Chelsea will set a new Premier League record for consecutive victories in a single season if they are able to overcome Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane this midweek (8pm Wednesday, Sky Sports 1).
The Blues extended their winning run to 13 successive games last time out, beating Stoke City 4-2 in front of their own supporters at Stamford Bridge. This big-match preview believes that this game might be the one to break their stride, though we will save our final verdict for the concluding betting tips.
Antonio Conte’s men did not have everything their own way on Saturday, with the Potters causing their fair share of problems, but it was another fully deserved triumph that keeps them six points clear of Liverpool in second spot in the standings.
Although they conceded twice last time out, Chelsea possess the strongest defensive unit in the division, while an attack that can call upon Diego Costa, Eden Hazard (pictured), Willian and Pedro Rodriguez will always be capable of scoring goals. Conte has found a perfect balance since swapping the 4-1-4-1 formation for a 3-4-2-1, and it is easy to see why many believe they already have one hand on the Premier League title at the midway point of the 2016/17 campaign. The bookies have them at various shades of odds-on in the Premier League betting odds.
Tottenham were also victorious at the weekend, comfortably getting the better of Watford at Vicarage Road. Two goals apiece from Dele Alli and Harry Kane made the difference in a 4-1 win, with Spurs far superior than their opponents from virtually the first whistle to the last. Mauricio Pochettino’s men have now won five of their last six matches – the exception was a 1-0 loss to Manchester United last month – and scored 18 goals in that time, evidencing an attacking firepower that was missing at times earlier in the campaign.
Their record of 14 goals conceded means they possess the second-best defensive record in the division. Spurs now looking well-placed to secure a Champions League spot for the second season on the bounce.
Nemanja Matic could be fit enough to return to the Chelsea starting XI, although Conte may opt to stick with Cesc Fabregas, who has been excellent in recent weeks, alongside N’Golo Kante in the centre of the park. Willian will probably keep his place ahead of Pedro after netting a brace in the defeat of Stoke, while the usual centre-halves and wing-backs will continue in their defensive roles. Conte has shown a willingness to cede possession and play on the counter-attack against fellow big sides this term, and that is likely to be the case again at White Hart Lane.
Spurs remain without Erik Lamela, who is sidelined with a hip problem, but Jan Vertonghen is available again following a one-game suspension. Pochettino used a 3-5-2 formation in the impressive triumph over Watford and could stick with a similar shape here, with Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld set to be deployed alongside Vertonghen at centre-back. Kieran Trippier should keep his place following a fine display at Vicarage Road, while Mousa Dembele is likely to return to the starting XI after beginning Sunday’s game on the substitutes’ bench.
Our Preview’s Spurs v Chelsea Betting Tips Advice
Chelsea have been superb ever since their winning run started with a 2-0 defeat of Hull City at the start of October, but this could be the match where it all ends for Conte’s charges. Spurs played brilliantly throughout the first-half of their clash with the Blues in November and will again look to disrupt their opponents’ rhythm by pressing high up the pitch, while Pochettino’s men have enough of an attacking threat to break down the Chelsea defence.
A Spurs win at White Hart Lane is this preview’s idea of the betting tip. Alli – who has scored five goals in his last three outings – can find the back of the net anytime.