If Monday’s match between Chelsea and Manchester United was big in the race for the top four, then this clash is massive.
The sides are separated by a point in fourth and fifth, though perhaps both will qualify for the Champions League anyway if UEFA hold their nerve.
Chelsea were beaten by United last time out, though the referee (from Manchester) and the VAR (from Manchester) did little to help them. The result means Frank Lampard has lost as many home league games as Chelsea boss as Jose Mourinho did, having managed them 94 fewer times.
So the Blues will be looking to bounce back, with Lamps looking to emulate the unique achievement of Jaime Pacheco. Who? Jaime Pacheco is the only man who has ever won his first two league meetings with Mourinho, and following Chelsea’s 2-0 win in their last match with Spurs, Lampard may do likewise.
The problem is, Stamford Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. Chelsea have already been beaten there seven times in all competitions this season, last losing more in 1985/86. That said, Tottenham have only won one of their last 33 visits to the blue side of west London, and are struggling for strikers, so perhaps the Bridge will witness a home win for once?
Paddy seems to think so, as he has Chelsea priced at 4/6, with the draw 11/4 and Tottenham at 7/2. Expected goal statistics are even more strongly in favour of the Blues, but then they were for the United game and look where that got us.
Even so, it’s hard to make a credible case for a Tottenham win. Spurs have drawn two and lost six of their last eight away matches in the big six mini league, and have also only picked up one away win against a team currently above 17th in the league this season.
With neither team in sparkling form, they could cancel each other out. Arch-pragmatist Mourinho will be happy with a point from Tottenham’s toughest remaining away game. But his side were given a real Red Bull run-around on Wednesday and don’t have much time to recover.
The last two meetings of these clubs have both ended in 2-0 wins for the Blues, so should we expect a lack of goals? Not necessarily, as four of the preceding six league meetings at the Bridge saw both teams score, and they all featured at least three goals.
It has been a similar story when Tottenham play league games away to other big clubs, as nine of the last 12 have paid out on both teams to score, and 10 came up trumps on over 2.5 goals.
But all that said, who the hell is actually going to score the goals on Saturday? Five of Chelsea’s last six home matches have seen one side fail to score, so bet low.
When it comes to Tottenham’s recent goal scorers at Stamford Bridge, there’s only one man we can look to. Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min put Spurs 2-0 up in 2016, before they disintegrated and handed Leicester the title, but both are out.
Two of their three scorers since that night now ply their trade in Italy, leaving us with Dele Alli, who scored twice when Tottenham won in April 2018. After an initial goal burst when Mourinho took over, Alli’s goals have dried up recently. But he’s been in the right place to miss them, Gary, having spurned five clear-cut chances in his last four league games. Let’s hope he plays with a point to prove after the Leipzig loss.
Tammy Abraham has been in a similar boat to Alli, as he’s also missed a sack load of great opportunities recently. However, he also missed the United match due to injury and it’s not clear if he’ll be back for this game or not.
Lampard doesn’t seem to trust any of his other options up top, so perhaps Willian is the man to bag a goal here. The Brazilian is out of contract in the summer so needs to finish the season well to score a big contract somewhere. He scored both goals when these teams last met, and Stoke are the only team he’s netted more goals against.