Chelsea 2.0811/10 v Tottenham 4.03/1; The Draw 3.613/5
Wednesday 5 January, 19:45
Live on Sky Sports Football
Chelsea’s defence no longer reliable
Chelsea’s greatest strength under Thomas Tuchel has turned into a weakness.
The success of the Blues after the appointment of the German last year, was built on the solidity of their defence and resulted in the unlikely scenario of the club winning the Champions League for a second time. In recent weeks clean sheets have become a rarity and Chelsea’s results have suffered.
Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Sunday means that they have now conceded in eight of their last nine Premier League games (W3 D5). From being top of the Premier League, second placed Chelsea are now ten points behind the leaders Manchester City. This puts increased pressure on Tuchel and Chelsea to deliver in the cups and the perfect way to start would be to knock out Tottenham over two legs and reach the final of the EFL Cup.
Tuchel has a number of players unavailable for this derby match. Edouard Mendy has departed for the African Cup of Nations. Andreas Christensen, Reece James, Ben Chilwell and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are all injured, while Timo Werner is a doubt, as he recovers from his recent brush with Covid-19.
Tottenham can go strong with team selection
Antonio Conte returns to his old club with his new London side, who are picking up some good results under the Italian.
Tottenham’s recent 1-1 draw away at Southampton and 1-0 win at Watford, were not good performances, but nevertheless continued the unbeaten run in the Premier League under Conte. Spurs have now gone eight league matches without a loss since Conte was appointed (W5 D3), which has seen his team move to within two points of fourth placed Arsenal, with two games in hand.
With the club seemingly out of European competition, Conte can prioritise domestic competitions. His squad currently looks slim in certain positions, with a lack of quality at right wing-back, a dearth of creativity in midfield and no alternative to Harry Kane. It could be difficult to address all of these issues in the January transfer market, but solving just one of those problems would be a boost to Conte and his ambitions.
Conte doesn’t have too many selection issues to deal with. Cristian Romero, Ryan Sessegnon and Steven Bergwijn all missed the game against Watford, but with a favourable FA Cup tie at home to Morecambe on Sunday, Conte can afford to put out as strong a team as possible for this match.
Spurs can make this competitive
Chelsea are the favourites at 2.0811/10, with the draw at 3.613/5 and Tottenham out at 4.03/1.
Despite Chelsea’s drop in form and the improvement of Spurs, those odds do look about right. That’s not to say that the visitors don’t have a strong chance of getting a good result in this first-leg. Tottenham’s recent performance against Liverpool showed that they can create chances on the counter against a generous defence.
With Chelsea having drawn four of their last six home games across all competitions, the stalemate at 3.613/5 could be the value bet. At the very least this game looks set to be competitive.
Goals from both teams looks a sure thing
Both teams to score looks something of a certainty at 1.834/5. We’ve discussed the amount of goals conceded by Chelsea of late, which includes each of their last five home games. Tottenham have scored in ten of their eleven matches under Conte.
Romelu Lukaku is the favourite to score at 2.75, but of course that depends on whether he’s selected, following his comments to the media, which saw him left out against Liverpool. Tottenham’s Kane at 2.85 and Heung-Min Son at 3.613/5, could offer the best value.