Chelsea set to beat Spurs to PL title by 11 points if these results are anything to go by

The race for the Premier League title is continuing to keep fans guessing after Tottenham closed the gap on leaders Chelsea to just four points over the weekend. The two are set to face off for a place in the FA Cup Final this weekend in a huge game which will no doubt create even more talking points for who is going to end up winning the title.

Chelsea have a more favourable run-in on paper according to many fans and pundits alike and by looking into the results in the reverse fixtures, it is clear to see why that is the general consensus.

Chelsea’s remaining fixtures:

Southampton (H)
Everton (A)
Middlesbrough (H)
West Brom (A)
Watford (H)
Sunderland (H)

There is no easy game in the Premier League but Chelsea play four of their six remaining games at Stamford Bridge. The reverse fixtures saw Chelsea take maximum points and while the title race is still in their hands, Antonio Conte’s side will want his side to get the job done as soon as possible.

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Tottenham’s remaining fixtures:

Crystal Palace (A)
Arsenal (H)
West Ham (A)
Manchester United (H)
Leicester City (A)
Hull City (A)

Spurs have been in incredible form of late, but there is no doubting they have some tough fixtures in their run-in. Unlike Chelsea, four of their last six are away from home, while their two remaining home games are against top four chasing Arsenal and Manchester United.

If Mauricio Pochettino’s side do not improve on their results in the reverse fixtures they have very little chance of winning the league. They drew against Arsenal, lost to Man United, drew at home to Leicester and won the other three games, giving them a total of 11 points from a possible 18.

While it is unlikely both Chelsea and Spurs will replicate the exact same outcomes in their remaining fixtures, it does give some insight into potential results. Chelsea would hypothetically finish the season on 93 points, if they picked up the maximum 18 on offer, while Spurs would stand to take 11 points, putting their final tally at 82.

Are Chelsea going to win their 5th Premier League title or will Tottenham pull off an incredible turnaround?

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Three reasons why Tottenham can win the Premier League under Pochettino

Tottenham Hotspur are on track for their best domestic finish in the Premier League era. They have played some scintillating football, attacking with flare and defending with power. So why can they win the Premier League under Mauricio Pochettino? Lewis Addley explores…

The race to win the Premier League title is more intense with each passing week. There are ten points separating top spot and sixth place. Tottenham Hotspur are sitting in second place, seven points behind leaders Chelsea. Pochettino has shown exactly why Spurs deserve to be regarded as capable of winning the league and his continual improvement of the side since taking over points to glory in the future.

While we aren’t suggesting Spurs are going to win the title this season, albeit possible with plenty of games to play, Pochettino has them on the right track to provide the ultimate domestic silverware. Tottenham have lost just two games in the league this season, the joint lowest, while there is a bit of work to be done to turn draws into wins, Pochettino has his side close to where they need to be.

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So what are three key reasons why Pochettino’s Spurs can win the Premier League?

Respect – The players have shown they respect and trust their manager.

The unity of the Spurs squad is apparent for all to see, there doesn’t appear to be an ego in any player to suggest they’re more important than the team. In the wake of the appeal of moving to China, key figures in the Spurs camp have openly said there is no interest for them. Pochettino questioned players’ willingness to move, while talisman Harry Kane believes his teammates are not interested in big money moves, only achieving success at White Hart Lane.

Contracts – Spurs are tying down their players, not selling them.

The importance of not being seen as a ‘stepping-stone’ undoubtedly helps to keep players long-term. Spurs have given out bumper new contracts to their key players and are continuing to negotiate to get those remaining new deals. Rather than attracting world-class signings who see joining Spurs as a way to advertise themselves in the Premier League, they are able to sign players who want to make it to the highest level at the club.

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Tactics – Pochettino seems to have his tactics spot on.

From front to back the current Tottenham side is incredibly strong and they all appear to understand their role and what’s expected of them. This is an incredibly important feature to create a successful side. Failing to get tactics and player roles right leads to underperforming stars and a team lacking unity, something that can arguably be seen at Manchester City during their transitional period. Pochettino has built a team on the foundations of strength in every position. This makes them a powerful outfit and their run of results is proof continual progression.

