An in-form Tottenham Hotspur side welcomes struggling Chelsea to White Hart Lane on Sunday for what is sure to be another hotly contested London derby.
Spurs making Positive Progress under Pochettino
With just one defeat so far in the new campaign (on the opening day against Manchester United), Spurs are turning into one of the surprises of the season as coach Mauricio Pochettino targets Champions League football in 2016. After last weekend’s 4-1 destruction of London rivals West Ham United and Thursday’s secure passage into the last 32 of the Europa League, the North London club now welcome a stuttering Chelsea to White Hart Lane. The game is being billed as a battle between two very different kind of strikers; Harry Kane of Spurs and Diego Costa of Chelsea. England international Kane has been in sparkling form of late and he helped himself to two more last weekend to take his tally to eight for the season. The best online sports betting websites currently quote him at *5.50 to open the scoring on Sunday. The 22-year-old is also the king of the capital’s marksmen in the Premier league era, boasting the best goals to games ratio in London derbies than any other player.
Two Wins in a Week Gives Mourinho Breathing Space
Under fire Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho celebrated his team’s 1-0 home win over Norwich last weekend as if they had won the championship, such was the relief to get back to winning ways after three consecutive league defeats. They followed that up with an easy win away to Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Champions League in midweek. Next up is the real acid test away at one of their bitterest rivals. If Kane is riding the crest of a wave for Sunday’s opponents, then his opposite number, Spanish striker Diego Costa, has been washed up onto shore with last Saturday’s winning goal against the Canaries only his third in the league this season. The performances of their temperamental frontman sums up the clubs season so far, with the West London club only giving us fleeting glimpses of what we know they are capable of. Another battering at White Hart Lane like last season and the knives will once again be going for the jugular.
Spurs will be without their young England midfielder Dele Alli for the visit of Chelsea as he serves a one match suspension. Alex Pritchard and Nacer Chadli are the other two players who will definitely miss the weekend clash. Argentinean playmaker Erik Lamela, who missed the trip to Qarabag on Thursday, should be fit to start on Sunday.
For Chelsea, captain John Terry is out after injuring his ankle in midweek. Kurt Zouma is likely to take his place in the centre of defence. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and striker Falcao are also absent due to injury. Spanish international midfielder Cesc Fàbregas, should be fit to start at the weekend despite a toe injury whilst his midfield colleague Ramires, will be assessed nearer to kick-off.
PROBABLE STARTING XI’S
Tottenham Hotspur (4-2-3-1) Lloris; Rose, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Walker; Dier, Dembélé; Heung-Min, Eriksen, Lamela; Kane
Chelsea (4-2-3-1) Begovic; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Cahill, Ivanovic; Matic, Fàbregas; Pedro, Hazard, Willian; Costa
HEAD TO HEAD
Tottenham Hotspur’s amazing 5-3 win last season, ended a run of nine straight Premier League games against Chelsea without a win although the North London side has a good record at home to the Blues; having only lost one of the last nine at White Hart Lane. If Spurs manage to avoid defeat on Sunday, it will be their best ever run in the Premier League (13). Belgian international Eden Hazard has scored in his last three league appearances for Chelsea against Spurs. He’s priced at *3.60 on the best football betting sites to be an anytime scorer on Sunday.
Tottenham Hotspur 2.60 Draw 3.40 Chelsea 2.90
*odds courtesy of Bet365
Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)