Paul Merson is confident that Chelsea will emerge with at least a point from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, insisting that playing Spurs will suit Mauricio Pochettinon’s side.
The Lilywhites have a chance to build up a 17-point gap with Chelsea with a win on Monday night and reclaim their position at the top of the table.
The Blues come into the game lacking in confidence but Merson pointed to the fact that their best performances this season have come against top sides, opining that they will have a lot of joy hitting Tottenham on the counter-attack.
The Arsenal legend told Sky Sports: “You only have to look at Chelsea’s two best results this season. Against both Liverpool and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea were the better side in both games.
“Both teams had a go at Chelsea and that’s why I feel the trip to Tottenham could be perfect for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
“It’s game on for the Blues on Monday night. There is no question that Spurs will have a go at Chelsea. The way they are playing and sitting top of the league, they have no choice but to try and continue in the same vein they have in the opening 10 matches of the season. However, that plays into Chelsea’s hands.
“Nicolas Jackson is getting a bit of stick at the moment but he’s quick and a threat on the counter. Then you’ve got Raheem Sterling on the wing. He was brilliant against Arsenal and if he can reach that level again, he’ll cause Spurs problems on the break.
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“Cole Palmer brings the guile and he was different class in the first half against Brentford. Chelsea will be able to give this game a real go. I’d be shocked if Chelsea lost at Spurs.”
Will Tottenham keep up their good form vs Chelsea?
Merson also suggested that Ange Postecoglou’s men might struggle to cope with the pressure that comes from being favourites for the big London derby.
He continued: “Tottenham are under pressure. They are top of the league and there is some expectation building now. For once, and this hasn’t happened for a long time in games between Chelsea and Tottenham, Spurs are expected to win this match.
“I cannot remember the last time that was the case heading into a game between these two. Even last year when Chelsea went to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and lost 2-0, they were playing poorly, but you always thought they could go and get a result at Spurs.
“However, now there is expectation with the start they have had under Ange Postecoglou, and that brings pressure.”
The 55-year-old also suggested that Tottenham have been lucky in some of their biggest tests of the season so far, remarking that they have had a relatively kind fixtures list.
The pundit added: “There have been 10 games and fair play to Spurs, they are there heading up the table. They’ve been to Arsenal and got a 2-2 draw but let’s be honest, if Gabriel Jesus scores when James Maddison gives the ball away I think Arsenal go and win that game by four or five.
“They played Liverpool at home and Jurgen Klopp’s side were beaten by VAR. It’s very rare nowadays that anyone gets beaten by Manchester United, especially when they face top-six side away from home.
“Let’s be fair, they’ve had a good run of games. There’s still a long, long way to go. However, you’ve got to give them credit. You can only beat what is in front of you, and they have done that in a nice way and with a bit of style.
“For the first time in a long time, the Spurs fans are turning up to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and expecting to beat Chelsea. That’s why this is a huge test for Postecoglou and his players. It’s a different game when you turn up and are expected to win.
“It’s much easier when you turn up and a draw is a good result. A draw against Chelsea won’t be a good result for Spurs at home, especially with the way they are playing at the moment.”
Spurs Web Opinion
The game tomorrow is certainly a big test for us as it will demonstrate if we are indeed able to cope with the pressure of being favourites in a big game.
Chelsea will certainly be dangerous on the counter-attack but they do not have anyone who is clinical in front of goal, which is why I expect us to win if we can score twice.