Spurs are clearly a club on the rise. Their new stadium is well underway and it is an exciting time to be a part of the club for all involved. So long as they continue to improve, their chance of winning the title will increase. While it is difficult to predict whether they will win the title in the current campaign, given the performance levels of the teams around them, Pochettino has to get his players hungry for success. If Spurs can lift a trophy this season it will give the squad the taste of silverware and it could be the start of golden patch.

Do you think Tottenham can win the Premier League under Mauricio Pochettino?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Aston Villa vs Tottenham Hotspur

Competition: Premier League – Aston Villa vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Venue: Villa Park – Sunday, March 13 – 16:00 GMT (11:00 ET)

Match Odds: Aston Villa 13/2 – Draw 16/5 – Tottenham 4/9

Match Preview

Premier League strugglers Aston Villa welcome title chasing Tottenham Hotspur to Villa Park on Sunday afternoon in a game between two sides with very different aims.

Villa are on a four game losing streak coming into this one and have been leaking goals in recent games. They lost 4-0 to Manchester City last weekend despite being 0-0 at halftime and looked a depleted side.

Rémi Garde’s side sit bottom of the Premier League. They are nine points away from safety and although relegation is not yet confirmed they’re favourites for the drop.

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Tottenham come into this tie off the back of their 2-2 draw in the North London Derby last weekend – although it was a good point they will rue not taking all three from being in a winning position.

Spurs trail leaders Leicester City by five points but this title race is still wide open. As the season has proved any side is capable of taking points off of one-another so Mauricio Pochettino will be expecting nothing than maximum effort from his players here.

A top four finish is not yet guaranteed for Spurs despite how good of a season they have had. Even though they are pushing hard for their first title since the 1960/61 campaign they must still ensure they are keeping the distance between them and the sides below.

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Team News

Aston Villa have five injury concerns heading into this tie. Libor Kozak, Adama Traore, Jordan Amavi, Carlos Sanchez and Jack Grealish are all expected to be out.

Tottenham have just three injury concerns. Pochettino rested a number of his key players in their Europa League loss midweek but is still expecting to be without Clinton N’Jie and Jan Vertonghen, while Danny Rose is a doubt.

Key Points

Aston Villa’s last five: W/L/L/L/L

Tottenham’s last five: W/W/W/L/D

Key Stat: Aston Villa have conceded 15 goals in their last four games.

Key Player: Harry Kane – The Tottenham goal-machine has netted 17 in the Premier League this season including that stunning effort against Arsenal last weekend, as always we expect him to be key and full of confidence.

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Score Prediction

Aston Villa 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur – Spurs should’t have too much trouble taking all three points here, as last weekend proved it’s a case of getting the first goal against Aston Villa. Hugo Lloris will be desperate to keep a clean sheet and Pochettino’s side have to keep applying the pressure to Leicester so if there is a slip up from the leaders they can capitalise and gain ground.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Manchester City vs Leicester City

Competition: Premier League – Manchester City vs. Leicester City

Venue: Etihad Stadium – Saturday, February 6 – 12:45 GMT (07:45 ET) 

Match Odds: Man City 4/7 – Draw 16/5 – Leicester City 9/2

Match Preview

Manchester City welcome Premier League leaders Leicester City to the Etihad Stadium in the first game of the weekend.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side have been in a great run of form and are unbeaten in their last seven in the league. This is a huge tie which they desperately need to take all three points from to ensure they are in the strongest position possible to regain the title.

Manchester City have not lost in their last nine outings against Leicester in all competitions and haven’t conceded a goal in the last three meetings between the sides.

The Manchester giants come into this one off the back of their hard earned 1-0 away win over Sunderland, a great example of their resilience and proof they are more than capable of grinding out results.

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Leicester City are continuing to fly high and are three points clear of Manchester City at the top of the league coming into this one.

They won convincingly last time out against Liverpool with Jamie Vardy scoring that unforgettable screamer and have scored five goals in their last two games.

Claudio Ranieri’s side are unbeaten in 14 of their last 15 away Premier League games and are more than capable of making this a really tough tie for Manchester City.

