Premier League: Tottenham v Chelsea
Jose Mourinho will lock horns with Andre Villas-Boas for the first time on Saturday afternoon, when Chelsea travel to White Hart Lane to face Tottenham.
The Blues are generally in good shape ahead of this Premier League clash but Marco van Ginkel will be out for at least six months after tearing his anterior cruciate ligaments during Tuesday’s Capital One Cup tie against Swindon. Ramires picked up a knock in the same match and is rated as doubtful.
Like Mourinho, Villas-Boas also rested a number of players during the week’s League Cup fixtures and although Aaron Lennon will face a fitness test on a foot injury, Danny Rose has recovered from his and is available for selection.
B. Ivanovic – G. Cahill – J. Terry (c) – A. Cole
J. Mikel – F. Lampard
J. Mata – Oscar – E. Hazard
The XI above represents the selection that I predict Mourinho will go for on Saturday but we’re still at a stage in which the strongest XI isn’t so clear.
I’d expect Mourinho to stick with the back four that he’s used most often so far this season, although I did enjoy the width Cesar Azpilicueta and Ryan Bertrand provided against Swindon but they’ll have to put in performances on bigger stages in order to win their place in the starting team.
Frank Lampard is probably a shoo-in to start if Ramires is unavailable but I reckon John Obi Mikel will be in the side regardless following good performances against Everton and Fulham. The Nigerian scored his first Premier League goal last weekend, but Mourinho will be more impressed by the midfielder’s passing and ability to retain possession of the ball.
Juan Mata did what he was asked to do against Swindon and I believe he’s the most dangerous attacking midfielder we have so should play here. I’d rather see him play in his traditional number 10 role but I think he may start wide and we may perhaps see Oscar switched to the right at some point, like he did against Fulham to good effect.
After starting three games in-a-row following his arrival I think Samuel Eto’o is most likely Mourinho’s preferred choice at centre-forward and the sooner he starts finding the net the better, especially for the manager. Fernando Torres played well against Swindon but still managed to miss a handful of easy chances.