ADAM Goodwin (@agjournalism) takes a view on the fascinating Spurs’ first game at Wembley in the Premier League for Tottenham vs Chelsea.
Chelsea v Tottenham | Sunday 16:00 | Sky Sports
Tottenham beat Newcastle in their first game of the season at St James’ Park last weekend after goals from Dele Alli and Ben Davies. Amid this, was the sending off Jonjo Shelvey received after a ‘stamp’ on Dele Alli. Spurs were looking far from convincing before the red card, but they eventually prevailed as 2-0 winners.
Chelsea’s title defence started in the worst viable way as they into half-time 3-0 down and a man light after Gary Cahill was sent off. Resounding boos rang around Stamford Bridge after 45 minutes and things were looking bleak. Cesc Fabregas then received Chelsea’s second red card of the game and, despite pulling the score back to 3-2, the nine-men Blues couldn’t complete the turnaround.
Tottenham to kick start their Wembley campaign
This will be Tottenham’s first league game at Wembley after their temporary move to the national stadium before their new stadium is ready for next season. As mentioned in my piece last weekend, Tottenham won one and lost two of their Champions League games at Wembley last year and Spurs have infamously struggled when playing there in recent years.
Kieran Trippier is still unavailable for this weekend, so youngster Kyle Walker-Peters will continue to deputise at right-back. Like many want away Premier League players now, Danny Rose is also ‘injured’ for the game on Sunday. It is yet to be confirmed whether Ben Davies or Danny Rose-Peters will fill in for him at left-back…
Before Jonjo Shelvey was sent off on Sunday, Tottenham wasn’t necessarily controlling the game and it would’ve been interesting to see if Newcastle would’ve got a result if the match had ended 11 vs 11. Harry Kane has still never scored a Premier League goal in August, and whilst this may just be one of those quirky stats, it may start worrying Mauricio Pochettino.
Christian Eriksen was Tottenham’s standout player last weekend and Spurs will need another impressive display when they face the champions on Sunday.
Chelsea have the Blues but it won’t Costa them
Antonio Conte couldn’t have had a worse start to his second season as Chelsea manager. A 3-2 loss at home to a team tipped as relegation favourites and another two players missing from an already thin squad. On top of that, he’s had to deal with Diego Costa’s media outbursts, where he said the Italian “lacks charisma” and has treated him “like a criminal.” Things can’t get any worse, can they?
On a potentially positive note, new signing Tiemoue Bakayoko and Eden Hazard could be involved on Sunday after the pair took part in a closed doors friendly against QPR earlier this week, where the Blues comfortably won 8-0. They’re already missing Gary Cahill, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro, so the addition of Bakayoko and Hazard to the squad would be a huge boost.
Chelsea has usually had the better of Tottenham in the last decade or so and there’s also usually goals in this fixture. A Dele Alli brace was enough to inflict the Blues to defeat at White Hart Lane last season but Chelsea’s FA Cup semi-final win might give Antonio Conte’s men the psychological advantage at Wembley.
I found this an extremely difficult game to predict because we have no idea how much playing at Wembley will affect Tottenham and I still don’t know who’s fit and who’s not for Chelsea. I think the bookmakers are in a similar position, pricing Tottenham up at best price 23/20, Chelsea at best price 14/5 and the draw at 13/5. Despite their current injury issues, Chelsea went off shorter than 14/5 in the FA Cup semi-final just four months ago, and I think the odds on them to win this Sunday are too big.
Sorry Spurs fans, I’m opposing your lot again on Sunday. Kyle Walker-Peters played well last Sunday but I’m not convinced he’s capable of dealing with the likes of Willian and potentially Eden Hazard. Every team coming to Wembley to play Tottenham this season will feel like they’re playing a cup final and, along with their already existent rivalry with Spurs, Chelsea will be enormously fired up.
Back Chelsea to win or draw at 13/16 with Unibet.
Chelsea v Tottenham – Chelsea to win or draw (13/16 Unibet)