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Tottenham Hotspur are the surprise leaders of the Premier League at present
Chelsea are in the bottom half of the table after a shaky start to the campaign
Follow the form book and tip Tottenham Hotspur to triumph in Monday’s match
Back Tottenham Hotspur to beat Chelsea on Monday. Spurs have been hugely impressive so far this season, and they can put their London rivals to the sword this weekend.
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Needless to say, not even the most optimistic members of the Tottenham Hotspur fan base expected their team to be where they are after 10 rounds of Premier League fixtures in 2023/24.
Spurs have collected 26 points from the first 30 on offer. They are the table-toppers and the early pace-setters this term, confounding expectations that they were set for a season of struggle in which the best online sportsbooks had them as outsiders to finish in the top four.
It is not hard to see why Tottenham were written off. Since Mauricio Pochettino’s exit in 2019, there have been few moments to cheer in the white-and-navy half of north London.
Ange Postecoglou arrived in the summer as yet another new manager, hoping to fare considerably better than his three predecessors, Jose Mourinho, Nuno Espirito Santo, and Antonio Conte. But Postecoglou had never managed in a top European league before, and he would also have to do without Tottenham’s greatest ever player, Harry Kane, joining Bayern Munich.
Yet right now, at least, Spurs are flying. They have won eight and drawn two of their 10 games to date. The Premier League title remains a long shot, but that may change if Postecoglou’s side keeps on winning. At the very least, Champions League qualification now looks like a legitimate goal.
It is to Postecoglou’s credit that he has improved results while also doing two valuable things. First, he has reforged the connection between the team and the supporters. Second, he has promoted an attractive style of soccer. His straight-talking approach to media duties has also won the Australians plenty of plaudits.
No one should get ahead of themselves, but Tottenham are in a good place right now, and Postecoglou deserves the bulk of the credit.
Like Tottenham, Chelsea were also readying themselves for a season of transition. Unlike Tottenham, they have underperformed rather than overperformed in the first 10 rounds of Premier League games.
Indeed, Chelsea will read across the capital on Monday as a bottom-half team. Ahead of gameweek 11, they are 11th in the standings. But by the time this match gets underway as the last fixture of the weekend, the Blues could be as low as 16th.
In one sense, they are a little unfortunate to be where they are. The expected goals table, which measures the quality of chances each team creates and concedes, has Chelsea in fifth, behind only Manchester City, Newcastle United, Arsenal and Liverpool (and ahead of Tottenham).
Yet it is also clear that the Blues have a long way to go. Theirs is the youngest squad in the Premier League, and Pochettino is still getting to grips with a group of players among whom a majority were not at the club before the summer of 2022.
No wonder there have been teething problems, then, and it was interesting to hear Pochettino add his voice to those who believe Chelsea has tried to move too quickly under their owner Todd Boehly.
“We are a young team, this means too many changes in the summer and the circumstances are not for us. Sometimes [results] are good or sometimes bad,” the Argentine said.
Pochettino did a fine job with a young team at Tottenham, and Chelsea fans will hope he can replicate that in West London.
There are a few reasons to believe Tottenham will not be able to sustain a title challenge. Their squad does not have great strength in depth in certain areas, and while every team would struggle without their star players, Spurs would really miss James Maddison or Son Heung-min if they got injured.
Moreover, performing consistently over 38 matches is not easy. Tottenham would find it tough to keep pace with Manchester City or Arsenal over that period of time.
Stranger things have happened, though, and Spurs supporters will no doubt note that Chelsea’s last title triumph came in 2016/17 when they did not have European soccer to contend with, just as Postecoglou’s team does not now.
Chelsea could do with a statement victory in a match like this, but we do not expect them to get it. In fact, Spurs are very attractively priced, given they are at home, have had extra preparation time, and have accumulated more than double Chelsea’s points total so far.
With all that in mind, we recommend following the form book and tipping Tottenham to come out on top in this London derby.
Teams: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea
Location: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, England.
Date and Time: Nov. 6 , 2023, 3 p.m. ET
How to Watch: Peacock Premium
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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