Monday, April 24, 2017

Prediction: Chelsea vs Tottenham

Verdict: Draw

Best Odds: 12/5

Bookmaker: bet365

With the two teams also involved in the Premier League title chase, their clash in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley is likely to generate plenty of interest. A victory in Saturday’s game could give one of the teams psychological advantage in said title race, so there are no doubts that both managers will field their strongest sides.

Chelsea

From the very start to the season, Chelsea nominated themselves as the main favourites for the Premier League trophy and up until few weeks ago, nobody believed the Blues could miss out on the championship crown. However, defeats to Crystal Palace and Manchester United coupled with Tottenham’s impressive run of form saw Chelsea’s advantage at the Premiership summit melt to four points, meaning the title chase could now go to the wire. The Blues were utterly disappointing in the high-profile clash against Manchester United last weekend, and it is clear that they need to show instant improvement if they want to avoid turning this season into a disaster. Antonio Conte’s men now get a perfect opportunity to prove they are the best team in the country as they take on red-hot Spurs in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, but it is clear that they will be under pressure rather than their in-form opposition. Another under-par performance would cast doubt on Chelsea’s title credentials and place extra pressure on the players ahead of the season finale, and that is definitely something the hosts will be looking to avoid.

Team News

First choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois should be back in the squad, but Asmir Begovic could feature at Wembley before he makes way for the Belgian.

Full-back Marcos Alonso has recovered from illness and he will take his place on the left-hand side, with Cesar Azpilicueta returning to a centre-back position.

Tottenham

It is fair to say that Tottenham Hotspur missed a great chance to lift the Premier League trophy last term when Leicester City were their only serious rivals, but rather than crying over spilt milk, Spurs came back even stronger and are now the only side capable of beating current leaders Chelsea. Mauricio Pochettino’s side appear to have hit top form in just the right time as the run of eight successive triumphs in all competitions saw Tottenham close the gap behind the local rivals to mere four points, while they also secured progress to the FA Cup semi-final. It is evident that Spurs are playing with a great deal of confidence at the moment and the entire team played so well that even player like Harry Kane wasn’t sorely missed during his spell on the sidelines. The England star has since returned into action, scoring and assisting in his first start after returning from injury, meaning that Chelsea defenders have every right to fear the likes of Kane, Son, Alli and Eriksen, who have been in excellent form of late.

Team News

After his 3-4-3 formation worked like a charm in the victory over Chelsea back in January, Mauricio Pochettino could revert to a three-man defence for the clash at Wembley.

This means that Heung-Min Son could be dropped from the side, while Victor Wanyama will be recalled to the starting line-up.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Spurs are after their nine consecutive triumph in all competitions
  • The teams won one match each in their Premiership meetings this term
  • They’ve got two wins each in their last six meetings
  • Chelsea scored 2 goals or more in last six matches vs Spurs at Stamford Bridge
  • Tottenham scored 2 goals or more in their last ten fixtures

Conclusion

There will be a lot at stake when the local rivals square off at Wembley on Saturday afternoon, and the extra pressure could prevent the two sets of players from showing all they’ve got. Spurs are definitely in better spirits at the moment, but we expect a very close game that could see the winner decided after penalties.

Verdict: Draw

Best Odds: 12/5

Bookmaker: bet365

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