Tom Love has two tips for Chelsea v Spurs on Saturday.
There’s no love lost between these London rivals. Chelsea vs Spurs has been one of the most entertaining and feisty match-ups in recent premier league history and Saturday lunchtime should be no different, especially with the added spice of Jose Mourinho returning to Stamford Bridge for the first time since taking the hot seat at White Hart Lane.
Chelsea are rated as odds-on favourites across the board and I could understand punters scoffing at those quotes on a side that have won just four times since mid-November. On home soil Frank Lampard has only seen his side only beat bottom half sides in Brighton, Newcastle, Aston Villa, Burnley and Crystal Palace but when the pressure is on at home they just don’t have it in them to win. Is that a mentality problem? Possibly.
Lampard has been candid in downplaying his sides chances of ending the season in the top four labelling them underdogs. That can be seen as a form of taking the pressure off his players but it can have an adverse affect an mean his players may not be pushed to play to their technical and physical limits. With their record against the better sides when playing as hosts it could well be that the latter holds greater credence.
Having said all that, can you back a Spurs team who have won just thrice on the road this campaign? Not for me. Two of those three wins were last gasp winners too, their shoddy road record stretches back for over a year now and they make the short trip without key frontmen Harry Kane and Heung Min-Son.
José, ever the pragmatist, will be keen on keeping things tight and try and sneak a win but have an ethos on not getting beat first and foremost. He came out fighting in his post match press conference after their midweek defeat at home to Leipzig in the champions league. Many were questioning why his side were so passive in a game where they have the advantage of 60,000 fans behind them. It’s a valid point that Mou responded in an irked manner to, his mannerisms and personality means he naturally has a shelf life as a manager but that seems to be diminishing with every job he gets.
As far as the betting goes I think the 3/1 offered on the draw makes the most appeal at the prices. Chelsea are ridiculously inconsistent and simply can’t be backed at odds-on in their current guise, however, Spurs just don’t have the track record of away wins to inspire any confidence, therefore backing the stalemate makes sense.
One bright spot for Mourinho will be the form of Argentine midfielder Giovanni Lo Celso. It was a rather subdued start to life in North London for the former Real Betis man but he’s looking like more and more of a key man every week.
He’s the one player, similar to the departed Christian Eriksen, who can make things happen. With the dearth of strikers available at the club, Lo Celso is being charged with helping out in the final third. He’s rarely started and played a full 90 minutes but with his fitness and form improving that’s likely to change. He managed two shots off the bench against Aston Villa last week and then 3 on Wednesday night.
Priced at 7/1 to score anytime he looks a touch too big to break his premier league duck. He’s around 9/2 in most places.