Off the back of a for-once thrilling international break, the Premier League returns this weekend with a vengeance, with Wembley hosting the game-of-the-weekend.
With Spurs scheduled to finally move into their new stadium in the new year, they will be desperate to finish their stint at the national with a string of wins, and victory over the King’s Road giants would be a fine start. It’s also the small matter of third against fourth, with both teams still in touching distance of leaders Manchester City.
Sarri’s Blues are still unbeaten in the Premier League this season and so Pochettino’s men have the chance to hand Chelsea their first defeat of the campaign; a win that would also see the Lilywhites leapfrog the Blues in the league.
What Tottenham do need to overcome, however, is a generally poor record against their top four rivals, and already this season they have lost at home to Liverpool and Manchester City.
TOP TIP! – Spurs & Chelsea to draw 1-1 @ +600 / Son Heung-Min first goalscorer @ +800
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Interestingly, just prior to the international break Chelsea played out a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge against Everton and, for the first time since Sarri’s arrival, showed a level of vulnerability at both ends of the pitch. Part of the Toffees’ plan was to deny the influential Jorginho time and space on the ball, and it worked. It won’t have been lost on Pochettino.
Oddly, despite being fourth in the league and having enjoyed their best start to a Premier League campaign, Tottenham have not been at their best – much of it being attributed to their heavy player involvement in the latter stages of the World Cup. But the playing field is level now and if Spurs are serious about their title, or at least top four, ambitions, then these are the type of games they must win.
In their overall head-to-heads, Chelsea are ahead with 68 wins compared to Spurs’ 52.
Tottenham will be without right-back Kieran Trippier, who had to withdraw from the England squad through injury, but Chelsea should have Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic available.
It goes without saying that this one will be tight, and with both sides likely to begin the day ‘happy with a point’ there will be an element of caution. But such is the attacking talent on display, it’s difficult to see it being goalless, and 1-1 is the bookies’ favourite score for a reason. At +600 with Bet365 this is well worth a punt.
First goalscorer is also an interesting market in a tight game, and we have a hunch that Son Heung-Min will pop up with a goal +800 with 188bet.
TOP TIP! – Man City to win 3-1 @ +1100 / Arnautovic as anytime goalscorer @ +300
After a rotten start to the season, 13th-placed West Ham rallied well but they have still struggled for consistency and have picked up just a single win in their last six games in all competitions. Man City are far from ideal opponents in the circumstances, especially as the Hammers have lost in their last five meetings with the Citizens.
For City, it has very much been a case of ‘more of the same’, and after running riot in the Premier League last season and amassing over 100 points in the process, this season has been very much a continuation.
That they are only two points clear at the top of the table says more about the rise of Liverpool than it does of any weaknesses on City’s part because, in short, they appear to have few. Not only are they, with good reason, favourites to win all three domestic trophies, but also favourites to win the UEFA Champions League – some bookies having them as short as 3/1.
So there’s no underestimating the task facing West Ham, not least because of the visitors’ impeccable record at the London Stadium. Add in the fact they have not won in six and City have won their last seven and the task becomes massive.
In their 107 head-to-heads, West Ham have won 37 and City 53, so literally everything points to an away win. All the Hammers have to rely on is football doing its thing of throwing up a bizarre result when we least expect it.
Bur City’s last three visits to the London Stadium have all resulted in wins by three or more goals and given that West Ham have kept only one clean sheet this season, it’s impossible to see the home side holding them at bay. Worth noting too is that City are currently averaging three goals per game!
On that basis, it’s not unreasonable to predict another three for City, the only question being can the Hammers, on this occasion, get one in reply. As it happens, with Marko Arnautovic in good form we think they can, so we’re going for the Austrian to be anytime goalscorer +300 with 888sport in a 3-1 win for City +1100 with Bet365.
TOP TIP! – Arsenal to win 2-1 @ +850 / 1-1 at Half-time @ +530
Arsenal are unbeaten in 16 games in all competitions, but their fine start to the season has plateaued of late with three consecutive draws. They have now slipped to eight points behind the league-leaders Manchester City, so will view a trip to the south coast as an ideal opportunity to get their top-four charge back on track.
It will be tough though for Emery’s men as Bournemouth are a good side, especially at home, and are only four points and a single place behind the Gunners in the table. Eddie Howe’s Cherries play in a free-flowing style, not dissimilar to Arsenal, and so it will be one for the purist, with the ball staying mostly on the green stuff.
The two sides have met six times in the Premier League, with Arsenal winning four and Bournemouth one, although that win came in their most recent meeting on the south coast back in January, when Bournemouth won 2-1.
We’re not convinced they can do it again though and can see Arsenal having just enough to end their run of draws, possibly squeaking home with a narrow2-1 win +850 with Bet365. Consider also a 1-1 scoreline at half-time +530 with 188bet.
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