Date: Saturday, 28th September
Tottenham and Chelsea meet at White Hart Lane for the early kick-off match with Spurs having a two point advantage over their west London rivals. The match brings Andre Villas-Boas up against his former club and the man, Jose Mourinho, who he worked alongside at both Porto and Chelsea for the first time.
Kick-off Time: 12.45pm
TV Channel: BTSport
There is intense rivalry between the two clubs who have a long history of matches in the Football League, stretching back to Spurs’ first season in the 1st Division in 1909-10. The first league match between the clubs at White Hart Lane had a great deal riding on it as the game in late April, the last game of the season, would determine who was relegated. Spurs won 2 – 1 that day with the winning goal being scored by a former Chelsea striker, Percy Humphreys who had moved to White Hart Lane the previous December.
Tottenham’s Home Record against Chelsea (inc. PL)
P 65 W 24 D 18 L 23 For 105 Ag 97
Home Record in Premier League Matches
P 21 W 3 D 8 L 10 For 22 Ag 38
While Chelsea have had much the better of meetings in the Premier League era, the overall stats show that until then Spurs had been the dominant force in the fixture. In the most recent League matches at White Hart Lane, Chelsea’s success last season was their first win in 7 games at the Lane, their previous win being in August 2005. Since then Spurs have won three with three draws and one defeat.
A year ago, the match attracted much media attention as it was AVB’s first game against Chelsea, having endured a difficult nine months at Stamford Bridge before his sacking in March, 2012. He had been appointed at White Hart Lane the following July and after a difficult start Spurs had won four consecutive League matches ahead of the international break and the resumption of League football with the match against Chelsea. All eyes were on AVB but the day ended in disappointment for him with Chelsea taking the three points with a 4 – 2 win. Gary Cahill had given Chelsea an interval lead, scoring from a corner. At the start of the second half Spurs scored two quick goals through William Gallas and Jermain Defoe. Midway through the half two quick goals from Juan Mata restored Chelsea’s lead and Daniel Sturridge added a late fourth when Spurs conceded possession in their eagerness to push for a late equaliser.
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The return of Jose Mourinho to Chelsea during the summer was heralded as the answer to every Chelsea fans’ prayers. The impact of the “Special One” has not been so immediate as on his period at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have won three of their matches, winning their opening two games at home to newly promoted Hull City (2 – 0) and Aston Villa (2 – 1). They then had a sterile scoreless draw at Old Trafford before losing at Everton (0 – 1). Having already lost the Super Cup Final to Bayern Munich on penalties, their defeat at home to FC Basel (1 – 2) in the Champions League brought increasing concern at the club and the “Happy One” became rather disgruntled. They have since restored some balance with a 2 – 0 home win over Fulham last weekend and a midweek win at Swindon in the Capital One Cup.With Mourinho in charge it is almost impossible to predict what team he is liable to pick or what formation he will decide to play. For last weekend’s match he omitted David Luiz and started without Frank Lampard and Fernando Torres. He has preferred Oscar in midfield with Juan Mata playing little part so far this season. Ramires is doubtful in midfield after picking up an injury in the Swindon game so that could bring some change to the team.
It is a strange feature of Chelsea’s season that none of their recognised strikers have scored a league goal. Oscar who scored their first against Fulham has three goals and Torres has 2 having scored against Swindon and Basel.
There are so many Chelsea players who always receive a “warm welcome” at White Hart Lane – John Terry, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard that the inclusion of Willian who made a last minute decision to defect to Chelsea in the summer having agreed to join Spurs, in the team seems almost inevitable as does that of Lampard and Mata who have been regular tormentors of Spurs over the years. The Chelsea team will probably contain many of their most experienced players who have dealt with the intensity of these matches. As with previous encounters, Chelsea will come determined to get the job done.
Having made eight changes for the win at Villa Park, Villas-Boas will return to his first choice team with the only fitness concern being over Danny Rose at left back but it is thought that he could have recovered from the injury sustained against Tromso. Any other changes will be determined by AVB’s approach to the game and although Lewis Holtby and Sandro are pressing for inclusion, they are unlikely to force their way into the team at the present. The same is the case with Jermain Defoe – his 6 goals from three starts have reminded AVB that he hasn’t lost his goalscoring touch but Roberto Soldado is the manager’s first choice striker. Nacer Chadli returned as a late substitute for the Cup game so will probably start on the bench while others on the injury list are recovering. Younes Kaboul is troubled by a thigh injury, Aaron Lennon is expected to resume training next week, Emmanuel Adebayor has been unwell and will also start back soon while Etienne Capoue is expected to resume training after the international break.
As Lewis Holtby said during the week, this is an important match for Spurs and the players – testing themselves against one of the established top-4 teams in the Premier League. His comments were reported in the Daily Express,
We have to overcome Chelsea, not only to prove to the country we are title contenders but to prove it to ourselves as well.
Read Alan’s Thoughts on the match: Here
When Tottenham lost at Arsenal, some of the new signings seemed overwhelmed by the intensity of the derby and didn’t perform at their best. Hopefully, they will have learned from that experience and will be able to show their true form against Chelsea and keep up their very impressive start to the season. With the early kick-off, a point would see Spurs move to the top of the League but three points would also open a gap on Chelsea and fend off the chasing pack. It’s an important game for both teams.