If Leicester can avoid defeat here they will give themselves a great chance of winning the league but some are still questioning their chances. Leicester on paper have a favourable run in to the end of the season after their next two games and we will really get a feel for how things will end up over the coming weeks.

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Team News

Manchester City’s injury list is a concern for Pellegrini but shows the importance of squad depth. Six first team players look set to miss out as Samir Nasri, Wilfried Bony, Kevin DeBruyne, Fabian Delph, Jesus Navas and captain Vincent Kompany are all sidelined.

Leicester City have just the three players who look unlikely to feature here, Daniel Amartey is a doubt while Matthew James and Jeffrey Schlupp are both out.

Key Points

Manchester City’s last five: W/D/W/D/W

Leicester City’s last five: D/W/D/W/W

Key Stat: Solid – Leicester have kept five clean sheets in their last six Premier League games.

Key Player: Sergio Aguero – The Argentine goal-machine has bagged six in his last five Premier League outings and now has 13 for the season. If he continues to find the net at this ratio he could well be the difference for City bringing the title back to the Etihad.

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Score Prediction

Manchester City 2-1 Leicester City – Pellegrini’s side to edge this one in a tie which could have a serious impact in the race for the title. It should be a thriller and one not to miss.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Crystal Palace

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Crystal Palace

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Sunday, May 3rd – 13:30 BST (08:30 ET)

Match Odds: Chelsea 1/3 – Draw 4/1 – Crystal Palace 17/2

Match Preview

Chelsea host Crystal Palace on Sunday with the chance to secure their first Premier League title since 2010. Jose Mourinho’s men have been edging closer to the title with each passing week but have still come under criticism for their style of play.

They come into the game after a 3-1 away win at Leicester City on Wednesday. Their first-half performance in that tie was below par and with Leicester leading at the break it looked as if Chelsea would struggle in the second-half, though they went on to win and are now just one game away from the title.

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Palace can take positives from the way in which Leicester unlocked the Chelsea defence but it will be surprising if the Blues don’t wrap up the championship this week.

The champions elect are unbeaten in 14 games and have looked like they have setup in a style to completely avoid defeat in recent weeks. However, a draw in this one is not what they will want and anything other than a win will be scrutinised.

Crystal Palace have been completely rejuvenated since Alan Pardew took over the side and are looking strong candidates for a mid-table finish.

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Palace had won four on the bounce but have suffered back-to-back defeats which comes as a surprise with both of those games at home.

Pardew will have his players pumped as always and they will be hoping to spoil Chelsea’s day. Palace have a tough run-in and will be grateful they are not struggling in and around the relegation zone with just four weeks to go.

Team News

Chelsea look set to be without Diego Costa and Loic Remy for this game, though Oscar could return after missing out in midweek as a precaution following his heavy-hitting challenge with Arsenal’s keeper David Ospina. As we have seen this season Mourinho isn’t one for chopping and changing, so we could expect a very similar lineup to the one that played at Leicester.

Crystal Palace could be without Frazier Campbell and Marouane Chamakh who both face late fitness tests. Joel Ward and Jerome Thomas remain sidelined.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: W/W/W/D/W

Crystal Palace’s last five: W/W/W/L/L

Key Stat: Champions elect – Chelsea are just three points from the title and can wrap things up with a win this weekend.

Key Player: Eden Hazard – Even with Chelsea’s style being criticised the PFA Player of the Year continues to excite and he will be the focal point of Chelsea’s attacks as usual.

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Score Prediction

Chelsea 2-1 Crystal Palace – Chelsea to secure the Premier League title against a Palace side who will not make things easy and frustrate Mourinho’s men as much as possible.

STATS: Who is more influential – Alexis Sanchez or Eden Hazard?

Ahead of Sunday’s London derby between Arsenal and Chelsea Lewis Addley looks at which winger has been more influential in the Premier League this season, Alexis Sanchez or Eden Hazard.

The two have both been nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award, which comes as no surprise given how key they are to their sides.

The attackers go head-to-head this weekend and either player can produce that moment of magic to win the game – something that could lead to an entertaining game.

Sanchez has proved to be a hit since joining Arsenal from FC Barcelona for £35 million last summer and he has proved to be the attacking talent they have been missing in recent seasons.

