WILL DYER (@w2Dyer) was bang on the money when previewing another Tottenham away game in midweek. Will Spurs respond at Stamford Bridge to keep their unbeaten record intact?
Tottenham v Chelsea | Saturday 17:30 | BT Sport 1
Chelsea sit top of the Premier League after six wins on the bounce without conceding a single goal. The league leader’s welcome the only unbeaten team in the country to Stamford Bridge this weekend, Tottenham Hotspur.
Normally you would expect an unbeaten side to come into any game in a buoyant mood but results outside of the Premier League have been a little more mixed for Spurs of late.
A 2-1 defeat in Monaco on Tuesday night, in a game that they could easily have lost by a bigger margin, saw the North London club crash out of Europe’s premier club competition.
In fact, it’s now just one win in their last nine matches in all competitions for Spurs and even that looked unlikely before two late goals from Harry Kane against West Ham last weekend. That 3-2 win was also the only one of those nine matches in which Spurs have scored more than one goal.
As usual Tottenham upped their game against Arsenal in their last Premier League away day and in general they have performed very well in London derbies.
A lot of that is down to Harry Kane’s goal record in such games, he has 18 goals in 22 matches and a goal-per-game (GPG) ratio of 0.82 – better than any other Premier League player that’s played in 10 or more; Thierry Henry is next best with 43 in 59 or a 0.73 GPG.
When looking at strikers with brilliant stats it’s tough to ignore a certain Mr. Diego Costa. The Brazilian now Spanish forward has scored in five of those six consecutive Chelsea wins. He leads the way on the scoring charts with 10 goals and, if you’ll pardon the cliché, looks a player re-born under Antonio Conte.
Eden Hazard can go into that same category. He has seven goals this season and elsewhere Nemanja Matic and Pedro are contributing to that forward play well; both have five assists this season, only Kevin de Bruyne has more.
Focus on defence
These are also the meanest defences in the league. Tottenham (8) and Chelsea (9) are the only teams to have conceded less than 10 goals this season. And they’ve done this despite playing tough games; both teams have played Arsenal, Leicester and Liverpool already, amongst others.
However, Tottenham’s lack of goals has come at the wrong time for them as they are also without their star defender, Toby Alderweireld. Their clean sheet percentage this season with him on the pitch reads 60%, without him it’s 33%.
To make matters worse, Danny Rose, arguably the best left-back in the league, is suspended. At the Stade Louis II in midweek Eric Dier did a pretty horrid job of filling in for Alderweireld and gave away a stonewall penalty.
Kevin Wimmer has come no way near to making the most of his Champions League starting role either.
Chelsea don’t have the same problem. Their defence is trending in the right direction and they have no absentees of any note.
David Luiz has settled in well after a typically dodgy start. His partnership in a back-three with Cesar Azpilicueta and Gary Cahill combined with Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses as hard working midfielders/wing-backs is working wonders.
All in all, Antonio Conte has got this team purring and playing a formation he loves and I’m sitting comfortably on my 13/2 Chelsea ante-post slip. Go back two months and some factions were ridiculously calling for him to leave.
Spurs got a 2-2 draw at Chelsea in May but it will bring back bad memories for them as this was the game that saw them lose out on the title race for definite. The visitors squandered a 2-0 lead and picked up a shocking nine yellow cards in what was a fascinating high-octane affair.
I think those bad vibes and the absence of Rose and Alderweireld will be telling this weekend and that’s why I’m siding with the Blues in this one. Chelsea are 4/5 with William Hill and that will do me.
Elsewhere, I’m a fan of Costa to bag a goal at 15/14 with 888 and going back to the records of both Kane and Costa you’ve simply got to back SkyBet’s 6/1 price boost on them both scoring in 90 minutes.