Master meets apprentice once again in a mouth-watering London derby on Sunday when Frank Lampard’s Chelsea welcome Tottenham Hotspur and former manager Jose Mourinho to Stamford Bridge.
An attention-grabbing fixture at any time, this showdown promises to be even more encapsulating than usual with both teams in fine form and flying high in the Premier League table.
Prior to the start of the 2020/21 campaign, very few would have predicted Tottenham Hotspur to be tussling with the league’s big boys in the title race. But when the north London giants face Chelsea on Sunday, they will be well aware of the fact that a victory could help them reclaim their place at the top of the Premier League table.
It will also be the return of Mourinho at Stamford Bridge as the Portuguese mastermind hopes to continue his side’s majestic run of form. Indeed, the Lilywhites are heading into this game on the back of a five game-winning run in all competitions. They are also unbeaten in the league since the opening day defeat to Everton back in September.
However, Chelsea happen to be the second most in-form team in the Premier League at the moment, having secured three back to back wins since their goalless draw with Manchester United. In addition, they are currently in a six-game winning streak in all competitions – a run that includes a narrow 2-1 victory over Rennes in midweek.
Such momentum has helped the Blues make up some ground in the league table, with the west London giants trailing only behind Liverpool and Tottenham heading into this weekend’s round of fixtures. In fact, a win on Sunday should be enough for Lampard’s men to at least overtake their London rivals, who are leading only by two points.
For Spurs, their win over Manchester City last weekend was a statement of intent as far as their title credentials go, with the added benefit of sending them top of the table with pretty much a quarter of their season gone.
Given their truly terrible record away to Chelsea, such a result would be perhaps more significant than last weekend’s victory over Man City, but they have every reason to be confident.
Spurs have won all four away games so far this season and could become only the fifth team in the Premier League era to win five such games on the bounce at the start of a season – a feat they have only achieved once themselves in their entire history, incidentally in their last title-winning campaign.
Mourinho’s men are coming up against a team in fine form themselves, though, and looking at recent results alone there is very little to separate the two sides.
Spurs have won each of their last five across all competitions, including Thursday’s 4-0 thrashing of Ludogorets in the Europa League, while Chelsea have won their last six, most recently beating Rennes in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Chelsea’s last defeat of any kind came in September at the hands of Tottenham themselves, with Mourinho’s side winning an EFL Cup clash on penalties.
In the league alone Spurs could win five games in a row for the first time since December 2018 and are on a league-leading nine-game unbeaten run, while Chelsea are hot on their heels with seven unbeaten.
Even in the goals column there is very little to distinguish the two sides – Chelsea’s league-best tally of 22 goals scored is just one better than Spurs, while Tottenham’s league-low tally of nine conceded is also just one better than the Blues.
CHELSEA FORM GUIDE
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TOTTENHAM FORM GUIDE
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HEAD TO HEAD
For all of their good form this season, Tottenham’s record at Stamford Bridge remains dreadful – just one win from their last 34 visits in any competition and only one clean sheet from the last 17.
Indeed, home or away Tottenham have only ever won seven of their 56 Premier League meetings with Chelsea, including defeats in each of their last three – more than they had suffered in their previous eight editions of this fixture.
Another victory for Chelsea would make for their best run against Spurs since March 2002, while it would also see Mourinho lose three consecutive league matches against the same manager or club for the first time in his illustrious career.
Indeed, Mourinho has failed to win any of his last five returns to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, since picking up a win on his first return with Inter Milan in 2010.
PREDICTION: Chelsea 1-2 Tottenham
This match promises everything – two in-form teams hoping to launch a title challenge, two free-scoring attacks against two improving defences and more subplots than you can shake a stick at.
Tottenham’s record at Stamford Bridge is shockingly bad, and Mourinho’s isn’t much better on his returns as a manager either, yet this Tottenham team looks to be made of sterner stuff than ones which have visited in the past.
Last weekend’s triumph over Man City may well prove to be a coming-of-age moment, and we have a sneaky feeling that Spurs could come away with a headline-making victory in this London derby.
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