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.
In the most eye-catching fixture of the Premier League’s mid-week schedule, beaten Carabao Cup finalists Chelsea host Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening.
It’s been a testing week for both clubs ahead of their clash under the lights in West London. Despite taking Man City all the way to penalty kicks at Wembley on Sunday, Chelsea were eventually undone by the Citizens in the League Cup Final, while Spurs slender title challenge hopes were almost completely dashed after their shock defeat at Burnley on Saturday.
Wednesday’s fixture at Stamford Bridge represents an opportunity for both clubs to reset and restraighten their course in a more positive direction.
With so much at stake, Wednesday’s game is an ideal contest to dig out some potentially lucrative selections from the bookmakers’ individual player markets and specials.
Take a look at some of the selections we’ve picked out below.
Harry Kane over 1.5 shots on target – 10/11
Tottenham Hotspur’s talismanic centre-forward Harry Kane returned from injury in typically emphatic style last weekend, by bagging a fine individual goal at Turf Moor against Burnley.
Ultimately, his second half strike wasn’t enough to earn Spurs a share of the points against the Clarets, though it did serve to illustrate the kind of impact Kane is capable of making.
In total, Kane had 4 shots on goal against Burnley, 3 of which were on target, and the England international has been hitting similar attempts figures in most of his appearances this season.
Kane has averaged 3.5 shots on goal per Premier League fixture this term, hitting the target with 1.7 of those attempts. Remarkably, Kane has been even more threatening in away games for Spurs, averaging 3.7 shots and 1.8 shots on target per 90 minutes on the road.
Even though he missed over a month of action through injury, Kane is still handily placed in the race to be the Premier League’s top scorer this season. Kane has bagged 15 goals so far this term, a total that leaves him just 2 short of the division’s current top marksmen Mohamed Salah and Sergio Aguero.
Goals and attempts will be the name of the game for Kane if he is to catch his rivals and help Spurs maintain their title charge from the outside lane. With that considered, along with the consistent numbers he hits, we think Kane looks a fantastic bet at 10/11 with bet365 to have over 1.5 shots on target against Chelsea this week.
Jorginho under 2.5 tackles – 8/13
Deep-lying Italian midfielder Jorginho is widely recognized as more of a possession distributor than a possession disrupter. The former Napoli star is much more comfortable recycling the ball than he is retrieving it, though the 27-year old still brings some bite to central areas for Chelsea.
Jorginho has averaged 1.9 tackles per game on average in the Premier League this season, placing him 3rd on Chelsea’s list of most prolific challenge makers, though the midfielder’s average tackle rate drops ever so slightly to 1.8 per game in matches at Stamford Bridge.
While his relatively high tackling statistics might surprise a few, it should be noted that Jorginho has made over 2.5 tackles in just 3 of his 25 Premier League appearances since moving to England, and the schemer’s numbers in games against the other members of the division’s “Big 6” make for interesting reading too.
Earlier in the current campaign, Jorginho made zero tackles in Chelsea’s home game with Man City, and just 1 in their home matches against Arsenal and Liverpool respectively.
His tackle rate went up slightly to 2 per game in away fixtures at Arsenal and Man City, though Chelsea’s home game against Man Utd was the only contest where Jorginho’s tackle rate passed the over 2.5 mark (3).
Jorginho also failed to make a single tackle in Chelsea’s 1-3 defeat to Spurs at Wembley in the reverse league fixture between the teams in late-November.
With his light on tackling pattern in Chelsea’s bigger games firmly established, backing Jorginho to have under 2.5 tackles on Wednesday at 8/13 with bet365 looks a smart move.
David Luiz over 60.5 passes – 1/2
One of the main tenets of “Sarri-ball” is possession domination, and Chelsea have undoubtedly made strides in that area under their enigmatic Italian manager’s tactical instruction.
Having been ranked 5th and 4th respectively for average possession and average short passes played per game in the Premier League last season, Chelsea are 2nd in both categories this term, slightly behind champions and famous ball-hogs Manchester City in each metric.
The Blues have enjoyed 61.2% of the ball on average in their Premier League games in 2018/19, while averaging 649 short passes per contest along the way.
Unsurprisingly, some of their players’ individual passing statistics have shot up as a direct result of the recalibration of the team’s style of play under Sarri.
Brazilian defender David Luiz certainly fits that profile and the 31-year old has played an average of 78.2 passes per Premier League appearance this season compared to just 49.2 per game in 2017/18.
Luiz’ passing average rockets up to 82.8 in Chelsea’s league games at Stamford Bridge however – a distribution total that puts him top of the passing pile for the Blues in home fixtures.
You can get odds of 1/2 with bet365 on Luiz having over 60.5 passes against Spurs on Wednesday – bear in mind that Luiz has only failed to pass that total in 3 of his 25 Premier League appearances for Chelsea this season.
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