling just to stay within striking distance of the top four after what has been a disastrous defence of their crown.

Already five points adrift of fourth place Spurs, Chelsea will be a minimum of seven points off those all-important Champions League places by the end of Easter weekend if they lose, with only seven games left. That is assuming ​Liverpool also lose against ​Crystal Palace, otherwise the gap would be eight points.

Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea - Premier League

Of course, if ​Chelsea are to beat Spurs at Stamford Bridge when Mauricio Pochettino takes his team to Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon, the gap would be reduced to just two points. But poor Easter form in recent seasons suggests they may have their work cut out.

Research from LeoVegas Sport can reveal that Chelsea have won just two of their last five Premier League games at Easter* and have taken just six points. Only Stoke, West Ham (both 5), Southampton (4), West Brom (1) and Newcastle (0) have taken fewer league points during that time.

It is a far cry from the Easter form of ​Arsenal, who have won all five of their fixtures over the last five years, taking a maximum 15 points. Unfortunately for Arsene Wenger, even beating ​Stoke this Easter weekend is highly unlikely to change things in the race for the top four as they are all but mathematically out of it already.

Middlesbrough v Arsenal - Premier League

Picture: Arsenal beat Middlesbrough 2-1 on Easter Monday in 2017

​Everton, ​Manchester City and Manchester United (all 12) have been the other in-form teams at Easter since 2012/13 when the period being measured began. ​Tottenham, meanwhile, have taken 11 Easter points and Liverpool have managed 10, the same as Leicester.

At the bottom end of the table, ​West Brom haven't won an Easter fixture in the last five seasons, taking a single point. A continuation of that could all but condemn them to life in the ​Championship next season as they are already 10 points adrift of safety at the foot of the table. ​Burnley are the opposition, with the Clarets taking six Easter points in the last five seasons.

​Newcastle are currently four points clear of the dreaded relegation zone after recording crucial wins over Southampton and ​Manchester United in the last few weeks. But their position is still precarious and they will have to break a five-year Easter losing streak to stay ahead of the competition, especially as this weekend they face a crunch six-pointer against ​Huddersfield.

Newcastle United v Southampton - Premier League

​Southampton and ​West Ham face each other at the London Stadium this weekend in what is a must-win game for both as the Hammers are two points clear of 18th place Saints.

Neither side has a strong Easter record with each taking five points in five years, but Southampton may have a slight advantage with new manager syndrome as Mark Hughes takes charge of his first league game, while West Ham's last home game was marred by a toxic atmosphere as fans protested, some violently, against owners David Sullivan and David Gold.

Both men are expected to attend the game, despite the potential for more ugly scenes.

*Research was carried out using the Easter weekend fixture of each year, or the closest round of fixtures possible. In the 2015/2016 season, international fixtures took place over the Easter weekend, so data has been collected from game week 32.