London derbies between Chelsea and Tottenham are always keenly-fought affairs but with so much riding on this game for the away side, it promises to be even more fiery than most. Spurs face an uphill struggle to get back into contention for the title, although by the time they run out at Stamford Bridge it could already be over as Leicester will have faced Manchester United on Sunday.
If the Foxes fail to win at Old Trafford however, there is still a slim chance that Spurs could overtake them, so they have to approach the game with a must-win attitude. That’s a task that will be made all the harder without PFA Young Player of the Year Dele Alli after his moment of madness against West Brom, and of course Chelsea would like nothing more than to put a dent in their rivals challenge.
A Hazardous Statement
Eden Hazard made that abundantly clear with his comments in the aftermath of the Blues 4-1 win at Bournemouth, when he stated that “The fans, the club, the players, we don’t want Tottenham to win the Premier League”.
Although undoubtedly true, it’s debatable how wise it was for the player to come out and say it, particularly as he has had plenty of criticism for his own performances this season. The playmaker scored twice in the defeat of Bournemouth but they were his first league goals of the season in a miserable campaign for Chelsea. He may well have written Mauricio Pochettino’s team talk for him with that statement, but the Spurs players should need no extra incentives to go and try and win this game anyway.
Motivation may have been a problem for Chelsea players this year after last year’s title win, but with the Belgian back in form and back among the goals he looks a fair price to score at any time +300 with Paddy Power and Betfred
So often we see players regain confidence once they’ve hit the back of the net and go on a run of scoring, and despite the woeful season, Chelsea have only failed to score in a home game on two occasions since August. Those games were the shock 1-0 defeat to Bournemouth and the last home game where they went down 3-0 to Manchester City, but if they find the net on Monday night, Eden Hazard could be the man most likely.
Spurs Fading Title Hopes
Mauricio Pochettino has insisted that Spurs will not give up on the title race, but they are relying on favours from other teams against Leicester to help them reduce the deficit. Most Spurs fans probably gave up hope with the 1-1 draw at home to West Brom last week, but the team are in no other position than to go for broke.
They really have nothing to lose in this game and can play in the same attacking style that has served them so well this term. Dele Alli will be missed, but there are still several quality players wearing the Spurs shirt this season and Harry Kane will cause problems for a questionable Chelsea defence. The Blues have only managed one clean sheet in the last ten games – against Aston Villa – while Spurs have found the net in eight of their last ten.
The two sides played out a 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture at White Hart Lane, but this game will be much more open as Tottenham try to force the issue and claim all three points.
Chelsea Have a Point to Prove
Chelsea are out to show that they are still one of the top clubs in England, and although European qualification has passed them by, there is a huge amount of pride at stake in this particular game. It will be hard to take for Chelsea fans and players alike that they are facing a side who will be competing in next year’s Champions League, and they will want to prove that their exile from the top four is only temporary.
The ship has been steadied since Guus Hiddink was put in charge after the dismissal of Jose Mourinho, and even though results haven’t been spectacular, there is a much improved atmosphere and work ethic around the club. The defeat to Manchester City will have been hard to take, and they will be determined not to go down to the London rival that has taken their place at the top table this year.
Which way this game will swing could depend on a mistake, a moment of magic, or a refereeing decision, and it’s too tight to call a winner. The both teams to score market is much more interesting as both of these teams are attacking by nature and both will be desperate to win for their own very different reasons.
Chelsea v Spurs Both Teams to Score
Monday 2nd May, 20:00 GMT
Eden Hazard to score at any time
Monday 2nd May, 20:00 GMT