Chelsea v Spurs Tips & Betting Preview
Can Spurs cope without Son and Harry?
This EFL Cup semi-final second-leg is beautifully poised. Spurs will hope the 1-0 advantage they take to Stamford Bridge will be enough to see them through to the final, while Chelsea will believe Spurs’ depleted squad will put them in the driving seat to meet Burton Albion (or Manchester City) in the final.
Both sides’ respective performances in the Premier League last weekend were lacklustre. Chelsea were toothless, uncreative and lethargic against Arsenal, and Maurizio Sarri’s Mourinho-esque post-match interview displayed signs of cracks for the first time in his tenure.
Spurs’ dramatic victory against Fulham was laboured and ultimately pretty fortunate; it’s clear Harry Kane’s injury and Son Heung-Min’s unavailability due to Asian Cup duty will seriously harm Spurs’ EFL Cup prospects – and dare I say, even their chances of a top four finish?
Fernando Llorente, who scored a comedy own-goal before missing a late sitter against Fulham, is not the man to fill the sizeable void left by Kane, and that’s a massive worry.
If Kane and Son were still available, I’d back Spurs to progress, but after watching how they performed against Fulham, I’ve changed my tune – I’m tipping Chelsea to progress to the final. They were poor against Arsenal, but the Stamford Bridge factor will be crucial, particularly because they’re far savvier cup campaigners than Spurs.
16 of Spurs’ last 26 Premier League goals have come from either Kane or Son; with that amount of firepower so instantaneously removed from their line-up, there’s no way they’ll be even remotely as effective.
Chelsea, especially if Sarri doesn’t play Eden Hazard as a False 9 (an incredibly infuriating waste of talent), have a great chance of overturning the first-leg deficit and progressing – and I believe they’ll do so.
I have a filthy $9 longshot to end with: Willian to score first.
Neither of Chelsea’s strikers score (or play for that matter) and Eden Hazard, whose goals are drying up, is being wasted - all putting plenty of goalscoring burden on the shoulders of Chelsea’s wide men.
Pedro has chipped in with a few this season, although he’s not started a single EFL Cup match this season, while Willian has started every one. The Brazilian is not a particularly popular player amongst Chelsea fans, but he’s still not someone to overlook in this market.
Of course, Spurs could easily score first themselves, but as a longshot, $9 for a Chelsea attacker (who is nailed-on to start) to score first is worth a punt.
Just 42% of Chelsea’s home matches in the Premier League have seen over 2.5 goals scored in total, and that number looks like it’ll continue falling; Sarri’s men have just 10 goals in their last nine matches, which is not the sort of form which gets you into the top four.
I appreciate cup matches can be different, but I see this being a similarly cagey affair to the first-leg – the stakes are too high to risk giving the other side an inch.
So, Chelsea aren’t scoring many, and Spurs have lost their two most prolific goalscorers; under 2.5 goals (after the 90 minutes) looks massively likely here.