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Hazard has arguably been Chelsea’s best player for the last two seasons and his £32 million transfer from LOSC Lille in 2012 seems to be even more of a bargain with each passing season.

So how do the two compare in their key offensive areas this season?

Stats via Squawka Apps Goals Assists Pass Accuracy Chances Created Shot Accuracy Duels Won Successful Take-Ons
Sanchez 29 14 8 77% 67 65% 50% 102
Hazard 32 13 8 87% 87 60% 65% 153

Sanchez has a better goals-per-game ratio, having played three games less than Hazard. The Chilean also boasts a better shot accuracy when compared to the Belgian wide man.

The two are very closely matched statistically, both racking up eight assists, but Hazard does have the edge in passing, creating 20 more chances and having 10% better pass accuracy.

Hazard is also ahead on duels won and successful take-ons, but given that he has played as an out-and-out winger compared to a striker, where Sanchez has played for a number of games this season, that is not surprising.

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Chelsea’s key man is two years younger than Sanchez and with the two tied down to long contacts this could be an interesting comparison for seasons to come.

At the moment they seem to be near on inseparable, but if we have to pick an overall winner it would be difficult not to side with Sanchez.

The Chilean is playing in a squad which arguably isn’t as strong as the league leaders’ and doesn’t have a midfielder duo on the same level as Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic constantly supplying him the ball.

Both players are performing at the highest level and are unbelievably exciting to watch.

Their battle this weekend is set to be yet another exciting event and may help decide who has the edge, Sanchez or Hazard.

Who do think is more influential to their side – Alexis Sanchez or Eden Hazard?

Wenger reveals REGRET over Fabregas ahead of his return on Sunday

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed his regret over Cesc Fabregas leaving the North London club to return to FC Barcelona in 2011.

Wenger, quoted by Sky Sports, has said a possible return for Fabregas to Arsenal was not as “clean” as it appeared but deflected talk over the terms ahead of the weekend fixture against Chelsea.

“I cannot speak to you about that now because that will not help us to win the game on Sunday,” Wenger said.

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“We will have to discuss that one day, with all the terms. It is not as clean as that.”

Wenger went on to highlight his regret over the former Arsenal captain’s departure.

“The regret I have is that he wanted to leave here. This club and myself had a very positive influence on Cesc’s life, so I would be a bit uncomfortable to have to justify today why he is not here.”

Fabregas has played a hugely influential role in Chelsea’s quest to regain the Premier League title, scoring three goals, including the match winner against Queens Park Rangers two weeks ago, and racking up an astonishing 16 assists so far.

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If Chelsea are to win on Sunday at the Emirates, they will be just three points away from winning the title. Fabregas played a pivotal role in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Arsenal earlier in the season, assisting Diego Costa to put the game out of reach, and will hope to help the Blues to victory against his former side once again on Sunday.

Will Cesc Fabregas steal the show at the Emirates on Sunday?

Arsenal legend reveals why Chelsea will NOT beat his former side

Arsenal host Chelsea in the standout fixture in the Premier League this weekend and if they lose Jose Mourinho’s side will be just three points away from securing the title. But former Arsenal star, Paul Merson, believes Diego Costa’s absence will stop Chelsea beating the Gunners at the Emirates on Sunday.

Chelsea have somewhat struggled offensively without their Spanish goal-machine, who has bagged an impressive 19 Premier League goals in his debut campaign, and he will miss this weekend’s game through injury again.

The West London side have scored just twice since Costa’s latest hamstring problem forced him off in their 2-1 win over Southampton earlier this month.

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Since his omission from the side they have won two out of two, producing strong defensive displays to win 1-0 against both Queens Park Rangers and Manchester United, but looked lacklustre in front of goal in both games.

Mourinho has set his sides out to be very astute defensively but Paul Merson believes Chelsea will not have what it takes to beat Arsenal at the Emirates, according to The Express.

“If Costa’s fit it’s a different game, but if he’s not fit I can’t see any goals,” the former Arsenal man said.

“Last week, Chelsea had 30 per cent of the play at home but Man Utd never looked like scoring.”

Merson expects another defensive display from Chelsea as they look to extend their unbeaten run in the league and take another huge step towards the title.

