November 18th, 2015
When the two sides last met, it was Tottenham on the back foot looking to avoid another season of mid-table mediocrity, but this year it will be Chelsea who head into their London derby as the underdogs. Despite having a manager who refers to himself as the "special one", Chelsea are down in the doldrums this season, both figuratively and literally. A lone win in October and not a lot more to shout about in November have not only turned the Blues into a figure of mockery among rival fans, but left Mourinho needing to produce something truly special in his next few games.
Unfortunately, pulling out something special in the English Premier League is never easy – and Tottenham certainly won't be ready to roll over for Mourinho's men on November 29th. Currently riding the crest of a wave, the Lilywhites may only be a handful of games into the season, but the players are already eyeing up the Champions League.
Hovering around fifth place in the table, Mauricio Pochettino's men will no doubt relish the impending arrival of Chelsea to White Hart Lane, given their recent run of form. In fact, for the first time in a long time, Tottenham will start the match as the bookies' darlings. A current sweep of the pre-game betting markets reveals a sense of optimism when it comes to Tottenham's chances of success over Chelsea. Interestingly, though, the odds makers don't appear to have complete faith in the home side either.
Bet365 Sports' tipsters are offering odds of 6/4 on Tottenham to win, but they also aren't prepared to count out Chelsea at odds of 9/5. Could it be a glitch in their system? Almost certainly not, as Bet365 Sports' prices appear to fall in line with the industry standard. Indeed, between the likes of Coral Sports (6/4 vs. 17/10), Betfred Sports (8/5 vs. 13/8) and, of course, Bet365 Sports, Chelsea are the underdogs – but only by a slim margin.
Before looking at the potential "whys", let's look at the facts. Tottenham are currently riding high in the Premier League with more than 20 points. Thanks to impressive wins against Bournemouth (5-1) and Manchester City (4-1), Spurs have kept themselves in touch with this season's standout performers. In contrast, Chelsea have faltered against almost every leading side they've faced this season. Losses to Liverpool, Stoke, and Manchester City have left the team tiptoeing dangerously around the relegation zone.
However, there have been a few redeeming moments for Chelsea. By far the most significant result for Mourinho's men this season came in a London derby against Arsenal. Despite the pundits deriding Chelsea's chances before the game, the home side put in an impressive performance to run out 2-0 winners. This ability to perform in London derbies, combined with Mourinho's somewhat temperamental brilliance, means that it's difficult to ever fully write off the Chelsea side under these sorts of circumstances.
Although Tottenham will certainly have the psychological edge heading into the game, with so much talent in the squad (including Willian, Costa and Hazard), Chelsea are always capable of an upset.
Jose Mourinho has always been one of football's great anti-heroes, but despite all the bluster and pomp, there's no denying that he has one of the sharpest football minds in the world – and it's this that makes Chelsea a continued threat. It wouldn't be surprising to see the betting lines shift as the match draws closer and bookies look to protect their margins. Can Chelsea claw back some ground on November 29th? If the Special One can live up to his name, then anything is possible.