London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea collide in the capital today in what promises to be an intriguing tussle between two teams struggling to hit a consistent stride.
Dubbed the “Antonio Conte Derby”, today’s showdown is unlikely to feature the man himself as the Spurs boss and former Chelsea head honcho recovers from surgery, though his absence should only slightly dampen what should be a ferocious contest this evening.
You can dive into my stats pack for today’s clash below which comes equipped with info on a number of metrics from the teams’ Premier League campaigns to date, including shots, fouls, cards, xG, corners to name a few. If you any help trying to put together your bet builder, have a read of my Stats Pack Guide.
Ryan Sessegnon, Hugo Lloris and midfield duo Rodrigo Bentancur and Yves Bissouma are all still rubbing shoulders in the Tottenham treatment room. With options depleted, Oliver Skipp is in line to fill the gap beside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the middle of the pitch.
In attack, Son Heung-min could return to Spurs’ starting XI in place of Richarlison, while Emerson Royal will battle it out with January signing Pedro Porro for a place at right wing-back. Expect Tottenham to line up in their familiar 3-4-3 formation today.
Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta faces a spell on the sidelines due to the head injury he picked up last week, while N’Golo Kante, Edouard Mendy, Armando Broja and Christian Pulisic are still out of action for the Blues with various ailments.
Mateo Kovacic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek will compete for a place in midfield alongside record-signing Enzo Fernandez, while Raheem Sterling, Noni Madueke and Mason Mount will be among those hoping to earn a position in Chelsea’s crowded frontline. Mykhailo Mudryk is expected to keep his spot on the left.
Despite their xG and shots figures leaning in the wrong direction, Tottenham are hanging in there in the race to secure a place in the top four and their return of three wins from their last quartet of Premier League assignments has allowed them to displace Newcastle in the Champions League qualification berths.
Tottenham have been a match for most teams this season for corners won per 90 (5.79), with just three teams winning more than them so far. Spurs’ fixtures have also featured high numbers of cards in 2022/23, with ten of them brandished in their last two matches alone (vs Leicester & West Ham).
Despite spending obscene amounts on transfers, Chelsea cannot seem to buy a win, or even a goal most weeks, and in their last 15 games in all competitions, the Blues have won only twice and scored just six times.
Chelsea have been averaging just one goal per league game overall this term, though they have won the xG battle in six of their last seven contests, which suggests luck hasn’t been on their side.
The Blues card count per 90 for the campaign is high (2.26), however, they collected just 1.6 cautions per game over their last five league fixtures which points to a more tempered approach.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
There are no prizes for guessing the identity of Tottenham’s most-dominant duo in the shooting department this term. Harry Kane and Son Heung-min continue to carry Spurs’ hopes on their talented shoulders, and both attackers should feature prominently again this afternoon.
Kane (1.51 SOT p/90) has had the edge over Son (1.34) in terms of accuracy this season, though both players lodged an effort on target when Tottenham drew 2-2 at Stamford Bridge in August. Son is better value at 4/11 to match that today than Kane (1/5), though the English international’s odds jump to evens in the 2+ shots on target stakes.
The 29-year-old has hit the mark with at least two shots in four of his last seven Premier League starts.
While actual chance conversion continues to be a major problem for Chelsea, the Blues have been racking up decent numbers in terms of shots and they hit 29 in their last two Premier League fixtures alone (vs West Ham and Southampton).
Joao Felix has been central to any good work Chelsea have done in the final third of late and the loanee has lodged eight shots on target in four runouts in blue since his temporary move from Atletico Madrid. Felix would be a decent addition to coupons at 1/3 to have 1+ shots on target today, or even 13/8 to have two or more for bigger-price hunters.
Player Goals and Assists
Harry Kane has been averaging 0.70 goals per game in the Premier League this season and Tottenham’s talisman found the net against Chelsea for the seventh time in his career when he netted at Stamford Bridge in the campaign’s early exchanges.
Interestingly, 13 of Kane’s 17 Premier League goals this term have been deadlock-breakers for Tottenham. Kane is priced at 4/1 to get the game’s first goal today and a shorter 7/5 to notch anytime against the Blues again.
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg has an impressive seven goal contributions from midfield in 2022/23, though he has chipped in with just two of those in his last 12 Premier League appearances.
Chelsea players’ finishing skills have completely abandoned them since Christmas and the Blues have scored just four times in eight top tier fixtures since the festivities.
German Kai Havertz nabbed half of those goals himself, with Joao Felix and Mason Mount added their name to the list with one each, though it’s difficult to back any of them to register on current form.
