Can Premier League leaders Chelsea continue their fantastic winning run when they make the trip away to Tottenham on Wednesday night? This frenetic festive period wraps up with a mouth-watering London derby, which is possibly the Blues’ toughest test since their 3-0 defeat at the hands of Arsenal. Will Antonio Conte and his men be able to make a strong start to 2017, or will they fail to pick up three points for the first time since September?
Tottenham will also be confident coming into this game, they’ve put together some strong form; they also finally returned to the top four, albeit for only a day. Their push for a Champions League spot isn’t their main aim, however, as they’ve got outside ambitions of winning the title. However, they’re 10 points back from Chelsea, so they’ll need to claim all three points here to boost their title charge.
Team News: Conte to keep faith in search for 14th straight win
Antonio Conte has resisted the urge to make too many changes across the Christmas period. He welcomes back Pedro this weekend, after the Spaniard was suspended for the Stoke game. However, with Willian and Eden Hazard in excellent form, Pedro is unlikely to find his way back into the team here. We’re backing a familiar 11 here, with Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kante both moving in to central midfield. That should give them a more solid base against a side in great attacking form.
In fact, Conte only has two injury concerns ahead of this game. John Terry is still a doubt, although he’s unlikely to beat any of the current back three to a starting place. Going into this clash, Terry would be a substitute at best. The Blues have Kenedy and Charly Musonda back from their loans, although they’ve not played much this season. Musonda isn’t fit after returning from Real Betis. Neither of those two are likely to appear on Wednesday.
Tottenham’s only injury worry for this game is Erik Lamela, aside from that they’re set to have a fully fit squad. They’ve been lining up in a 3-5-2 formation of late, and they’re likely to continue that here. That allows their attack minded full-backs to push on, while it also gets Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen into their favoured number 10 roles. However, they’re playing with just Victor Wanyama in front of their back three. That could leave them vulnerable.
Since losing 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in November, Tottenham have won six of their last seven matches. That saw them make a return to the top four, dumping Manchester City out in the process, before City leapfrogged then again with a home win against Burnley. Spurs have scored 21 goals in that time, with Harry Kane and Dele Alli hitting solid form up top. They each scored twice in Spurs’ 4-1 win over Watford on New Year’s Day, that was their second consecutive 4-1 victory on the road. Can they continue that excellent scoring form when they return to White Hart Lane on Wednesday night? Or will they struggle against the league’s best defence?
One issue for Spurs is their packed Christmas schedule. Spurs’ kicked off their winter fixtures just a week before this game. They’ve got three games in a week, while the Blues have been resting since Saturday. The Spurs’ squad has already been juggling European football with league action, they might not be able to match the Blues here. Tottenham don’t have the biggest squad, and seeing as they’ve not rotated that much, they might come up a little short when they face the league leaders.
Tottenham v Chelsea Head to Head
Tottenham gave the Blues a scare at Stamford Bridge, as they scored the opener. However, Conte’s side managed to turn things around to continue their impressive winning run Their last trip here was a 0-0 draw under Jose Mourinho, while the season before they lost 5-3 here. It’s hard to see a repeat of either of those results, given how the Blues are playing up front and at the back. It’s tough to see them letting in five goals in any game.
- Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham, Nov 2016
- Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham, May 2016
- Tottenham 0-0 Chelsea, Nov 2015
- Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham, Mar 2015
- Tottenham 5-3 Chelsea, Jan 2015
- Diego Costa to score anytime – 6/5 with BetVictor
- Draw – 12/5 with Sky Bet
Given the form of these two coming into this game, it’s clear that this is a really tough match to call. There’s next to nothing between them in the pre-match betting, Coral price Tottenham at 13/8 here, while Chelsea are 17/10 for the win. It’s hard to see just who will take the points, but this is clearly one of the toughest trips that that the Blues are going to face. They were almost gifted the points at Man City when Pep Guardiola’s men collapsed. They won’t get that lucky here, they’ll need to be at their very best to get anything out of this meeting.
The Blues will need Diego Costa firing, and he made a scoring return to the side at the weekend. He hit a late goal against Stoke on his return from suspension. The forward had a much needed break when he was suspended against Bournemouth. That looks to have helped him, and that’s got to be a worry for Spurs. The way they set up is likely to create space at the back, and Costa is one who can take advantage. We’re backing him to score any time, at 6/5 with BetVictor.
Tottenham are yet to suffer defeat at home all season, which highlights just how difficult this game is for the league leaders. We can’t see a 14th win here for Chelsea, but the Blues should avoid defeat in this one. We’re backing these two to take a point apiece, with the draw priced at 12/5 with Sky Bet ahead of this clash.