Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
Tottenham Hotspur face Chelsea this evening in the teams’ eagerly anticipated Carabao Cup Semi Final second leg showdown at Stamford Bridge.
Spurs take the slimmest of leads into tonight’s clash, thanks to their first leg 1-0 triumph at Wembley on January 8th, a result that leaves the final outcome of the two-legged tie looking decidedly open.
Skirmishes between Chelsea and Spurs have generally been among the most exciting fixtures in the English football calendar, however tonight’s game promises to be more attritional than intoxicating.
Injuries and circumstances have conspired to significantly reduce both of the teams’ attacking threat ahead of tonight’s game, but with a place in the Carabao Cup Final at stake, both sides will still be going for the jugular.
That makes tonight’s fixture an ideal contest to find some potentially lucrative selections from the bookmakers’ individual player markets and specials.
Take a look at our selections below.
Read the rest of our Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur predictions and betting tips in our match preview here.
Eric Dier to get booked – 9/4
In a Tottenham midfield that is likely to be without some of its more physical components, Eric Dier will be tasked with being Spurs’ enforcer in the middle of the park against Chelsea.
The England international is fond of a tackle – in fact, the 1.7 tackles per game he has made on average in the Premier League this season puts him top of the pile as Spurs’ leading midfielder in that metric.
Interestingly, Dier’s average of 1.4 fouls conceded per game this season also makes him Spurs’ biggest offender in the engine room ahead of Dele Alli, Victor Wanyama and the now departed Moussa Dembele.
Dier has already been booked 4 times in 15 domestic and continental starts this season for Tottenham, and we think he’s a fantastic price at 9/4 with bet365 to be shown yellow again at Stamford Bridge this evening.
Eden Hazard under 2.5 shots – 11/10
With 10 goals and 10 assists to his name already in 2018/19, talismanic Belgian forward Eden Hazard has been Chelsea’s biggest attacking threat by a considerable distance this season.
It’s worth noting however, that Hazard has taken just 2.6 shots per game on average in 2018/19 – a figure that highlights just how clinical and incredibly productive the 28-year old has been with the ball.
Against Spurs tonight, Hazard is almost certain to retain his role as the most central player in Chelsea’s attacking three, even though the Belgian’s impact has been lessened when deployed in the same position by Maurizio Sarri in recent weeks.
Chelsea signed Gonzalo Higuain on loan from Juventus this week, a move that should see Hazard restored to his favoured wide position soon, though the Blues’ new Argentine central striker won’t be available tonight.
That means that Hazard could well find himself isolated, outnumbered and frustrated by a robust Spurs back 5 at Stamford Bridge, which makes odds of 11/10 with bet365 for him to have under 2.5 shots a cracking looking price.
Antonio Rudiger under 82.5 passes – 5/6
Chelsea’s German international centre half Antonio Rudiger sees more of the ball than most for the Blues. Rudiger has played 81.4 passes per game on average for Chelsea this season, a figure that places him slightly behind Jorginho (94.4) as the Blues’ most active possession recycler.
Rudiger’s influence on possession does seem to noticeably wane in Chelsea’s bigger tests and fixtures however. The centre half played just 60 passes against Man City earlier in the season, only 67 against Man Utd, 71 against Liverpool, 75 against Arsenal and only 65 in the Carabao Cup semi final first leg against Tottenham.
With possession of the ball almost certain to be split relatively evenly between Chelsea and Tottenham at Stamford Bridge this evening, Rudiger’s window of opportunity to rack up high passing numbers seems short.
When you consider the factors, bet365’s odds of 5/6 for Rudiger to have under 82.5 passes in tonight’s game is priced incredibly generously.
N’Golo Kante over 1.5 tackles – 4/6
N’Golo Kante’s new Chelsea role under Maurizio Sarri has been a hot topic of debate among Chelsea’s supporters this season. The Frenchman had been the Premier League’s leading defensive midfielder before being re-deployed as more of a box-to-box runner by Sarri this term.
As a result, Kante’s defensive statistics have taken a hit, and the 27-year old has averaged just 1.7 tackles per Premier League match this season compared to 3.7 tackles per 90 minutes in 2017/18.
Kante’s tackling numbers have routinely shot up in Chelsea’s trickier fixtures this season however. In the Blues’ previous encounters with Spurs in 2018/19, Kante’s tackle stats took major leaps from his baseline season averages.
In Chelsea’s 3-1 league defeat at Spurs in late November, Kante attempted 4 tackles, while the French World Cup winner made an incredible 7 tackles against Spurs when the sides last met in the Carabao Cup Semi Final first leg earlier this month.
With Kante expected to be more combative than creative at Stamford Bridge again tonight, bet365’s odds of 4/6 for him to make over 1.5 tackles look great value.
Check out all of our other match previews, predictions and betting tips for the week’s other fixtures here.
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