It is interesting to note however, that in four of the last five meetings between Tottenham and Chelsea, a Blues centre-half managed to score a goal. Kalidou Koulibaly notched in August, while Thiago Silva and ex-defender Antonio Rudiger both nabbed two goals apiece in encounters before that.
Nevertheless, with Chelsea in such dire goal-scoring form, adding one of their players as a goalscorer or assist provider today might tarnish your chances of landing a successful bet builder.
Tottenham prefer to pay on the counter-attack against trickier opponents and they should be content to sit back again today. Spurs had just 36.3% of the ball when they last played Chelsea in August and they could finish with a similar possession figure today.
That scenario would suggest that low targets are the name of the game in the individual passes market for Spurs this afternoon. Value is tough to identify however, with two of Tottenham’s most-reliable distributors, Eric Dier and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, priced at rubbish 1/40 and 1/10 odds to play 50+ passes against Chelsea.
Dier did pay 70 passes against the Blues in the reverse fixture in August, and the centre-half is 2/5 to push through the same ceiling today.
Chelsea haven’t been able to do much right under Graham Potter, however, the team’s possession stats have offered a hair-thin silver lining. The Blues averaged 60.3% of the ball in their last six league assignments and there is a decent chance they will see more of it again today.
Centre-back pairing Benoit Badiashile and Thiago Silva are equally comfortable with the ball at their feet and both defenders will be happy to start moves from the back against Spurs. Badiashile is a more than acceptable 8/15 to play 70+ passes today, while Thiago Silva is also a palatable option at 4/11 in the same market.
Tottenham Hotspur Cards
Cristian Romero’s disciplinary record has taken a real battering since the turn of the year and the Argentinean defender has collected an insane seven cards in his last eight appearances for Spurs in all competitions. The ultra-aggressive 24-year-old is 15/8 to be carded again today.
Oliver Skipp has been getting more game time in Rodrigo Bentancur’s absence and the 22-year-old has committed at least one fouls in each of his last three EPL runouts for Tottenham. Skipp is available at 3/10 to commit just one more this afternoon.
Ivan Perisic meanwhile, has given away at least two free kicks in four of his last five appearances for Tottenham. The 34-year-old has lost a yard of pace and he won’t relish chasing Reece James up and down the flank today. Perisic is top value at 4/11 to commit one foul against Chelsea.
Skilful Ukrainian Mykhailo Mudryk has already been fouled a notably high 2.11 times per 90 during his brief sojourn in the Premier League and the 22-year-old’s collection of bruises could be added to today by Cristian Romero.
The serially-fouled Joao Felix (3.46) will be gliding through spaces occupied by Oliver Skipp when Chelsea put moves together in the final third and the Tottenham youngster will have to watch the timing of his tackles.
Reece James meanwhile, has a combination of pace and power that should unsettle Ivan Perisic down Spurs’ left flank. If Ben Davies is favoured to start over the Croatian, he could have a similarly tough time against the flying Chelsea wing-back.
Match-Ups to watch
Cristian Romero vs Mykhailo Mudryk
Ivan Perisic vs Reece James
Oliver Skipp vs Joao Felix
German striker Kai Havertz has been committing more fouls per 90 in the Premier League than any other Chelsea player this season and his habit of giving silly free kicks away can often be a source of frustration for fans.
The 23-year-old has racked up two or more fouls in nine of his last 12 starts in the league, so Havertz is a decent pick at 4/7 to commit another two at least today, though his tackles are usually soft enough to avoid any further action.
Elsewhere, Enzo Fernandez, who finished last weekend’s defeat to Southampton with two fouls, is 1/4 to commit just one against Tottenham, while Ben Chilwell is available at 4/11 in the same market. The left-back posted one foul in each of his last three runouts in the league despite starting just once.
As the most central member of Tottenham’s defensive trio, Eric Dier could be on the end of Kai Havertz’s awkward challenges today, while marauding wing-back Emerson Royal, who has been fouled 1.68 times per 90 this term, could have his surges checked by Ben Chilwell.
Only Harry Kane (34) has been fouled more often in total than midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojberg (25) for Tottenham this season and the Dane’s head-to-head with Enzo Fernandez in midfield could spawn fouls in both directions.
Match-Ups to watch
Kai Havertz vs Eric Dier
Enzo Fernandez vs Pierre-Emile Hojberg
Ben Chilwell vs Emerson Royal
My Bet Builder picks of the pack
There’s plenty to pick from here, and some value to be had across the board. Below, I’ve put together my tips for the game at 4/1.
Tottenham vs Chelsea
Chelsea may be continuing to struggle, but the majority of their problems have occurred from the midfield forward. If anything, their backline has perhaps been one of the very few positives that they’ve been able to take from this season, especially since the introduction of Benoit Badiashile.
