This weekend’s Premier League schedule concludes with a bang, as Tottenham Hotspur host Chelsea in a London Derby. Both teams have gotten off to a fast start this season and always seem to play intense battles against one another with no love lost between the two rivals. Despite being the home team, Tottenham is an underdog at +352 while Chelsea is a road favorite with a moneyline of -122. There is also a moneyline of +295 for a draw.
While Spurs won their first three matches of the season, climbing to the top of the table ahead of the first international break, there is still plenty of skepticism surrounding the North London club. All three of their wins this season came by a 1-0 margin, although one of those wins came against reigning champion Manchester City in the opening match. On top of that, a 3-0 loss to Crystal Palace last weekend only created more skepticism that Tottenham will struggle to keep pace at the top of the table with the other Premier League heavyweights this season.
Despite scoring just three goals in four games, Spurs did manage to hang onto star striker Harry Kane this summer. Kane wasn’t fully up to speed during the team’s first three games of the season. Tottenham was also without Son Heung-Min during last week’s match with Crystal Palace after he scored two of the team’s three goals early in the season. Until Tottenham can get Son back from injury and Kane in good form, they might have trouble scoring goals. However, it won’t take much to get Kane going, as he’s always a threat to score in and around the penalty box. He also led the Premier League in assists last season, so he can help set up others as well.
Meanwhile, the Tottenham defense kept three clean sheets to begin the season. Last week’s game against Crystal Palace could be considered an aberration because Spurs had two center-backs quarantining after international duty. They also lost one center-back to injury and another one to a red card during the game. In fact, all three goals that Spurs gave up last week came while they were down a man and down to their third-string center-back pairing. Even with some players still absent, Spurs should be a little more organized defensively this week.
The Blues have picked up where they left off at the end of last season when they won Champions League. Thomas Tuchel’s side has three wins and a draw to begin the Premier League campaign with Chelsea’s draw coming against Liverpool, another serious title contender. Heading into Match Day 5, the Blues are one of four Premier League teams that are tied atop the table with 10 points, albeit with four teams that have at least eight points right behind them.
In the attacking half of the field, Chelsea has scored nine goals in four matches. Romelu Lukaku has already made a world of difference after returning to his former club. Lukaku has scored three goals in four Premier League matches. The scoring chances that Timo Werner and others failed to capitalize on last season are now becoming goals for Chelsea. Even with American Christian Pulisic nursing an injury, the Blues are providing plenty of support for Lukaku with Mason Mount and Kai Havertz, not to mention great play from the team’s wing-backs.
Defensively, the Blues have picked up where they left off last season. Chelsea has conceded just once in four Premier League matches while also keeping a clean sheet against Zenit Saint Petersburg in Champions League action on Tuesday. Tuchel is still playing around with the personnel of his back three, but that doesn’t seem to be having a huge impact on Chelsea’s defending. Keep in mind that Chelsea has a strong midfield sitting in front of its three center-backs, most notably N’Golo Kante, who remains one of the best in the business.
There isn’t much to separate these teams based on the early results of the season. While Tottenham’s defensive lapses last week are a slight concern, they should be a little more prepared for this week’s match. There’s at least a chance that Son will return from injury on Sunday while Kane will surely provide a challenge for the Chelsea defense. With Spurs playing at home, they should get the benefit of the doubt, although not enough to earn them all three points.
Pick: 1-1 draw.