TOM LOVE (@TomLove_18) unearths the best betting value as Tottenham travel to Chelsea for the second leg of the EFL Cup semi-final on Thursday night.
Chelsea v Tottenham | Thursday 24th January 2019, 19:45 | Sky Sports
The one EFL Cup semi-final that is finely poised takes place on Thursday night. Spurs, 1-0 up from the home leg, know that if they avoid defeat at Stamford Bridge they progress to the final. Should they lose by a single goal, the game will go straight to penalties as away goals and extra-time both apply in this competition.
Tottenham had key attacking trio Harry Kane, Heung Min-Son and Dele Alli starting in the first tie but all are unavailable for this one. It’s obviously a huge blow and the market has shifted significantly in Chelsea’s favour off the back of it. The good news for the North London outfit is, they don’t have to score here, as long as they keep it tight at the other end.
Some will make the point that Chelsea were unlucky to not come away with at least a draw from Wembley in the first fixture. Eden Hazard was once again impressive but his side couldn’t get on the scoresheet despite winning the shot count 17-6.
Maurizio Sarri openly criticised his players after their abject display at The Emirates on Saturday evening; the Blues are seemingly too easy to exploit from a tactical viewpoint.
Any opposition manager should be having one of his midfielders/attackers sit on Jorginho and stop him having the ability to control the game. Spurs did it in the league a while back and Arsenal were exceptional in their high, intense press. Not only did this stop Chelsea but it also meant Arsenal won the ball back in dangerous areas and instantly put the Blues on the back foot.
Sarri has been playing N’Golo Kante in a slightly unfamiliar role in order to shoehorn Jorginho into his favoured position and it’s simply not working at this moment in time. Hazard is operating as a central striker as misfit Alvaro Morata is on his way back to Spain and the gaffer doesn’t seem to rate Olivier Giroud as a starting front man.
For my money, Chelsea were at their most impressive when Giroud was used as a foil for Hazard earlier in the season. The Frenchman occupied the opposition centre halves and allowed space for the Belgian to float in from the left. In a game they need to win, it could be something they revert back to.
The betting angles
I mentioned the market moving towards the hosts and it currently sees them as short as 8/15 in places – given their form I can’t be having that. That price looks even more skinny when you see that Spurs have W14-D2-L3 in all competitions away from home this season. It’s an impressive feat.
Lucas Moura is back fit for the visitors and he will provide an outlet on the break. I think Spurs can put up a good fight here and I’m happy to back them with a +1 start on the Asian Handicap at 5/6 with Winner. This bet would see us take a full stakes win should Spurs avoid defeat but it will also see our stakes returned should they lose by a single goal.
I’m also going to have a look in the Shots On-Target market and my focus is once again on Hazard. Chelsea have to attack this game at some point at least and if it gets too late, the Blues are sure to try and get the ball to Hazard to conjure up some magic.
The Belgian is even-money to have two or more shots on-target and I’m happy to get involved with that. This same bet landed in the first leg and he’s still likely to be playing as the main man up top. Hazard is also on penalties, which is a bonus for these type of bets.
Chelsea v Tottenham – Tottenham +1 Asian Handicap (5/6 Winner)
Chelsea v Tottenham – Eden Hazard to have 2+ shots on-target (1/1 SkyBet)