However, it’s difficult to argue against a Harry Kane shot on target here regardless, and if there’s one man capable of mustering an effort on target against just about anyone in the league, then it’s the Tottenham frontman.
His 1.51 shots on target P/90 speak for themselves, and given that he averages 3.52 shots P/90 in total, there’s every chance he registers one effort on target during the game.
Kane’s shot on target record this season is ridiculous. He’s had at least 1 in 22 of his 24 appearances, failing to force the keeper into a save away to Man City, and more recently against West Ham.
Chelsea have conceded 4.13 shots on target P/90 this campaign, and whilst that average has consistently dropped of late, Kane’s style of play will cause them problems.
He may be a predator in the box, but Harry Kane’s ability to drop into pockets of space in the midfield will hurt a Chelsea side that still lacks a recognised holding midfielder (unless Zakaria plays). He should find time and space in these areas, and a shot on target should come as a result.
Another one of the few positives for Chelsea right now. Sure, Joao Felix was sent off in his first game for the club, and he was relatively poor against Southampton. But, it’s undeniable that he’s brought a bit of class and drive that this Chelsea side was sorely lacking.
The Portuguese maestro has shown glimpse after glimpse of his quality on the ball, but finishing perhaps remains the one area in which he can really improve.
Even then, Felix has amassed 7 shots on target in his 3 Premier League appearances, for an average of 2.66 P/90. In fact, he’s hit the target in each of 4 Chelsea appearances in all competitions so far.
The fact that he’s attempting 4.56 shots P/90 sweetens the deal, and he should find plenty of opportunities to register an attempt on target. Likely to float in and around the area, he should find gaps that give him the space he needs to hurt Spurs.
Speaking of the hosts, Tottenham concede 4.37 shots on target P/90, a hefty average for a side vying for the Champions league place. Chelsea can certainly exploit this, and I expect Joao Felix to be the player to do so.
Tottenham, Chelsea, but seem synonymous with the word ‘cards’. The Battle of the Bridge comes to mind immediately when you think of these two, Chelsea denying Spurs a Premier League title, resulting in a series of nasty challenges that forced the referee to consistently flash the yellow card.
The stats from this season suggest that things have been no different for these two. Spurs have averaged 2.16 cards per game this season, with their opponents averaging 2.25 cards. The likes of Bentancur and Bissouma may be unavailable, but Spurs still possess a whole host of players capable of going into the book.
Chelsea themselves have received 2.26 cards per game this season, and their inability to effectively press has certainly hurt them in this regard. What has improved, however, is their ability to draw fouls, and an average that was sitting closer to the 1.50 mark has now rocketed to 2.00 for the number of cards received by their opponents. Of course, the new signings have played their part in this.
Tottenham have received a minimum of 2 cards in each of their last 6 (2, 2, 4, 3, 2, 4), and as for Chelsea, their opponents have received at least 4 cards in 4 of their last 6.
The forward areas for both sides will prove telling here. Chelsea’s January signings are proving to be tricky customers for their defenders. Felix, Datro Fofan, Madueke, Mudryk, and Fernandez are fouled 3.46, 2.86, 2.11, 2.11, and 2.00 times P/90 respectively. Tottenham have Kane, Son, and Richarlison at their disposal, all fouled 1.90, 1.43, and 1.28 times P/90 respectively. Cards should come given the number of fouls these players draw.
Cristian Romero needs little in the way of introduction. The Argentinian madman has become a staple pick for bet builders of late, and 2+ fouls looks like a solid addition once again.
The Argentinian centre back is averaging 1.68 cards P/90 this season, and he’s committed a minimum of 2 fouls in 4 of his last 5 Premier League Games. He’s also been carded in 5 og his last 6 in all competitions, evidence enough to suggest that he’s a consistent culprit
Romero fouls in last 5 league games: 2, 2, 3, 1, 4
He’ll have the unenviable task of dealing with a number of the tricky Chelsea forwards that will likely float into his vicinity. They may be struggling to core, but they’re still ricky customers.
Ukrainian speedster Mudryk is the first that comes to mind. Fouled 2.11 times P/90, it’s likely that he’ll find himself 1 on 1 with Romero on multiple occasions. Then there’s the likes of Felix and Fofana, fouled 3.46 and 2.86 times P/90.
Throw Kai Havertz into the mix and Romero could well be in for a long evening. The German’s stats aren’t as strong, fouled 0.83 times P/90, but he will certainly get stuck in and make himself a nuisance.
There’s a lot with Romero to contend with here, and even then, he’s often one to go diving into rash challenges without much thought.