Tuchel must fight inertia after reaching Euro summit
Football changes quickly, and glory fades as the quest for the next thrill becomes all-consuming. Thomas Tuchel became a European champion in 2021, leading Chelsea to victory against mighty Manchester City in the Champions League final.
It was Tuchel's second consecutive appearance in the showpiece event, having been edged out by Bayern as PSG boss in 2020. After the Blues lifted the trophy, there was understandably talk of a domestic challenge.
And yet, a Premier League push failed to materialise last term. The much-vaunted return of Romelu Lukaku to Stamford Bridge quickly became an expensive and baffling error, with failings on both sides. Injuries to wing-backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell undermined one of the great strengths of the team under Tuchel, and without that wide threat, the West London giants simply weren't as dangerous.
Chelsea still finished a creditable third, and the Infogol data underlines what the points tallies suggest. The Blues were the best of the rest, but lagged a long way behind title contenders Manchester City and Liverpool.
They had the third-best Expected Goals For tally in the league, and the third-best Expected Goals against number.
While Chelsea will hope to get closer to the top two, they know there'll also be a renewed push for UCL qualification from Arsenal, Tottenham and perhaps Manchester United (stop giggling at the back).
After long-term owner Roman Abramovich left as controversially as he arrived, the Todd Boehly-led consortium has arrived with big dreams and deep pockets. Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly are fantastic signings, but there is much more to do in the market, especially in defensive positions.
A 1-0 win at Everton was a decent start, and they racked up a respectable Expected Goals figure of 2.08. They have now posted an xGF figure of at least 1.5 in seven of their last ten PL games, so perhaps they aren't as toothless as some would have you believe.
Koulibaly is fit to start after suffering cramp against Everton, while Spanish left-back Marc Cucurella is pushing for a full debut after coming on as a substitute at Goodison Park. Tuchel has no fresh injury concerns.
Conte forcing change in North London
Anyone who has worked with Antonio Conte or indeed supported a club he's been at will accept he is something of a force of nature. The Italian's volcanic personality and near-pathological desire to win has proved an effective combination as a player and as a coach.
As a manager he has led Juventus and Inter to the Scudetto, and he lifted Chelsea to a league title too. He is demanding, and he has achieved what few Tottenham bosses have in recent times, in that he has forced chairman Daniel Levy to consistently invest in the squad.
Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur were excellent signings from Juventus in January, and Spurs have recruited six new players over the summer. These are heady days indeed.
Conte's raising of standards and his coaching credentials have convinced England skipper Harry Kane to shelve all thoughts of a move away (his long contract did that too), Son Heung-Min continues to be a low-key world-class performer, Cristian Romero is a old-school hatchet man who looks like he time-travelled to the present day by accident, and Kulusevski is so close to the Conte ideals as a man and as a player that you wonder if he might have been grown in a lab. Spurs trounced a hapless Southampton 4-1 last weekend, and there is positivity to spare in N17.
However, Conte has the hand of history pushing against him on Sunday. Opta tell us that Tottenham have won on just one of their last 37 away games against Chelsea in all competitions, and they have collected a solitary point from the clubs' last seven top-flight meetings.
Summer signing Richarlison is available after suspension, but midfielder Oliver Skipp is out injured. Defender Japhet Tanganga missed the Southampton game with illness, but may return to the squad.
Blues too short in battle of equals
While I agree that Spurs have an appalling record at Stamford Bridge, and have even underperformed against the Blues in Conte's reign, it feels like the gap between the sides is closing. Spurs drew at Liverpool and won at Manchester City towards the back end of last season, and they are capable of avoiding defeat here.
You could back Tottenham +0 & +0.5 on the Asian Handicap at 1.981/1, which means you get a half-win in the event of a draw, and a full pay-out at close to evens if Tottenham take all three points. It's worth noting that Chelsea are still rebuilding, and they have only won five of their last 14 PL matches at Stamford Bridge.
Spurs front three will be lively
It's worth noting that the Bet 5 Get 5 offer applies to this game, which means you get a £5 free bet if you stake a £5 Bet Builder.
I'm going to start with Under 3.5 Goals, as none of the last seven PL meetings between the sides have featured four goals or more, and five of those have stayed under the 2.5 goals line.
I'll add in Son Heung-Min to have a shot on target, and Dejan Kulusevski just to have a shot. In his entire PL career of 233 games, Son averages exactly one shot on target per match, and last term he had 49 shots on target in 35 league appearances.
Meanwhile, the in-form Kulusevski has had 28 shots in 19 PL games for Spurs, and he had two goal attempts last week. That combo gives us a price of 2.447/5, but you can boost it to a chunky 5.73 if you throw in Spurs defender Cristian Romero to be shown a card. The Argentine has been an uncompromising presence since arriving at the club from Italy, and has picked up eight yellow cards in 23 PL games.