Tottenham vs Chelsea Preview

English Premier League | Saturday 28 September | White Hart Lane | 13:45

It’s another big derby day in England this weekend as London rivals Tottenham Hotspur host Chelsea. 

The big three teams of London occupy the top four spots and this match will play a crucial role in the respective teams’ title races.

Both sides will be looking for bigger performances from their summer signings, who are taking time to integrate themselves in the fabric of their teams.

There is also the added subtext of Villas-Boas' stint at Chelsea; there is clearly no love lost between the Tottenham manager and his former club.

To Win (90mins)
Tottenham 17/10
Draw 23/10
Chelsea 16/10

Paulinho scored a dramatic 93rd-minute winner as Tottenham moved level with Arsenal atop the Premier League with a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Cardiff City last Saturday.

The visitors had the majority of the possession and what seemed like hundreds of chances, but Cardiff managed to keep the ball out of the back of the net until injury time, when Paulinho finally knocked one in for Tottenham.

A return of five goals in five games will pose a bit of a worry for Andre Villas-Boas (Arsenal, by comparison have scored eleven, and Manchester City twelve), but Spurs' many new signings will take time to build an understanding.

If, or when, that happens, it could lead to a fearsome squad.

Another positive for Tottenham came from the build-up of the goal. The two players who set it up were both second-half replacements, showing that Villas-Boas made good decisions with his substitutions.

It also hinted at the depth in the squad.

A drab performance at the Emirates in a 1-0 loss had Spurs fans worried that the money spent this summer was going to waste; no player could directly replace the goals and impact of Gareth Bale, and they lacked invention in the final third.

Christian Eriksen came in and lit up the win over Norwich in his first appearance in Tottenham colours, and all of a sudden looks like he might turn out to be the best of their many summer signings.

After having left the Eredivisie second in the assists chart, the Dane quickly picked up where he left off, setting up the first Premier League goal Spurs scored in open play this season only 28 minutes into his debut.

He followed that up – his fourth assist in five appearances in Holland and England – with a fantastic goal after coming off the bench against Tromso in the Europa League last week.

Eriksen was a creative hub for Ajax last season, with an impressive assist return at the top level in the Champions League.

In what was undeniably the toughest group, Eriksen picked up four assists against Manchester City, Real Madrid and eventual finalists Borussia Dortmund, as his Ajax side pipped City to third spot.

Chelsea eased the tension at Stamford Bridge to some extent with a 2-0 win over Fulham last Saturday.

The Blues went into the game on the back of two defeats, to Everton and Basel, with media headlines saying it has been Chelsea’s worst start to a Premier League campaign for a decade.

For 45 minutes, the Blues looked weighed down by pressure as they struggled to break down a stubborn Fulham side. But the tide turned when Oscar stabbed home a loose ball on 52 minutes.

The remainder of the performance was not vintage, but Mikel sealed the win—and with it three points that took Chelsea to fourth on the table.

Chelsea’s player of the year for the past couple of seasons, Juan Mata, has found life tough since Mourinho returned to the Bridge in the summer.

On Saturday morning, Mourinho warned Juan Mata that he will have to adapt his game if he is to secure a regular start.

Against Fulham, Mata was not given the opportunity to show he can adapt, as he was not even in the squad.

For much of the contest, Chelsea looked like Mata's presence was sorely missed.

The Blues huffed and puffed and found it extremely tough to break Fulham down. But Mourinho was vindicated in the end with the 2-0 win.

Samuel Eto’o started his third consecutive game, and his match sharpness will be improving.

He once again looked good, with some excellent movement and interplay, but he is crying out for a goal.

A golden chance came early in the match, when the Cameroon international showed his striking instincts are still intact as he dashed in front of his marker to meet a low cross. On another day he would have found the target, but it flashed narrowly wide.

BETTING VERDICT: Chelsea 16/10
Tottenham haven’t beaten Chelsea since 2010, with the teams meeting seven times since and Chelsea winning on three occasions. Chelsea won 4-2 at White Hart Lane last season which was followed by a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge in the second round. Mourinho is tipped to get the best out of his team on derby day with a victory for Chelsea tipped at 16/10.

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