Following a 2-0 defeat at Manchester United last weekend, Chelsea are now facing a challenge from Tottenham on two fronts. Spurs have cut the gap at the top of the Premier League to just four points, and they’re hoping to put pressure on the leaders in the closing stages of the campaign. However, before the league run-in gets under way, there’s a meeting between the top two sides in England at Wembley. The Blues face a rampant Spurs side in the FA Cup semis this weekend, can they quickly bounce back from their setback at Old Trafford? Antonio Conte will be desperate to mastermind a turnaround.
Tottenham come into this match in excellent form, with pundits raving about their recent displays. However, they do fear the national stadium, despite agreeing to move to Wembley next season. In four European games at this ground this term Spurs managed one win, as they recorded early exits from both the Champions League and Europa League. That’s something the Blues can exploit here, especially given the experience Conte has at his disposal, compared to this youthful side which Pochettino has established.
Team News: Conte sweating on Courtois and Alonso
Chelsea’s plain sailing on the injury front fell apart at Old Trafford, as late injuries to Thibaut Courtois and Marcos Alonso cost them in that game. Conte will be left worrying about the fitness of both players ahead of this tie. Alonso should have recovered from his virus, which would come as a huge boost. Eden Hazard looked lost without the Spaniard’s overlapping runs, something no one else could bring to that left-hand side.
Asmir Begovic is an able deputy for Courtois, but the Blues will still want their first choice stopper restored to the starting line-up for such a massive game. While Conte was rotating in the cup, he’ll be avoiding that as much as possible. This is no time for a farewell run out for John Terry, who announced his departure this week. The club captain will leave in the summer, but he’ll be hoping to celebrate two more trophies before he moves elsewhere.
The big team news as far as Tottenham are concerned is around their set up. They have Harry Kane back, and Pochettino’s men are firing on all cylinders right now. However, they could well change their approach in an attempt to nullify Chelsea, as Jose Mourinho did to such great effect at Old Trafford.
Tottenham come into this clash in fantastic form, having won eight straight games ahead of this showdown. Spurs have scored at least twice in their last 11 matches, which puts them in a great position ahead of this clash. While their winning run is going to face stern opposition in the run in, Pochettino’s men must be full of confidence coming into this meeting.
While pundits have been falling over themselves to praise Spurs’ after their recent form, it’s worth considering that they’ve won their last two against average sides. Beating Bournemouth and Watford isn’t exactly a huge challenge, those are two poor teams who have little left to play for. Winning those matches at home isn’t something that sets them apart as title winners, although it’s kept them comfortably in the top four, and kept them in touch with the leaders. Stepping up to beat the Blues is a much tougher task.
Chelsea v Tottenham Head to Head
Chelsea will be worrying about their last meeting with Tottenham ahead of this clash, having lost 2-0 at White Hart Lane in January. That loss ended the Blues’ 13 match winning streak, and it showed how to beat the 3-4-3 for the first time since Conte switched to it. However, the leaders beat Spurs 2-1 in that run, and they have a strong record aside from that loss.
- Tottenham 2-0 Chelsea, Jan 2017
- Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham, Nov 2016
- Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham, May 2016
- Tottenham 0-0 Chelsea, Nov 2015
- Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham, Mar 2015
- Both teams to score – 4/5 with Betfred
- Chelsea to qualify – 5/6 with Sky Bet
Chelsea come into this game priced at 8/5 with Bet365 to win in 90 minutes, while Tottenham are priced at 9/5 with Coral to come out on top. A draw between these two is 9/4 with BetVictor, and that’s not something we can rule out. Given Tottenham’s form and the small gap between them, this clash could well go to extra time. Following Chelsea’s loss to Manchester United, the weaknesses in their 3-4-3 set up seem to have been exposed. Can the Blues find a way to get around the man marking which troubled them last weekend?
A major worry for the Blues is that their defence has been far too open of late. They’ve now conceded in 10 straight Premier League matches, which doesn’t bode well for this weekend’s clash. The Blues are facing a Tottenham side who are in great scoring form, and we expect Mauricio Pochettino’s men to find a way through. However, we’re backing the Blues to find the scoresheet, so we’re backing both teams to score at 4/5 with Betfred.
Given the Blues’ struggles at the back, it’s hard to make a case for backing them on the match betting. This could be a long clash, especially if Tottenham set up to frustrate the leaders. While we think Antonio Conte’s side will eventually come through this tie, we could see extra time or even penalties when these two meet.
Spurs have an awful record at Wembley, winning just one of their four matches here this term. That’s why we’re avoiding backing Chelsea on the match betting, and backing them to qualify for the final instead at 5/6 with Sky Bet. Overall, that seems to be much better value, and it’s a bet which could keep going through 120 minutes and then some.