‘Quite lucky’: Ally McCoist suggests the North London derby could actually now benefit Chelsea

Ally McCoist reckons the North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur could in fact benefit Chelsea.

Speaking on talkSPORT, McCoist reminded fans of Thomas Tuchel’s team that at least one of their capital city rivals will drop points on Thursday in the race for Champions League qualification.

All eyes will be fixated on Tottenham’s stadium tomorrow night, as Antonio Conte and Mikel Arteta go toe-to-toe for a place in football’s most glamourous club competition next season.

North London derby benefit and negative for Chelsea

Above any of the other neutrals waiting in anticipation, Chelsea will have the greatest investment in the encounter.

They could find themselves teetering on the edge of the top four by the final whistle, depending on their result against Leeds United this evening, and if either Spurs or Arsenal come out victorious.

If the Blues lose to Leeds and the Gunners win, Tuchel’s men will drop to fourth.

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Using the same scenario but adding a Tottenham triumph, Chelsea will only be a point above the two North London clubs.

This is a particularly scary image heading into the final three fixtures of the campaign, as Conte and Arteta could both leapfrog their neighbouring manager.

Yet, as McCoist rightly highlighted, points will be dropped in the North London derby, which might benefit Chelsea.

“Just looking at the league table at the moment, Chelsea are actually quite lucky Spurs are playing Arsenal,” said the former Scotland international.

“By that I mean, that one of them is dropping points. If they weren’t playing each other and they could gather more points, it might be a tricky situation for Chelsea.”

Tuchel’s side are only in this perilous situation because of their poor recent league run.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 07: Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz react after their side concedes their second goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge on May 7, 2022 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stephanie Meek – CameraSport via Getty Images)

They’ve picked up just one win from their last five outings, leaving it extremely late to defeat West Ham United.

During this sour patch, Chelsea have lost to Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, drawn with Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers and lost to Everton.

Something is still not right at Chelsea

The 2-2 with Wolves was particularly hard to take, as the Blues were 2-0 up until the 79th minute.

“I still think they’ve (Chelsea) got enough,” continued McCoist.  

“Conor Coady’s last-minute header was a real disappointment for them and the defeat at Everton.

“They don’t seem to be handling the whole situation that’s going on at Chelsea pretty well at the moment.”

Can Chelsea completely blame the takeover for their downturn in form?

They’ve still performed well in patches throughout the sale process, like away to Real Madrid in the Champions League, or the 6-0 thrashing of Southampton.

Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images

So no, the changing of ownership cannot be the sole reason behind the tough period.

Injuries haven’t helped, and neither has the distraction of contracts expiring and players leaving.

Tuchel just needs to get his troop through the next handful of challenges and then give them a well-needed rest.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.