Andre Villas-Boas and Jose Mourinho will face each other for the first time in the English Premier League this weekend, with Tottenham Hotspur scheduled to host Chelsea at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
Villas-Boas, who served under Mourinho at Porto, Chelsea and Internazionale, has led Spurs to eight wins in nine matches in all competitions this season.
Spurs have kept a clean sheet in each of their eight wins, with their only defeat of the current campaign coming in the North London derby against Arsenal at the Emirates.
On the other side of the touchline, Mourinho has started his second-stint at Chelsea with a disappointing 4-2-2 record, but back-to-back 2-0 wins over Fulham and Swindon Town have boosted the Blues’ confidence ahead of Saturday’s crucial clash.
Holland international midfielder Marco van Ginkel, 20, tore his anterior cruciate ligament against Swindon Town, and has subsequently been ruled out for at least six months.
With the 20-year-old sidelined for the long term, new signing Willian — a summer transfer target of Tottenham — will surely get more opportunities to impress the coaching staff.
Willian, who joined Chelsea from Russian Premier League side FC Anzhi Makhachkala for a reported fee of £32 million this summer, made his club debut in the Blues’ 2-0 win over Swindon in Round 3 of the Capital One Cup on Tuesday.
However, the highly-rated Brazilian was virtually non-existent for 90 minutes against the Robins, and thus will probably not feature against Spurs at the weekend.
As for Tottenham, expect AVB to select a ‘hard-to-beat’ side, including the in-form back four of Kyle Walker, Michael Dawson, Jan Vertonghen and Kyle Naughton.
“I think the team is playing very well, we have great strength in the squad, but I think, above all, great team spirit and ambition to do well,” said Villas-Boas following Spurs’ comprehensive 4-0 win over Aston Villa in midweek.
Chelsea assistant coach Steve Holland on Juan Mata’s performance against Swindon: “If you look at his performance tonight, he made Fernando’s [Torres] chance early in the game, he was involved in the goal…then in injury time he conceded the final corner of the game supporting Ryan Bertrand in the left-back spot.
“We were pleased with Juan`s contribution, with and without the ball.”
Mata is 7/2 to score anytime at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
A draw seems more than plausible, with not much separating the two sides thus far this term.
Tottenham 1 – Chelsea 1 (6/1)
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