Chelsea v Tottenham: Unders stands out at Stamford Bridge
With both sides battling it out for a place in next year's Champions League, the stakes are high at Stamford Bridge on Saturday lunchtime. Dave Tindall believes there could be a lack of goals...
Chelsea v Tottenham
Live on BT Sport 1
Live on BT Sport 1
Blues still struggling at home
Chelsea are hanging onto fourth place.
Once comfortable in a Champions League slot, there are now five teams within five points of the Blues and their closest pursuers are Saturday's opponents Spurs.
The problem for Frank Lampard - as it has been all season - is patchy home form. Newcastle and Burnley have won more points in front of their own fans than Chelsea while fourth-bottom Aston Villa have the same number of home wins (five).
The Stamford Bridge stumbles continued on Monday night with a 2-0 loss to Manchester United while Liverpool, West Ham, Bournemouth and Southampton have all left there with three points.
Chelsea didn't get the rub of the green against United but bad luck can't explain away all those defeats and, after exceeding expectations at the start of the campaign, Lampard is suddenly looking exposed.
Striking problem for Spurs
With Son Heung-min joining Harry Kane on the injured list - both could be out for the rest of the campaign - Spurs went into their Champions League last 16 home tie against RB Leipzig desperately short up front.
The outcome: Spurs couldn't find the net and lost 1-0.
"This is our situation, it's like going to a fight with a gun without bullets," said Jose Mourinho later and that looks a fair analogy.
The incentive on Saturday is huge of course, as Spurs will leapfrog Chelsea if they can take all three points.
But even if they do, does that make them favourites to bank fourth? That lack of striking power hangs over Spurs and as Mourinho reflected: "What worries me is this is going to be the situation until the end of the season."
Chelsea clear favourites
Chelsea are 1.79 to take victory but, despite Spurs looking light up front, backing the Blues at this sort of price at Stamford Bridge looks highly dubious.
Time and time again they've struggled to break teams down when the onus has been on them and Mourinho will set a tough examination paper.
Spurs are 5.00 to turn over their rivals while The Draw is 4.10.
History leans heavily towards the hosts at least as Tottenham have won just one of their last 33 away games against Chelsea in all competitions (D11 L21). However, at least that one win (3-1) came as recently as April 2018.
As for Mourinho, he has a long list of happy memories at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea boss but returning there with other teams has been a different story. He's yet to win in three attempts, losing two of those.
Unders the call
Easily the best bet in my eyes on Saturday lunchtime is Under 2.5 goals, a surprising underdog at 2.06.
The very quick assessment is that Spurs have no strikers and Chelsea struggle badly for goals at home.
On that latter point, three of the bottom five have scored more at home than Chelsea's paltry tally of 16.
With a lack of attacking options, Mourinho will clearly go to his former stomping ground and set up to frustrate so this could be a difficult afternoon for the home team.
Looking at the whole season, Chelsea home games in the Premier League have witnessed under 2.5 goals eight times in 13 fixtures so the numbers are on our side.
As they are in recent meetings with three of the last four clashes between the London derby rivals witnessing goal counts of 2, 2, 3 and 1.
Add in the tension of this being fourth v fifth with a Champions League spot at stake and most of the cards appear to be in the favour of Unders backers.
In fact, it could even pay to really push the lack of goals boat out and back Under 1.5 at 4.00.
BTTS market less appealing
Lack of goals could also lead to a play on 'No' in the Both Teams To Score market at 2.12.
That would have landed in five of Tottenham's last 11 games in all competitions and in five of Chelsea's last 10 so the figures are more balanced there. No bet. Unders is the better option.
Azpilicueta worth a go
I don't fancy goals and certainly wouldn't be backing anyone at short prices.
But we can still absorb two goals in an Under 2.5 bet and at a value price I'll have a small punt on Cesar Azpilicueta getting the first goal.
The thinking is simple. Spurs have been poor at defending set-pieces and Azpilicueta has scored four times in his last 17 games which is a healthy strike rate and not reflected in his Sportsbook price of 50/1.
One of those was the opener at Brighton so it's a bet that's already landed in 2020.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard - who made 140 Premier League appearances under Jose Mourinho - beat him in their first league managerial meeting back in December 2019. Only one manager has ever won his first two league games against Mourinho - Boavista's Jaime Pacheco in September 2001.
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