Chelsea vs Tottenham HotspurEnglish Premier League, KO: 20:00 Feb 27, 2019, Stamford Bridge
THE end is surely nigh for Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri after the Kepa controversy saw his reign hit a new low in the Carabao Cup Final.
The goalie's refusal to be substituted towards the end of extra time at Wembley showed the Italian manager has lost all his authority at Stamford Bridge.
Had Kepa then gone on to be the hero in the shoot-out it may have lifted some of the pressure that has been piling onto the shoulders of Sarri.
But the fact Chelsea lost the battle of nerves from 12 yards, missing out on the trophy, has pushed the former Napoli boss closer to the axe.
It's now four defeats in seven games for the Blues and their only wins in that run have come over Malmo and Huddersfield.
For a club the size of Chelsea that's unacceptable and another defeat against Spurs will surely signal the end of Sarri's troubled reign.
The one crumb of comfort for the Italian is that his side beat Tottenham 2-1 at the Bridge just a month ago in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi.
But that came during a bad run for Spurs, with injuries hitting them hard, and Mauricio Pochettino's side have been boosted by the return of talisman Harry Kane from injury.
The England striker scored on his comeback last weekend against Burnley, although it wasn't enough to save his side from a defeat that seriously undermined their faint title chances.
Kane is adamant Spurs are still in the hunt for the Premier League crown but anything other than a win here will all but end their challenge.
Despite that defeat on their last trek to Stamford Bridge, Tottenham look excellent value at 47/20 with Marathonbet for a win, especially with Chelsea in such disarray.
Sunday's final also went to extra time and that could be another factor which favours Pochettino's side, who have had an extra day's rest from their weekend exertions.
The shock loss at Burnley ended a four-game winning run for Spurs and I fancy them to quickly get back on track, although patience could prove crucial.
Chelsea did manage to keep free-scoring Manchester City at bay for 120 minutes at Wembley so there's value to be had in a draw half-time/Tottenham full-time result, which is 73/10 at Marathonbet.
There was a one-goal winning margin in both legs of the Carabao Cup semi between these sides so it could pay to back a repeat at 11/8 with Betway. Doubling that with a Tottenham win stretches the odds to 81/20 with Marathonbet.
It will be interesting to see if Kepa, who has been fined a week's wages, starts after his Wembley mutiny, even though both parties tried to play down the incident as a “misunderstanding”.
When quizzed about the keeper on Tuesday, Sarri admitted he still hadn't decided whether to drop the former Bilbao star, although he insisted the youngster had made a “big mistake”.
The Blues boss doesn't have any injuries to contend with but should freshen his side up, with Gonzalo Higuaín likely to lead the line after being benched for the Cup Final. If you fancy him to return with a goal, the Argentine is 5/1 to break the deadlock and 7/4 to net at any time.
The injuries worries are starting to ease for Spurs, with Dele Alli the only big name still out while Eric Dier is a doubt for the trip across London due to illness. Davinson Sanchez and Kieran Trippier should be fit to return after missing the defeat at Burnley.
These London derbies have been pretty tasty in recent years so I like the look of over 4.5 cards, which is 5/6 with bet365. The same firm also offer 7/2 on a red card which could be worth a punt too.
This English Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur will be played on Feb 27, 2019 and kick off at 20:00