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“I think Mourinho will go there, make sure they don’t lose, and that will be it.”

Eden Hazard’s strike against United was enough to secure all three points for Chelsea last weekend and he will be the main goal threat once again on Sunday.

Loic Remy remains sidelined and Didier Drogba is facing a late fitness test due to an ankle problem, so Chelsea could actually start without a recognised forward.

Will Chelsea’s lack of attacking options cost them the game against Arsenal on Sunday?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Manchester United

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Manchester United 

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, April 18th – 17:30 BST (12:30 ET)

Match Odds: Chelsea 1/1 – Draw 12/5 – Manchester United 11/4

Match Preview

Chelsea host Manchester United on Saturday evening in the standout fixture in the Premier League this weekend as they look to take one more step towards their first title since 2010.

The Blues endured a tough game last weekend against Queens Park Rangers, stealing all three points in the final knockings of the game through Cesc Fabregas, and are still seven points clear at the top of the table.

Manchester United will be absolutely buzzing ahead of this one though, and will be full of confidence after their demolition of rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford last Sunday.

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Louis Van Gaal’s team are coming good and things are really kicking into place as they have won six on the bounce as things certainly look to be back on the up for United.

United are probably one of the last teams Chelsea will want to face at this stage of the season and this is a must win for Jose Mourinho ahead of the following week’s game against title rivals, Arsenal, at the Emirates.

The earlier meeting in the season between the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw and United haven’t beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge since 2012.

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Van Gaal’s side are in fine form though and this is the strongest United side to face Chelsea since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.

This could be a pivotal game in the race for the title and Mourinho will not want to give the chasing pack any hope that his side can be caught.

Team News

Chelsea will be without goal-machine, Diego Costa, who also missed out in the reverse fixture, but Loic Remy could return after missing out last weekend too. Those are Chelsea’s only two injury concerns as the squad is in good shape. Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic will need to be on high-alert once again after escaping last weekend without a yellow card. If either of the midfielders picks one up here they will miss the clash with Arsenal the following week.

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Manchester United have just three injury concerns to Michael Carrick, Robin van Persie and Luke Shaw to deal with, but all three players could be set to return to the squad this weekend. Jonny Evans remains banned and we can expect a key performance from former Chelsea man, Juan Mata. The Spaniard has hit fine form and is scoring important goals, and he will have a point to prove against his former employers.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: W/D/W/W/W

Manchester United’s last five: W/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 16 home league matches at Stamford Bridge and it will take a lot for United to end that run on Sunday afternoon.

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Key Player: Juan Mata – United’s player of the moment is on fire, scoring in their wins over Liverpool and Manchester City as he looks to be back to his very best and Chelsea could be on the receiving end of his supreme talent this weekend.

Score Prediction

Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United – Chelsea to just edge over the line once again as they have done so many times this season. Mourinho will want a tidy and tight performance from his side but the United machine is moving at full pace, so they will be very hard to stop.

Chelsea star praises character of the team

Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas scored a last-gasp winner for the Blues at Loftus Road to secure a 1-0 victory over QPR on Sunday afternoon, and the Spaniard has praised the character of the team.

“The win was vital. We are playing for the most important trophy of the season and we are up there since the first day so we have to continue that,” Fabregas told Chelsea’s official club website.

“We know that some teams are putting pressure on from behind and we want to be solid, win out the games and this shows the character of this team.”

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The win restored a seven-point lead over Arsenal at the top of the Premier League for Jose Mourinho‘s side, although Fabregas admitted that it wasn’t an easy game and QPR’s performance, as well as the conditions, were tough on Chelsea, but feels they dealt with it well.

“It was very difficult to play this game with wind, the pitch was very dry, and it was not the circumstances we want to play football. That obviously is a positive advantage for QPR but we still showed great mentality and we never gave up.

“Even in the difficult moments we coped very well with the game and Didier Drogba played a big part because he held onto the ball very well up front and that gave us life through the game.”

Chelsea welcome third-placed Manchester United to Stamford Bridge next weekend before a visit to the Emirates Stadium to take on second-placed Arsenal the week after in two games that will surely play a huge part in determining the final outcome of this Premier League season.

How good is the character of this Chelsea team?