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Chelsea v Spurs

According to the skewed headline in one of the midweek rags, Jermain Defoe reckons Spurs deserve to be in next season’s Champions League because they qualified for this season’s and then had a few good results on the back of some awesome Gareth Bale performances. That’s not how it works, we checked. Not even winning the competition would have helped, thanks to Liverpool.

Football has a short memory when it comes to just deserts and one win in their last seven league games isn’t form deserving of Champions League football. With trips to Stamford Bridge, The City of Manchester Stadium (there’s a stadium in need of a nice succinct sponsor’s name) and Anfield even Europa League football is far from guaranteed now. Lose this game and Harry Redknapp will have a real task on his hands salvaging something from what was such a promising season just a few months ago.

Chelsea on the other hand look to be hitting form at almost the right time. Even Torres is scoring again. The Spaniard may not start against Spurs but he did score three goals in six appearances against Spurs during his time with Liverpool and if on the bench, is worth a bet to come on and grab a fourth at 9/2 to score the last goal. The man in the most immediate goal-scoring form for the Blues is Florent Malouda with three in his last two games and the French winger is a very healthy 13/2 to open the scoring. Drogba, who should start up front on his own, as long as Ancelotti isn’t pressured into wedging Torres into his first eleven, is the clear favourite to score first at 7/2.

For Spurs there’s no obvious choice because they have no stand-out goalscorers. Van Der Vaart is a potential game changer but he has been inconsistent of late and may find it hard going against Chelsea’s physical midfield. One which will be all the more physical thanks to Essien being cleared to play.

Chelsea have won their last four in the league and ten of their last thirteen and what’s more, the manager seems to have finally figured out the best way to set his team out. It turns out it’s pretty much the way they’d been playing for the last four or five season. Who’d have thought it? With the proverbial bit between their teeth it’s hard to see Chelsea losing this one, unless we have some real heroics from more than just Gareth Bale in a Spurs shirt. The 6/1 on the away side may tempt some but I’d be slightly more inclined to go for Chelsea -1 goal at 13/10. The home side to win at 1/2 will certainly be going in my weekend accumulators.

A great season looks set to end in disappointment for Harry but if things go Carlo’s way this weekend, he could yet pick up his second Premier League title and maybe even still be in charge at Bridge next season after all. Maybe.

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