Tottenham Hotspur will have their first experience playing at temporary venue Wembley Stadium on Sunday, and Premier League champions Chelsea promise to hand them a difficult start to the home campaign.
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino can deal the Blues further misery after they suffered a 3-2 home defeat to Burnley in their Premier League opener last Saturday, while Tottenham sailed to a 2-0 win over 10-man Newcastle United.
Last season's first and second-place finishers have ignited a much fiercer sense of derby competition between one another in recent years, and this could be Tottenham's best chance to stunt Chelsea's season early on.
Blues manager Antonio Conte will consider it unacceptable to begin his season with back-to-back defeats, however, and he'll hope his opponent's move to Wembley lends a hand in disrupting their rhythm.
Read on for a preview of Sunday's clash—a replay of April's FA Cup semi-final, where Chelsea emerged 4-2 winners—complete with team news and all the necessary viewing information.
Date: Sunday, August 20
Time: 4 p.m. BST/11 a.m. ET
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London
TV Info: Sky Sports Premier League (UK), NBCSN (U.S.)
Chelsea will rue the poor discipline they demonstrated en route to a 3-2 defeat at Burnley's hands last Saturday, where they ended the match with just nine men to hand boss Conte a nightmarish start to the season.
Mark Mann-Bryans of the Press Association confirmed both Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas would be missing for the short trip to Wembley after each being sent off in Week 1, the former for a straight red and the latter for two cautions:
Mark Mann-Bryans @MarkyMBryans
Great news for #COYS - No Cahill or Fabregas at Wembley for #CFC next weekend.2017-8-12 15:42:51
They won't be the only Blues missing from action, however, as the away fixture will come too soon for star winger Eden Hazard and summer signing Tiemoue Bakayoko, per Vaishali Bhardwaj of the London Evening Standard.
That's despite Oliver Harbord of football.london reporting that the pair were ahead of schedule in their efforts to return from injuries that kept them sidelined during pre-season:
Oliver Harbord @ojharbord
Great to see Bakayoko and Hazard back in training Chelsea. Big boost ahead of Spurs clash https://t.co/1yhHPmw1z42017-8-15 13:16:40
Spurs boss Pochettino has no new concerns and could field an identical side to the one that defeated Newcastle United, with Ben Davies and Kyle Walker-Peters in line to deputise for Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier at left- and right-back, respectively.
It's difficult to envision the move to Wembley being anything other than an inhibitor for Spurs this season.
So dominant were the north Londoners at White Hart Lane last term—they failed to lose a home game and scored 47 goals, conceding nine—it seems only inevitable that record will take a backwards step in 2017-18.
Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris spoke to Sky Sports and described his side's need to replicate that same success in their short-term home, but it's a pursuit that's bound to prove easier said than done:
"You need to repeat and repeat. It's difficult to compare Wembley and White Hart Lane, where Tottenham played for over 100 years. It's an historic place, for all the Spurs fans and players.
"But the only thing we can do is to walk out, get prepared in our mind, and to build a confidence through results and performances. I am quite confident we will reach the level that we want at Wembley.
"I can understand that for the opponent team and fans it's a big place to come, but we need to make this place hard for the opponent, like at White Hart Lane."
With Nemanja Matic recently moving to Manchester United and Bakayoko yet to recover, Chelsea's engine room may be at the mercy of Tottenham's playmakers, such as the ever-improving Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli:
Tottenham Hotspur @SpursOfficial
First touch 🔥 from @ChrisEriksen8 ⚠️ 👀 #COYS https://t.co/ZigS7vChig2017-8-17 10:11:07
It also doesn't help Tottenham's plight that Matt Hughes of The Times reported 20,000 seats are set to be empty for Sunday's home clash, such is their struggle to fill the venue in the home season opener.
Chelsea's absences are vast, however, and Pochettino may well count his men as favourites to maintain a winning start to the campaign while ensuring the Blues remain pointless.