There’s little doubt that the London derby between Chelsea and Tottenham is the most attractive game of the English Premier League this weekend.
Jose Mourinho returns to the Bridge to face one of his lieutenants Frank Lampard. Both managers are in a tough spot right now and the match could be crucial for the Champions League places next season.
This betting preview goes through the current state of both clubs and I finish with a prediction that might be a bit surprising at the end.
At some point of the season, it looked like Chelsea was going to finish in the top 4 with ease. Many of the other big guns were struggling and the Blues managed to build a healthy gap.
That’s when they forgot how to score goals against teams that defend in numbers. Chelsea has lost a ton of points in the past two months. Frank Lampard failed to get the best out of some of his senior players and hasn’t found a solution for tight defenses yet.
We saw that clearly against Manchester United on Monday. The Red Devils arrived in London without Pogba and Rashford, but still beat Chelsea comfortably. One could argue that the Blues were unlucky with some of the referee decisions, but that wasn’t the only reason why they lost.
Once again, they were toothless up front and were hit on the counter. I’m sure Jose Mourinho was watching and will be confident that he can do something similar, so Lampard will once again face a team that will play with plenty of players behind the ball.
He tried to use Pedro and Giroud more against United and while it didn’t work, his desire to rely on the veterans in tough moments is a positive sign.
And yet, it will take some time before he finds the right balance and I believe Chelsea will once again struggle against Tottenham.
The Spurs are not in a much better position. They are somehow alive in all tournaments, but the injury problems up are starting to pile up. Harry Kane is gone until April and now Son is also injured. The South Korean was a key player in the captain’s absence and I don’t think Jose can replace both.
We saw what happened against RB Leipzig in the Champions League. The Germans took a deserved lead in the second half and Tottenham pushed for an equalizer. They created several good chances but converted none of them.
It’s tough to score goals when your best attacking players are out, so I’m not sure that Jose could do much. He will focus on frustrating Chelsea and will be hoping for mistakes on the other end.
That worked against Manchester City and almost worked against Liverpool, so I see no reason for the manager to abandon this approach.
Most betting sites out there expect some goals in this one, while I’m on the opposite opinion. The defense of both sides might be shaky, but the overall setup for this match suggests that the Spurs will defend deep.
That is exactly the style of play that works against Chelsea and if you add Tottenham’s injury problems up front, I believe that the under 2.5 goals outcome is the best pick available.