Premier League runners-up-in-waiting Tottenham travel to West London as narrow yet deserved 8/5 favourites to beat a 10th-placed Chelsea side in stuttering form, but the annals of recent Premier League history suggests the Blues bagging first is a banker.
Spurs have been remarkably slow off the mark at Stamford Bridge in recent times, with just four first-half goals scored in their past 11 Premier League visits.
Sandro’s 19th-minute opener in a 2-1 loss to their fellow Capital dwellers is the Lilywhites only first goal in this fixture over the last decade, making a mockery of Ladbrokes’ 10/11 favourite odds about Mauricio Pochettino’s men in this market.
The flip side is Chelsea at a whopping price of 1/1 to repeat what they’ve managed in eight of 10 home Premier League fixtures against Tottenham since a scoreless draw in 2004 featuring the likes of Jamie Redknapp, Alexei Smertin and Michael Brown.
What makes this bet even more delicious is that the visitors, despite their season of eminence, have been pretty sluggish early on in general and in recent weeks.
Opponents have drawn first blood against Pochettino’s side six times in their past 11 all-competition matches, with Aston Villa and Stoke, the worst and fourth-worst teams in the Premier League on recent form, the only sides to have shipped a first goal at home to Spurs since Valentine’s Day.
Chelsea may gone backwards again in recent weeks, with the 4-1 win away to Bournemouth halting a run of just one other victory in their previous seven matches, but Guus Hiddink’s beleaguered Blues have managed nine first-half goals in their 10 home matches so far in 2016, with five of them opening the scoring.
It’s tough to look beyond the hosts for first goal at such generous odds. In the market itself, Eden Hazard screams value at 8/1, after returning from injury with his side’s second and fourth goals at Bournemouth.
Hazard bagged the opener in this fixture last year, and struck from the spot to make it two in a 4-0 West London win over the Lilywhites the previous season.
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