Gameweek 18 of the Premier League closes out with probably the most exciting fixture of the round as London rivals Spurs and Chelsea settle scores at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.
Photo Copyright Steve Haag Sport – Hollywoodbets
It’s never a dull affair when these teams meet, and with Chelsea’s most successful manager, Jose Mourinho, now in charge of Spurs, it will only add more fireworks to what is already a thrilling derby. Both sides need a win to improve their top four prospects.
Sunday 22 December | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium | 18:30
To Win (90 Mins)
This will be the second time that Mourinho faces his former club as Tottenham manager. The Portuguese lost on his return to Old Trafford at the beginning of the month in a 2-1 defeat against United, but he’ll be confident of a better outcome this time as he comes up against a Chelsea side very low on confidence.
Mourinho – a two-time manager of Chelsea – would love to beat his old club for many reasons, but most important for Spurs is that victory would see them leapfrog the Blues into fourth place in the Premier League. That would be some achievement for Mourinho as his side were 12 points behind Chelsea when he took over last month.
While Chelsea have struggled in recent weeks, Spurs have found their rhythm and even look more likely to finish in the top four than Chelsea do right now. Of course, there’s plenty of games still to play, but Mourinho’s men are growing in confidence and improving every game.
Spurs will aim to take advantage of the fact that Chelsea have suffered a dip in form, and with the Blues looking shaky in defence, the likes of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min will be looking to wreak havoc and pile further misery on their crosstown rivals.
Frank Lampard is facing his toughest period as Chelsea boss. The Blues suffered their third home defeat of the campaign last weekend when they lost 1-0 to an injury-stricken Bournemouth side, who were on a five-match losing streak going into that game.
It was undoubtedly Chelsea’s worst performance this season and that defeat was their fourth loss from their last five in the Premier League. The likes of Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic are struggling for form, with 11-goal man Tammy Abraham being starved of service in recent matches.
Lampard will no doubt be thinking about new signings after Chelsea won their appeal to sign players in January. But right now, the English boss will be desperate to stop the rot and turn things around. A win over Spurs would certainly restore confidence that has clearly been lacking recently, while it would also give Chelsea a six-point advantage over Mourinho’s men in the race for top four.
This will be the second time that Lampard will face Mourinho as a manager. Against the odds last season, the former Chelsea midfielder got the better of the Portuguese when his Derby County side dumped Manchester United out of the Carabao Cup. This game is different though; Mourinho has put his difficult past behind and has invigorated Tottenham since his return.
Lampard has shown that he is a man who takes the game to the opposition; Chelsea went toe-to-toe with both Liverpool and Manchester City this season. With their over-reliance on youth, the Blues are unplayable when they are on song, but at other times they play like kids.
Verdict: Tottenham (14/10)
Tottenham look re-invigorated under Mourinho, while Chelsea are facing a slump, having lost four of their last five games. Tottenham’s attackers will be licking their lips looking at the underwhelming performances of Kepa Arrizabalaga and the rest of Chelsea’s defence. Back Mourinho’s men to oust Lampard’s youthful side and claim maximum points.
Written by Chad Nagel @ SBN & Hollywoodbets