Former Arsenal star Paul Merson has predicted that Chelsea will record a Premier League victory over Tottenham Hotspur in Saturday’s late kick-off at Stamford Bridge.
Only four points separate the Blues at the top of the table from Spurs down in fifth, but the 48-year-old believes that the home side will cruise to a 3-1 win.
Talking points ahead of the weekend's London derby… https://t.co/cKUNvviJOw
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) November 25, 2016
“I’m going to go for Chelsea because I think Tottenham will play the same way as Chelsea and set up with three at the back,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“That’s a very difficult system to play off-the-cuff. I know they did it at Arsenal and did well but they’re playing against a team who are brilliant at it.”
Merson’s verdict will come as little surprise to anyone who has watched these two teams closely over the past few weeks as their Premier League campaigns have taken different trajectories.
Chelsea are on a six-game winning streak in the league and perhaps even more impressively are yet to concede a goal on that run, a record that has coincided with manager Antonio Conte’s decision to switch to his preferred three-man defence.
Striker Diego Costa leads the scoring charts in England’s top tier with ten; the Spaniard looks back to his unplayable best this season and will be hoping to add to that tally on Saturday.
Tottenham meanwhile had gone over a month without a win before snatching three points against West Ham United last weekend, but they followed that up with an abject display to lose 2-1 to Monaco in the Champions League, a result that saw them eliminated from the competition before the group stage had even come to a close.
— NinetyMinutesOnline (@90MinsOnline) November 25, 2016
Harry Kane’s recent return to fitness has been a welcome boost; the 23-year-old has an outstanding record in London derbies having notched 18 goals in 22 appearances against fellow clubs from the capital.
Chelsea fought back to earn a 2-2 draw in the corresponding fixture last season, a result which ended Spurs’ title challenge and handed the Premier League to Leicester City.
The Blues have loftier ambitions this time around and will be hoping to embellish their own championship credentials with a victory over a Tottenham side perhaps still struggling with their European hangover.