Premier League preview: Tottenham v Chelsea
Tottenham's showdown with Chelsea on Saturday is eagerly anticipated
Many will cite the relationship between Jose Mourinho and Andre Villas-Boas as a pretext for Saturday's clash between the London side's, but a match between two evolving teams packed with international talent is more than enough temptation to entice the neutral.
Spurs and Chelsea may be world's apart in philosophy, history, transfer policies and the ownership of the club. But the two teams who will line up against each other in the White Hart Lane tunnel at 12:40 on Saturday, are not too dissimilar when it comes to their current affairs on the pitch.
Many believe, and rightly so, that this summer was the best use of business in Tottenham's history as Daniel Levy strung-out the Gareth Bale saga with full intention of eventually selling the star. Of course the £110 million spent on new talent helps to add to this opinion.
Levy was clever by signing the majority of his new players before the Bale deal was completed, in order to integrate them into the squad before the new season. As well as this, his signings were of a high standard. Roberto Soldado and Paulinho to name two.
Spurs sit second, two points ahead of Mourinho's side, and have conceded just one goal in the league, the fewest of any of the top flight clubs.
AVB is in his second season as manager, already way beyond his equivalent time at Chelsea, and is looking shrewd in his work with a successful start to the campaign. A late winner against Cardiff City last weekend maybe signified the type of game Spurs would have drawn last season.
Mourinho may feel he has a slight advantage over Villas-Boas, being the man who helped guide him into the big-time. However, AVB, although yet to beat his former employers, will certainly have his side buzzing for the occasion.
Chelsea's start to the season has been slightly turbulent. The 1-0 defeat to Everton highlighted a few frailties in the Blues set-up and was compounded by the lack-lustre display in the home defeat to Basel.
The Stamford Bridge club do have a superb record when playing Spurs away from home in the Premier League. 23 wins to Spurs 3 is an impressive statistic between two rivals.
Never before in the Premier League have the teams been so evenly matched. Last season Chelsea travelled to the Lane in October and scored four, three of which were outstanding team goals, winning 4-2. Spurs were close to beating the Blues in the return fixture drawing 2-2 in a pulsating match in the fight for Champions League qualification.
Tottenham finished just two places and three points behind Chelsea last season, an improvement for the Blues, after finishing behind Spurs in the previous campaign.
Both sides are strong going forward, even with Chelsea lacking a consistent goalscorer. With speculation continuing over the future of Juan Mata, it seems Mourinho, stubborn in his ways, will most likely drop the Spaniard after Tuesday's win at Swindon Town.
Jermain Defoe was impressive in midweek as Spurs demolished Aston Villa, the England forward grabbing a brace in a 4-0 win, although it seems more likely that Soldado will regain his spot.
With Fernando Torres playing 90 minutes in the Capital One Cup, Mourinho is likely to favour Samuel Eto'o up front. Oscar, Mourinho's preferred number ten, will retain his spot.
Chelsea have conceded just two league goals making their defence the tightest behind Spurs'.
Mourinho is in a transitional period, as are Chelsea. the 'Special One' has not walked into a team with the necessary structure to challenge for a league title. In his previous reign at Chelsea, as well as his time with Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Porto, he had the players at his side ready to compete. His job was to instil the desire in his team to win.
This time the Chelsea boss has a huge mixture of young and mature talent. His squad is disjointed and relies on a few key players to win big matches, one of those being Mata. Now his task is different to what it has been in his previous jobs. He must find his best team, his core and his new leader up front. All tasks currently being undertaken by Villas Boas.
Spurs are not used to competing for titles. They are a team who have progressively improved to a point where they are challenging the mini-league at the top of the Premier League, in an attempt to earn Champions League football again.
Now Tottenham have the quality to break into the top positions, and AVB is slowly turning them into title contenders. Chelsea are doing exactly the same thing but in their typically brash style.
Mourinho has made dubious editions to his squad. The signing of Eto'o followed by the deal to send Romelu Lukaku to Everton until the end of the season, baffled fans and pundits alike. Victor Moses was sent on loan to Liverpool as Chelsea signed Willian for £30 million.
Forgetting the transfer policy at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea fans will trust Mourinho's judgement. He is supposedly there to stay, a phrase that cannot be said with true meaning under the Abramovich regime. But if the Portuguese gets what he needs, he will again be able to challenge for title, but this may mean the exit of some likeable names.
Saturday's match is a chance to see just how closely matched the two sides are. Spurs will be buoyant going into the game ahead of Chelsea in the standings, and a draw will retain their two point advantage over the Blues.
A win for Spurs will put them in first position ahead of Arsenal's trip to Swansea City for the evening match. Chelsea will be looking to go top ahead of the rest of the weekend's fixtures.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/130seMa
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.