Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Prediction: Tottenham vs Chelsea

Verdict: Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: Bet365

With just one point separating them in the table, Tottenham and Chelsea face off at Wembley on Saturday as Maurizio Sarri gets his first taste of a fiery London derby against Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs.

Tottenham

Starting with the hosts, while Mauricio Pochettino has confessed that this season has been the most difficult spell during his tenure at Tottenham, the Lilywhites tally of 27 points after 12 games is their second highest at this stage of a Premier League season. Picking up a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace prior to the international break, they do appear to be reminding their feet having now won their last four matches across all competitions. Along with somehow keeping their Champions League dream alive, Tottenham find themselves fourth in the table and a win on Saturday would see them leapfrog Chelsea in the table. However, still searching for his first piece of silverware under the former Southampton boss, Spurs will need to improve on their recent record against top six opponents. Spurs have lost four of their seven Premier League matches at Wembley against established top-six opposition. With Harry Kane scoring the goal that booked England’s spot in the final four of the inaugural UEFA Nations League, one man to watch this weekend will be International teammate Dele Alli. The playmaker has scored five goals in his last four league and cup games against Saturday’s visitors.

Team News

Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen may return from a hamstring injury but Davinson Sanchez faces a spell on the sidelines with a similar problem.

Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose and Mousa Dembele are also ruled out.

Christian Eriksen, who has been managing an abdominal injury, could reclaim a starting spot.

Chelsea

As for the visitors, after bringing in last year’s Serie A Coach of the Year Maurizio Sarri over the summer, few at Stamford Bridge would have expected his immediate impact at Chelsea. Playing out a 0-0 draw with Everton prior to the International break, the Blues are the only side in England’s top tier yet to be beaten in any competition this season and Sarri’s unbeaten run in his opening 12 Premier League games is a new league record. However, much like Spurs, Chelsea will be looking to improve on their recent record against top six sides. The Blues have only won one of their last eight league games away to their established rivals. Already booking their spot in the knockout stage of this years Europa League, Chelsea will be looking to secure a return to Europe’s most prestigious tournament this time around. One man Sarri will be hoping can find his early season form is leading goalscorer Eden Hazard. While he does have seven goals to his name this season, their Belgian talisman has failed to find the net in his last eight matches for club and country.

Team News

Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic should be available despite missing Croatia’s defeat by England on Sunday because of an ankle problem.

Blues head coach Maurizio Sarri also has a number of undisclosed injury doubts following the international break.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Tottenham have won three of their past seven Premier League games against Chelsea, as many as they had won in the previous 49 top-flight meetings (D18, L28).
  • Spurs are looking to win consecutive league matches against Chelsea for the first time since August 1987.
  • Spurs have lost four of their seven Premier League matches at Wembley against established top-six opposition.
  • The Blues have only won one of their last eight league games away to established top-six rivals (D3, L4) – their 2-1 victory against Spurs at Wembley in August 2017.
  • The last five meetings between the two sides has seen 18 goals.

Conclusion

An encounter that has a tendency to be a fiery affair, we’re expecting more fireworks at Wembley this weekend. Given both sides recent history of struggling against fellow established top six sides, coupled with the last five meetings between the two sides producing 18 goals, backing both teams to score and over 2.5 goals seems like the smartest bet for Saturday’s London derby.

Verdict: Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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