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London giants may be hard to split

Premier League
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Tottenham have not often been winners at Wembley since the new stadium was built in 2007 and they may be left pining for the bulldozed White Hart Lane after their first Premier League showdown at the national stadium against champions Chelsea.

This is an intriguing contest and not only because it features the top two from last season in a derby contest where there is no love lost between the clubs at all levels from the boardroom to the terraces.

Just how will Spurs cope with their woeful Wembley record of one win in their ten matches in normal time? How much is an advantage worth to a team who are not technically at their home? Can Chelsea bounce back from last week's shock defeat to Burnley? Should the champions ever be such big outsiders to Spurs?

There are so many questions but so few clues and this brain-teaser of a tussle is difficult to call. It is unlikely to be a blowout and backing the draw could prove the route to profit.

Tottenham have been a warm order throughout the week and if this match was at White Hart Lane they would have surely fancied their chances of a Premier League victory, just as they managed in a 2-0 success in January.

Dele Alli scored both goals on that occasion and was back on the scoresheet as Spurs started with a 2-0 win at Newcastle. It was not the slickest of performances but they were comfortable and the lack of signings at least means Spurs are settled.

Christian Eriksen and Alli are magic in behind double Golden Boot winner Harry Kane, while defensively Spurs conceded the fewest goals in last season's Premier League.

However, they lost to Monaco and Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League at Wembley, only drew with Gent and were knocked out of the FA Cup semi-finals by a Chelsea side who started with Eden Hazard and Diego Costa on the bench.

Costa has since been ditched and Hazard is not fully-fit, while Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas are suspended so it's easy to see why the Blues have been friendless.

Chelsea are so short of players in midfield they could risk Tiemoue Bakayoko despite a lack of fitness and the champions appear vulnerable. But that weakness is reflected in the prices and it is worth backing Antonio Conte to formulate a plan to frustrate Spurs.

Even if Bakayoko fails to make it, David Luiz could partner N'Golo Kante in midfield and that would still leave a back three of Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen in front of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois which would be a difficult rearguard for Spurs to breach.

It's possible Tottenham's Wembley woes are being overplayed, but it's also possible Chelsea are not yet a club in crisis.

Recommendation
Draw

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Match in Focus

18:00 TODAY BT2

Cologne v Arsenal

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Key stats
  • Cologne are bottom of the Bundesliga with two points
Expert verdict
Arsene Wenger has sent out his reserve players throughout this Europa League campaign and that's unlikely to change now Arsenal have secured their spot in the last 32. Cologne are having a shocking season so even a makeshift Gunners outfit could come out on top and Alex Iwobi, fresh from a double for Nigeria against Argentina, can notch first.