Chelsea v Tottenham | Monday 2 May | Stamford Bridge | 21:00
Chelsea and Tottenham will lock horns at Stamford Bridge on Monday night in what promises to be an epic London Derby. Meetings between the two clubs invariably deliver controversy and contention by the bucketload, and an atmosphere of barely contained hostility in the stands.
It is no secret that this mutual hatred runs deep throughout both players and supporters. For Chelsea’s fans, the season is far from over. They spent the final 10 minutes at Bournemouth chanting of their desire to beat rivals Tottenham at Stamford Bridge and hand the title to Leicester.
To Win (90 Mins)
Chelsea 18/10 | Draw 23/10 | Tottenham 29/20
Chelsea can still have a huge influence over who succeeds them as champions as they face both Tottenham and Leicester at home in their final four matches of the season. Last month John Terry admitted that he is rooting for Leicester to win the Premier League title and now Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas have said the same thing. So for the Blues, preventing a rival from winning a title is indeed something left to play for this season, along with a general sense of pride. Chelsea supporters could forgive their team for a nightmare season if they manage to derail Tottenham Hotspur’s Premier League title challenge.
If Chelsea were to put in a performance worthy of the shirt and snuff out Tottenham’s title charge at the death, then the celebrations around SW6 would be seismic. However, the title might even be decided before they kick-off if Leicester manages to beat Manchester United on Sunday.
The Blues were at their menacing best in a 4-1 triumph over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium last weekend. There was to be no repeat of the Cherries’ fairytale victory over the reigning Premier League champions back in December, with Guus Hiddink’s men turning in the type of dominant performance that has become all too rare from the Londoners this campaign.
Although little material reward will be gained from the result, it was still a performance where Chelsea displayed the vast array of talent which cruised to the 2014-15 title. A major factor in both that success and this dominant win was Barcelona import Fabregas, who steals the show every time he is at his best. Playing with a level of accuracy and creativity that is hard to match in the Premier League, the 28-year-old provided assists for Pedro, Hazard and Willian’s goals, each displaying a different aspect of near-perfect distribution.
Hazard scored in either half as Chelsea brought a run of two Premier League defeats to an end in some style. The Belgium international will be hoping for another impressive display as Chelsea look to end the season on a high. When he’s in the mood, few defences can live with his movement, pace and blurring array of tricks.
Diego Costa will start up front for Chelsea and look to test the best defence in the league. The Spaniard was forced to watch the entirety of Chelsea’s goalless draw against Tottenham earlier this season after Jose Mourinho opted to leave him out which Costa responded by throwing his bib in the direction of Mourinho. Under Hiddink, Costa is playing much better football, making more runs through the middle, working harder for his teammates and scoring goals.
Tottenham Hotspur’s prospects of catching Leicester City in a thrilling Premier League title race suffered a major blow as they dropped two points in a frustrating 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion at White Hart Lane on Monday.
Tottenham’s exhilarating title challenge has been characterised by a fearless mentality. But for the first time all season, they allowed the nerves to get the better of them at White Hart Lane. In front of goal, they were uncharacteristically sloppy, with a total of two shots on target, their lowest of the season so far, and there were signs of indecision as they lost their way in the closing stages.
Spurs desperately needed three points after Claudio Ranieri’s side’s emphatic 4-0 victory over Swansea on Sunday, but the draw leaves them seven points off the summit. The Foxes need to take just three points from their games against Manchester United, Everton and Chelsea to guarantee the title – meaning they could be crowned champions before Spurs face the Blues on Monday.
To make matters worse for Spurs, they could be missing Dele Alli in the closing stages of the season after video footage emerged on Twitter showing the PFA Young Player of the Year punching West Brom midfielder Claudio Yacob in the stomach during the first half. Alli now could be banned from the remainder of North London club’s campaign.
There is not much more that Spurs can now do than pray for an unlikely Leicester collapse. In the meantime, they must also win all of their remaining games, but, in all likelihood, that will not prove to be enough. A perfect response would be taking all their frustration out on Chelsea.
Pochettino’s side are unbeaten in seven Premier League matches and although they haven’t won at Stamford Bridge since 1990, this is probably their best chance. With the likes of Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela and Harry Kane, Spurs will fancy their chances of leaving Stamford Bridge with maximum points.
Verdict Chelsea (18/10)
Despite Chelsea’s struggles this season, they showed last weekend that they’re still a world class team. The Blues can beat any team when at their best and Spurs haven’t won at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League era. The Chelsea players have said that they’ll do everything they can to beat Pochettino’s side, who look set to be without Alli in midfield. Chelsea are tipped to oust their rivals at 18/10.