Tottenham and Chelsea are set to square off in an important early-season clash. The top of the Premier League table is bunched up after the first five matches. Earning three points against another top-four contender would have a lasting impact.
Spurs are coming off a 4-0 victory over Aston Villa in a midweek Capital One Cup match. It was the latest clean sheet in a string of strong defensive performances for Tottenham, which have allowed just one goal so far in league play.
After going through a brief lull that included losses to Everton and Basel, Chelsea have rebounded with a pair of wins to start trending in the right direction again. Jose Mourinho is still trying to figure out the perfect lineup combination, though.
It should be an entertaining match between two clubs with high expectations. Let's check out all the important information for the clash, followed by a look at the top storyline and a prediction.
Where: White Hart Lane in London, England
When: Saturday, Sept. 28 at 7:45 a.m. ET (12:45 p.m. BST)
Watch: NBC Sports Network and BBC One
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Match Forecast (via Bloomberg Sports)
Tottenham: 43.2 percent
Chelsea: 31.2 percent
Draw: 25.6 percent
Top Storyline: Can Chelsea score an important road victory over Tottenham?
Last month, Chelsea headed to Old Trafford and walked away with a scoreless draw. It was a result the Blues seemed comfortable accepting, especially as the match reached its latter stages and the focus shifted to defending for the road squad.
Although that was certainly an acceptable outcome against the defending champions, Chelsea will most likely need to score a couple of key road wins during the campaign if they want to push for the title. A trip to White Hart Lane presents another opportunity.
The biggest key, as often has been the case over the past few terms, is getting reliable production atop the formation. Samuel Eto'o could eventually fill the void, but is still searching for peak form while Fernando Torres and Demba Ba try to earn more playing time.
Chelsea are strong in the midfield and should continue to control the middle of the pitch as Oscar becomes more accustomed to the playmaking role. But unless a reliable striker emerges, the Blues' attack will remain inconsistent.
Tottenham understand that and will likely continue to lean on their defensive prowess early in the match. If they can frustrate the Blues' attack in the first half, there should be plenty of chances to move forward in the second as Chelsea get more aggressive.
Spurs faced a lot of questions as it became apparent Gareth Bale's days with the club were nearing a conclusion. They did a nice job of making the necessary moves to avoid a major drop-off. Paulinho, Roberto Soldado and Christian Eriksen have all stepped in and played well.
While the outlook improves with each passing positive result, the match with Chelsea is tough test and should give fans a better idea of exactly where Tottenham stands. And it all starts with remaining sound in the defensive third against a talented attacking squad.
The result should be an interesting back-and-forth battle with both sides controlling play for stretches throughout. In the end, both sides will walk away with a point.
Tottenham 1, Chelsea 1
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