Premier League

October 20, 2012


Tottenham Hotspur

2 - 4


Premier League

11:45 +00:00, October 20, 2012

White Hart Lane, England

AVB out to set the record straight

Team Stat Comparison

Tottenham Hotspur Chelsea
Matches Played 38 38
Table Position 5 3
Points 72 75
Goal Difference 20 36
Goals for * 1.5 1.8
Goals against * 0.9 1.2
Last 5 W-W-D-W-D W-W-D-W-W
Last 5 home W-W-W-D-L W-D-W-W-W
Last 5 away W-D-D-W-L W-W-D-W-L
*  Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club
Stats: Tottenham Hotspur | Chelsea

Competition Stats

Tottenham Hotspur Chelsea
Goals Gareth Bale 21 Frank Lampard 15
Assists Aaron Lennon 7 Juan Mata 12
Yellows Jan Vertonghen 7 David Luiz 8
Reds Tom Huddlestone 1 Ramires 1
Squads: Tottenham Hotspur | Chelsea

Next Matches

Tottenham Hotspur Chelsea
4/19 H: Fulham 4/19 H: Sunderland
4/26 A: Stoke City 4/27 A: Liverpool
5/3 A: West Ham United 5/4 H: Norwich City
5/11 H: Aston Villa 5/11 A: Cardiff City
Michael Wade

#INSERT type:image caption: Andre Villas-Boas is more popular in north London than west. END#

Andre Villas-Boas' presence on the touchline against Chelsea this weekend is in danger of overshadowing a Premier League game that has the potential to be the best we have seen so far this season.

The Portuguese, hung out to dry by Stamford Bridge bosses only months into his three-year contract, has begun promisingly on the path to redemption with Spurs.

• Blog: Blues' tricky trio have work to do

• Blog: Why Tottenham fans love to beat Chelsea

Some tricky early results have been overcome and a new-look Tottenham side are beginning to show the kind of form, and steely determination, which could see them become title challengers in the next year or two.

It is nine unbeaten in all competitions now, and among those results have been the impressive 3-2 win against Man United at Old Trafford, the hard-fought victory over Aston Villa and the dominating display against Reading, which was Villas-Boas' first win.

These are heady days for the White Hart Lane faithful as they prepare for a new era, but the visit of league leaders Chelsea presents a whole new challenge and the toughest test of their mettle so far.

Currently four points clear of second-placed Man City, Roberto Di Matteo is another young manager pulling up trees. Villas-Boas' replacement, and former right-hand man, has revamped his team's whole mentality since claiming a first Champions League triumph in Chelsea's history last May.

The introduction of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Victor Moses was not expected to work so well, so soon. But add Juan Mata to the mix and you have an attacking line-up which could rival the world's best in years to come.

Chelsea have seen off the challenge of Arsenal in the league already, winning 2-1, but wilted when put under the spotlight by sterner opposition, Juventus pegged back a two-goal deficit in the Champions League, and Atletico Madrid fired four past Petr Cech in a UEFA Super Cup masterclass.

Tottenham will present another tough test for Di Matteo's young side and, with both sets of players capable of scoring the goals to win the game, it has the prospect of being a classic London derby.

Tottenham player to watch: Gareth Bale. The Welsh winger has continued to impress this season, and his confidence will be sky-high after returning from an international break where he scored twice in his country's 2-1 win against Scotland. Bale has again drawn comparisons with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo recently, and his ability to perform on the biggest stage is not in doubt with an assured display at Old Trafford already under his belt this season. Chelsea have been warned.

Chelsea player to watch: Juan Mata. The Premier League's joint-leader in the assist stakes, with team-mate Eden Hazard, has something to prove after being snubbed by Spain boss Vicente Del Bosque for the World Cup qualifiers against Belarus and France this month. Having set up four goals and scored another four in all competitions already this season don't bet against Mata being at the centre of Chelsea's best play yet again.

Key battle: Brad Friedel v Chelsea attack. At 41-years-old Brad Friedel knows this may be his last season on the big stage, and with France captain Hugo Lloris waiting in the wings to replace him he has all the motivation he needs to keep performing. The threat posed by Chelsea's myriad attacking talents promises to give the veteran American goalkeeper one of his busiest afternoons so far and a real test of his talents.

Trivia: Tottenham haven't lost a London derby at White Hart Lane in the Premier League since September 2007 and boast a fearsome record of 13 wins and seven draws in that time. The last loss was 1-3 to Arsenal. Chelsea, meanwhile, have won none of their last six Premier League visits to Spurs.

Stats: This is Spurs' second-best start to a Premier League campaign ever. Only in 2009-10 did they have more points after seven games than they have this season, and then only by one.

Odds: The sides' similarities are reflected in the odds from Bet365, Tottenham are 2.50 for the win while Chelsea are 2.75. The draw is 3.50. Jan Vertonghen loves to bomb forward when given the chance and with the Blues' weakness at right-back the Belgian is a well-priced anytime goalscorer at 7.50.

Prediction: Tottenham to spring a surprise, but don't expect Chelsea to give up their near perfect start without a fight.

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