Tottenham vs Chelsea preview: Ramires doubtful, Rose to return?
Apart from the battle of two heavy weight teams, this particular London derby fixture has two intriguing sub-plots attached to it, relating to each other.
It will be the first time in the league Andre Villas-Boas will meet his former mentor, Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese was an integral member of Mourinho’s staff; both at Chelsea and Inter Milan, but now they share a frosty relationship.
Villas-Boas admits that Mourinho holds a special place in his career but he has moved on from the shadows of the Special One and is trying to build his own legacy in his own way.
Secondly, Spurs have a wretched record against Chelsea. Since 1990, both the clubs have met 55 times in league and cup, with Tottenham winning only five games to Chelsea’s 31. And in 42 Premier League attempts, Spurs have won just three. They have lost their first 28 meetings with the Blues in the league; although their recent results have improved, but it is still nothing to boast about.
There is a challenge for Villas-Boas to turn the tide here. Not only he needs to prove that he has come a long way from the shadows of Mourinho, but he has a task at hand to take Spurs to a different level, away from the shadows of their London rivals.
Spurs are sitting on top of the table level on points with Arsenal (won 4 out of 5 matches), while Chelsea are third in the league. A victory here for Chelsea will take them to the top, while a victory for Spurs will extend their lead with Chelsea to five points.
Villas-Boas has rested several players for their trip to Villa Park in midweek and most likely some of them will be recalled. In the defence Danny Rose is all but likely to make it to the first eleven, but Kaboul is still a doubt, while Capoue, who suffered an injury in the last London derby, will be back after the International break.
Chelsea have more-or-less a fully fit squad apart from long term injury to Marco van Ginkel (out for six months) while Brazilian midfielder Ramires is doubtful for the tie.