While it is much too early to deem this a "must win" match for the Tottenham Hotspur, this Saturday's meeting with Chelsea is definitely a marquee showdown. The Blues and Spurs are both ranked in the top five in the Barclays Premier League table, being first and tied for fourth, respectively.
While Chelsea, having a four-point lead in the table after seven games, has breathing room, a loss would be a tough pill for Tottenham to swallow. Gaining no points would all but assure that they'd fall out of the Top Five.
Adding to the intrigue of what already promises to be a great match is André Villas-Boas, who was replaced as manager of Chelsea back in March. He was hired in July to take over the club in Tottenham.
Where: White Hart Lane, London, England
When: Saturday, October 20, 7:45 a.m. EST
TV/Live Stream: ESPN2 (TV) and WatchESPN (Live Stream)
Tottenham Hotspur: Can They Topple Premier League Favorite Chelsea?
After a slow start, opening Premier League play with a loss and two draws in their first three games, the Spurs have come on strong of late, winning four straight games, including a 3-2 victory over Manchester United.
Their strong play has a lot to do with the efforts of forward Jermain Defoe and midfielder Gareth Bale, who lead the team in goals, with six goals combined.
Recent Fulham transfer and US soccer star, Clint Dempsey looks to play a prominent role in the match against Chelsea as well. Dempsey scored in both games that he played against Chelsea last season with Fulham. He spoke with Sky Sports News earlier today, saying:
It is going to be an important game because the table is so tight. You have to take care of your home games and try and get as many results as you can. We want to continue this run of positive results, so we know it is going to be a tough test but we are all excited, and we have everyone back from fitness now and we are looking to make the most of this game.
Tottenham, having only won three of their 40 Premier League meetings with Chelsea, is looking to change their fortune this Saturday.
Chelsea Blues: How Will They Fare in First Match Against Villas-Boas?
The Blues come into this match having won six of their first seven matches and pulling a draw in the other. They lead all teams in goals differential, having outscored their opponents by 11 goals combined.
Chelsea is averaging more than two goals per game, behind the scoring attack of Fernando Torres, Branislav Ivanovic, Frank Lampard and Eden Hazard, who account for 12 of the teams 15 goals.
Tottenham will be their first top five opponent. It will also be their first time facing off against their former manager, André Villas-Boas.
Ivanovic, the Blues star defender, recently spoke with the Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle about the difficulties of facing their former manager.
"Our games against Tottenham were very interesting and tough for both sides even before Andre went there."
"Now it is especially so for both sides with our ex-manager. It will be difficult in one way and in the other way we know what is the idea and what we can expect of them."
"This game will be decided by things like when you are back from your international duty and how tired you are - the small details. So it's going to be tough for us."
While Chelsea may be the favorite heading into this game, with stout second-half defense—which hasn't allowed a second half goal in seven games, the Spurs are no pushover. In their last six Premier League meetings at the Lane, the Blues have yet to come out victorious, coming away with three draws and three losses.
Expect much of the same in Saturday's match. Dempsey will prove the last minute transfer from Fulham was worth the risk, helping aid the Spurs to victory, 3-2.
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