Friday, 23 March 2012

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur preview

This crucial London derby takes place against a backdrop of managerial change. Chelsea have benefitted since they changed their coach, whilst Tottenham have slumped since talk of Harry Redknapp's departure to the England coach's job exploded into life.

In truth the effect of these managerial reshuffles, past and future, has been overplayed. Spurs have not been at their best for some time and did not pick up the points they deserved against Manchester United and Everton; before Christmas their staccato performance against Stoke City would probably have yielded three points, as people following the football betting odds will know.

Chelsea began life under Roberto Di Matteo with a 2-0 FA Cup replay win at Birmingham City with a performance that was very much out of the Andre Villas Boas vintage and their league displays since do not represent a marked improvement: a scratchy 1-0 win over Stoke and an offensively bereft effort in defeat at Manchester City were all too familiar to Blues fans.

They will nonetheless be the more confident team on Saturday lunchtime, due largely to their recent home record against Spurs (15 wins and six draws from their last 21 league matches at Stamford Bridge). They have a habit of beating Spurs when being outplayed, as they did last season with the help of two goals that the officials should not have allowed to stand and fans of Bet Victor may want to bear this in mind.

This is a massive test of Spurs' resolve after their recent dip in form allowed Arsenal to overtake them in third place, but they travel west knowing that a win would send them eight points clear of their only other challengers for a top four place.

A win could be a decisive blow for either team in the race towards that European Holy Grail and it is easy to envisage the teams cancelling each other out. The Blues have an eye on Tuesday's trip to Benfica, but they know this match is in many ways more important. Acagey affair could ensue, with 1-1 the scoreline to follow.

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