Tottenham v Chelsea: Oppose goals in Big Six battle

Tottenham will be desperate to bounce back to winning ways when they welcome Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea on Thursday night. Mark O'Haire previews the encounter...

Tottenham v Chelsea
Thursday February 4, 20:00
BT Sport

Tottenham under-fire for Brighton no-show

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho suggested his players were "too unhappy" as they slumped to a desperately disappointing 1-0 defeat at Brighton on Sunday night. The result leaves Spurs six points off the top-four with Mourinho saying: "When you are too sad, you have no energy, enthusiasm or confidence, and that was what the team showed in the first half."

Mourinho opted to play Moussa Sissoko on the right-hand side of a 3-4-3 in the absence of Harry Kane but Tottenham were distinctly second-best, producing a directionless attacking display in the opening 45 minutes - it marked the sixth occasion under the Portuguese's tenure that Spurs had managed one shot or fewer during a first-half in the Premier League.

Things barely improved after the interval and out-of-form Tottenham have now taken only nine points from nine league games since topping the table in early December. The hosts remain without Kane for Thursday night's game and Spurs have triumphed in only three of their past 13 Premier League encounters without their top goalscorer and talisman.

Chelsea up-and-running under Tuchel

Emphatic finishes from Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso gave Thomas Tuchel his first victory as Chelsea head coach on Sunday as Burnley were comfortably swatted aside 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. The Blues were in complete control throughout the contest and didn't face a single attempt at goal until stoppage-time, convincingly winning the shot count 19-1.

Tuchel raised a few eyebrows with his team selection, including both Spaniards in a 3-4-2-1 system. However, the duo impressed and Callum Hudson-Odoi particularly thrived from the right wing-back role. Elsewhere, Mason Mount made a good impression after being recalled to the starting XI, where Timo Werner's struggles in front of goal were evident once more

Post-match Tuchel said: "We had a lot of half chances but we had to wait a long time. What impressed me was that we never lost control and we had courage and confidence to impose our style. "We never got scared and we stayed patient. The attitude and energy was very good. I'm very happy with the performance and energy."

Cash has come for Blues

Tottenham and Chelsea have been familiar foes in recent seasons, meeting on eight occasions over the past two-and-a-half seasons. Spurs have posted a W2-D2-L4 return in that eight-game sample, and the home side have found the Blues a tough nut to crack when hosting Premier League encounters with their capital rivals too, going W3-D5-L3 since 2010.

Tottenham 3.65 have posted just W3-D4-L4 in their past 11 Premier League outings to slide six points adrift of the top-four. Matches against the division's elite have proven particularly troublesome for Jose Mourinho's men with Spurs managing W2-D2-L4 against the top-eight, including W1-D1-L3 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this term.

Chelsea 2.22 are yet to beat any of the traditional Big Six or Leicester in 2020/21 (W0-D2-L4), firing blanks on four occasions. The Blues earned a flat-track bullies tag during the reign of Frank Lampard and the visitors make the short journey across town having picked up a solitary point from a possible 15 on the road when excluding the bottom-six (W0-D1-L4).

Oppose goals in Big Six battle

We've already had 17 matches involving two Big Six teams in the Premier League this season and such contests have rarely lived up to the pre-match hype. In fact, 11 (65%) have paid out for Under 2.5 Goals 1.90 backers, whilst five (29%) of those fixtures have concluded goalless. Both figures far exceed the division's overall seasonal average.

Six (35%) of the aforementioned 17 games have ended all-square and I'm expecting Thursday night's tussle to follow a familiar blueprint, particularly with Jose Mourinho involved. A 'must not lose' attitude could be employed by both camps with Spurs happy to contain and counter, with Chelsea happy to monopolise possession and territory.

With that in mind, I'm happy to support Under 2.5 Goals at 1.90 quotes with a repeat of the reverse 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge a potential outside runner at 11.00.



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