FOOTBALL

23 January, 2022

AUTHOR: James Dowen

STAR PREVIEW Sun: Chelsea v Tottenham

The long winter months can be tough for everyone, but Chelsea appear to have plenty of the winter blues, and they could get worse when Tottenham visit Stamford Bridge today.  Any title ambitions had long been a thing of the past but Chelsea’s long running Premier League slump – they’ve won just one of their last seven Premier League matches – but after another draw against Brighton in midweek they will surely be looking over their shoulder at the likes of Tottenham, who are unbeaten in the league under Antonio Conte and have four games in hand on Chelsea.

The hosts’ have unperformed in a number of areas, but it’s hard to disagree with Thomas Tuchel’s assessment, which is that Chelsea are simply exhausted.

They have played twice a week for three months straight – and during this period they’ve also had COVID absences and injuries, especially on their left flank with the loss of Ben Chilwell and Reece James proving to be especially damaging whilst centre-back Andreas Christensen has missed the last two games against Manchester City and Brighton due to a positive COVID-19 test, and Trevor Chalobah has also been absent due to an ongoing hamstring issue.

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur
Premier League
16:30 Sky Sports Main Event HD / Sky Sports Premier League HD / Sky Sports Ultra HD

HEAD-TO-HEAD RECORD
JAN 2022 EFL CUP SEMI-FINAL Tottenham 0-1 Chelsea
JAN 2022 EFL CUP SEMI-FINAL Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham
SEP 2021 PREMIER LEAGUE Tottenham 0-3 Chelsea
FEB 2021 PREMIER LEAGUE Tottenham 0-1 Chelsea
NOV 2020 PREMIER LEAGUE Chelsea 0-0 Tottenham
SEP 2020 EFL CUP Tottenham 1-1 Chelsea
DEC 2020 PREMIER LEAGUE Tottenham 0-2 Chelsea
FEB 2019 PREMIER LEAGUE Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham
JAN 2019 CARABAO CUP Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham
JAN 2019 CARABAO CUP Tottenham 1-0 Chelsea
NOV 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Tottenham 3-1 Chelsea

Chelsea did get the better of Tottenham in both their EFL Cup semi-final legs, but Tuchel’s side appear to have regressed based on their league displays since and it would be risky to assume that the gap between the two sides will stay the same here.

Spurs’ extraordinary win at Leicester in midweek did come thanks to Steven Bergwijn’s two injury-time goals but the stats say success was deserved – they won the shot count 27-14, the shots on target count 10-4, and the xG count 4.68 – 1.94.

Harry Kane’s much improved form is also a boost to their long-term prospects – he’s scored in four of his last five Premier League games and before he equalised for Spurs he’d had a shot cleared off the line and also hit the crossbar – whilst Harry Winks and Oliver Skipp were much improved against Leicester.

Spurs could pose a bigger threat down the flanks with the fit-again Sergio Reguilon at left-wing-back and Matt Doherty on the opposite side, and they can make this a much more competitive affair than either of the EFL Cup semi-finals. Spurs are evens to avoid defeat, and given the circumstances surrounding Chelsea, that could be the best bet of the game.


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