30th April 2011
There is no doubt that this London derby will be an exciting affair, especially taking into account the importance a win would have on the outcome of teams’ season. Chelsea have returned to the title race and they can put extra pressure on United with three points from this match, whereas Spurs have got to win at Stamford Bridge in order to keep their Champions League hopes alive.
This has been a pretty strange season for Chelsea since the Blues started the league campaign in great style, making everyone believe they will easily win the league title, then they entered a very poor run that saw them drop out of the title race, and now, after winning four straight games the Blues are back in the hunt for the Premiership trophy. Carlo Ancelotti’s side have shown a massive improvement of late and they have got to be considered favourites against struggling Tottenham, even if they have won just one of their last seven meetings against Spurs. With Fernando Torres finally ending the scoring drought and Didier Drogba back to his best, the Blues have got a new quality up front, with the run of three three-goal wins the perfect proof. Seeing that Michael Essien, Alex and Ramires recovered from injury, Carlo Ancelotti will have full squad to choose from, which is another reason to back Chelsea in this game.
Harry Redknapp has done a great job with Spurs, taking them to first top 4 finish and the Champions League semi-finals, and he is on the good road to turn Tottenham into genuine title contenders, but it still looks as though Spurs will not be able to finish this season on a high. The current poor run of results and the fact Tottenham have won just one out of last ten games is the obvious result of the draining Champions League campaign and it is the European exploits that are likely to cost the team another top 4 finish. Given the state the team are in as well as the absence of several important players, it is highly unlikely that Spurs will be able to stop high-flying Chelsea from winning this game with the game at Stamford Bridge likely to end Tottenham’s Champions League hopes. Spurs are definitely without Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Alan Hutton, Wilson Palacios and Bongani Khumalo, whereas Vedran Corluka, Ledley King, Tom Huddlestone and Jonathan Woodgate remain doubtful.
There is no doubt that Chelsea face a difficult task against very motivated Tottenham side, but looking at teams’ form and their recent performances, I cannot look past the Blues here. They are expected to win this game and put extra pressure on United before the leaders face Arsenal at the Emirates.
Verdict: Home win Chelsea (1)
Best Odds: 8/15
Bookmaker: Paddy Power