Nothing but a first Tottenham Hotspur victory at Stamford Bridge in 26 years will stop Leicester City being crowned Premier League champions today.
The Foxes drew 1-1 at Manchester United to set up a scenario where Spurs must win each of their remaining three fixtures and still hope Claudio Ranieri’s men are defeated in their final two.
In other words, the title race is all over, barring a miraculous turn of events.
Such a blow will have a devastating impact on morale in the visitors’ camp and it’s this, coupled with the absence of the integral Dele Alli, that will contrive to ensure Leicester are crowned champions before the day is out.
Win, Lose or Draw
Amidst all the talking about how precocious a talent England starlet Alli is, just how important he has become in relation to Spurs’ prospects of success has not been stressed enough.
The recently-turned 20-year-old has missed 14 matches this campaign, with Mauricio Pochettino’s able to prevail in just four of them. What’s more is only one of these wins – 1-0 at home to Watford – came in the Premier League. The others – Monaco, Colchester United and Leicester – were recorded in the Europa League and FA Cup.
It equates to a win percentage of 29% without Alli.
When the former MK Dons ace is in from the off, Spurs’ win rate rockets up to 61%, with 22 sets of spoils plundered from 36 matches.
Furthermore with Alli on the shelf they’ve lost 36% of their games. In the matches he has started, they’ve been bested in just 11%. Only two of these – Leicester and Newcastle United – were in the Premier League and all of the four came at White Hart Lane.
Four of their five defeats when the youngster has sat out came on the road, so there’s ample cause for alarm as they head to a venue where they’ve absorbed so much punishment in the past.
They’ve failed to so much as score in three of four visits to the Bridge, just as they were unable to in the corresponding match between the pair this term.
Chelsea’s 3-0 loss to Manchester City in their previous home match was the first domestic defeat endured by Guus Hiddink on the homestead across his two terms in the hot seat and they followed that up with a 4-1 decimation of Bournemouth.
Furthermore, the aforementioned City reverse was their first in four against sides residing in the Premier League’s top seven across the Dutchman’s second term at the helm.
It’s these factors coupled with the realisation that their title dream has all but died that make Spurs ripe for the Chelsea picking here.
Recommended bet: Chelsea to win @ 33/20
Chelsea have been involved in the lowest number of under-2.5 goal games in the top tier this term (11), while three of Spurs’ last four domestic road games have all fallen shy of the three-goal threshold.
The over/under spread in recent meetings between the two is about even (six over, five under) too, so in search of the best value, punters must oppose the 18/25 about this one containing three strikes or more in favour of the higher-priced opposite outcome.
Recommended bet: Under 2.5 goals @ 21/20
Who’s going to score?
Underperforming and recently dethroned PFA Player of the Year Eden Hazard had scored in three straight Premier League renewals with Spurs prior to 2015/16.
He returned to the scoresheet at Bournemouth last weekend, bagging what were amazingly his first and second league strikes of the season.
As he looks to build momentum ahead of Euro 2016, back him to notch another against one his favourite opponents.
Recommended bet: Hazard to score anytime @ 7/2
Those who regularly back one or neither team to score when Chelsea face Spurs would’ve made profit in three of the last four renewals.
It’s a wager that landed in four of the previous six Blues games across all competitions, as well as five of the previous eight Lilywhites outings.
Priced up higher than normal, backing both teams to score: no will prove a great punt here.
Recommended bet: Both teams to score: no @ 5/4