By Aidan Elder | Chief Sports Writer
TV stations create a rich tapestry of dramatic back-stories for every single game. Why would Chelsea’s visit to White Hart Lane be any different?
It’s just an attempt to whip viewers into a state of delirium so fervent that we become incapable of realising how terrible most football pundits are.
- Andre Villas-Boas is after revenge.
- Chelsea look to enforce their dominance over a London rival.
- Something about John Terry is always good as long as you can side-step having to talk about racism. That’s tricky.
The Paddy Power Blog takes a look at some of the more obvious themes, which don’t really exist.
The theme of revenge will feature heavily in the media’s pre-match hyping of this match. Andre Villas-Boas as the jilted lover. Roman Abramovich as the heartless oil-baron billionaire. Spurs as the saucy new love in AVB’s life. Add some dramatic music and a deep voice-over and you’d almost think it matters. It’s like Dallas only with Ashley Cole doing the shooting.
Highlighting of the backstory is harmless and if it means hearing less of Jamie Redknapp’s ‘musings’ on the game, then we can fully get behind it. But don’t get too swept up in it. In reality, it won’t make much difference. Imparting to his players just how hurt he felt getting turfed out of Stamford Bridge isn’t going to generate too much of a tangible response from millionaires mainly concerned with how they look in the latest Bentley. There are examples of former managers coming back to haunt former employers not long over getting the axe.
Roy Hodgson’s West Brom beat Liverpool soon after getting his Anfield P45 and Mark Hughes gave Manchester City a real fright on the famous final day of last season, but on both occasions it had more to do with the players on the day than the motivation of revenge.
If Andre Villas-Boas does get revenge on Chelsea, it’ll be because Spurs performed better than Chelsea over the 90 minutes, not because they were possessed with the spirit of Liam Neeson in Taken. The first one.
#2. The trend is… there is no trend
After looking at the results from the last 20 meetings between these two clubs for a sustained period of time, I deduced two things. Number one – if I looked at the figures long enough, they began to look like the number of a phone line where you pay £3 a minute for the privilege of a middle aged women wheezing down the phone in alleged titillation. Number two is there really is no notable trend.
Sometimes the teams rack up the goals in a thriller, other times it’s less eventful than Isaac Newton’s sex life and a lot of the time, it’s somewhere in between, providing just about enough entertainment for fans not to resort to kicking lumps out of each other for fun. There have been goal fests and goal droughts, at times completely unrelated to the relative strengths and weaknesses of both defences and attacking units. With some of the talent at both teams’ disposal this season, you’d might anticipate goals, but that doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to happen.
#3. Chelsea have dominated but…
Spurs went on a run without beating Chelsea dating almost as far back as the time when Terry Venables’ tan and woolly coat were considered actually quite fashionable and not the sign of a man frozen permanently in the 80s. Those days are over and although Tottenham never quite got to parity in the relationship, they have had more success in recent seasons.
More success doesn’t necessarily equate to lots of success. But if you pick through the stats like you’re sifting through your dog’s droppings for the wedding ring he swallowed the day before your best friend is getting married because you live in a lazily written sit-com, you can find some gold. Shit covered gold but gold all the same.
Spurs have not been beaten at home by Chelsea, in the Premier League, since way back in 2005. Six games have seen three Tottenham victories and three draws. Which is good. Re-insert the cup games that have been played at White Hart and and the record stands at four wins for Spurs, two for Chelsea and four draws. Which is a little less good.
Both teams are playing well. Tottenham are unbeaten at home in the league and Chelsea are unbeaten away in the league. The stats between the two are inconclusive and the odds reveal little beyond suggesting that this is likely to be a close game. Technically this is a derby but technically Lady Gaga is a lady. Not everything is what it appears to be.
I’m going to suffer some splinters and sit on the fence with the draw at 9/4.