Former Chelsea skipper Ray Wilkins believes Antonio Conte’s side are unlikely to slip up in the run-in for the title as they have already faced their toughest opponents in Tottenham.
Chelsea are nine points clear of Spurs at the top of the table, and the Blues have a potentially easier set of fixtures for the remainder of the campaign than the chasing pack, who are all still involved in European football.
Wilkins, who was assistant manager to Carlo Ancelotti when Chelsea won the Premier League and FA Cup in 2010, was impressed by Tottenham’s performance in the 2-0 victory over his old team at White Hart Lane in January.
Spurs’ win atoned for their 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge in November, and with both sides having played each other twice this season, Wilkins – who also highlighted Conte’s tactical changes – believes Chelsea are in control of the title race.
“I thought we were going to struggle, I thought we were going to have a really tough season,” Wilkins told Premier League Daily.
“But all of a sudden he changes it at half-time [when 3-0 down to Arsenal in September]to a three and all of a sudden they go on this unbelievable winning streak.
“And I think the only team in the Premier League, who they don’t play again, that can beat Chelsea is Tottenham.
“They bullied us, they beat us up at White Hart Lane and deservedly smashed us, I’ve got to say, and I think they are the only team that can beat Chelsea from here on in.”
The next challenge for Chelsea comes on Sunday with a match against Burnley at Turf Moor, live on Sky Sports 1.
Although the Clarets are sitting in mid-table, they have an impressive record at home this season, dropping just 12 points from the 39 available so far.
But Wilkins believes the energy levels among Conte’s squad, an attribute more associated with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola’s teams, has made Chelsea too powerful for the vast majority of domestic opponents.
And he has been impressed in particular by Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses for their contribution to Conte’s counter-attacking system.
Wilkins said: “The one thing I’ve noticed about Chelsea, in watching them all season, is the fitness levels they are playing at. They are the fittest team in the Premier League.
“I watched City absolutely annihilate Swansea in the first half. They couldn’t keep up that level of fitness for the whole game. Chelsea can.
“Chelsea, when they lose position of the ball, their work-ethic to get back in is incredible. And they are working so hard for each other.
“I just think Burnley may come a cropper at the weekend. Chelsea on the counter-attack are lethal.
“And Moses and Alonso as wing-backs have done exceptionally well. They are probably the unsung heroes of this system in which they are playing, but they are doing a remarkable job. It’s going to be very tough for Burnley.”
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