Tottenham Hotspur host defending champions Chelsea at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday in a Premier League tie that is sure to have far-reaching consequences.
The Blues were beaten by Burnley in their opener last weekend, laying bare the inadequencies in their squad, and the fact that Cesc Fabregas and Gary Cahill both were sent off has added to their woes.
In stark contrast, Spurs won their first game of the season and despite making a solitary addition to their squad in the summer, appear to be heavy favourites to win the clash against their arch-rivals.
Davinson Sanchez’s impending arrival will boost the squad and the mood at the club, as fans were dismayed with the club’s vacillation in the transfer window.
Since he is yet to pass the medical, Sanchez will not feature on Sunday but the ‘hosts’ have enough depth in their squad.
However, the fact that they struggled mightily at Wembley in the Champions League last season is a worrying sign and the Lilywhites will be keen to put any notions of a hoodoo to bed.
Crucial to their fortunes, as usual, will be the likes of Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli in attack. Moussa Sissoko’s display in their opener, however, was a pleasant surprise and the Frenchman looks set to put a torrid first season behind him.
Their defence will be tasked with keeping Alvaro Morata quiet, but between Jan Vertongen, Toby Alderweireld and keeper Hugo Lloris, they have plenty of experience and should be able to manage their task.
Talking Corner: Obviously every game is important and every game means a lot to the players and the fans, but there’s no hiding how big Sunday’s match is to all of us-Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli (as per www.tottenhamhotspur.com)
Injury concerns: Erik Lamela (hip), Danny Rose (knee) Kieran Tripper (ankle)
Suspension Alert: None
It’s all going wrong for the Blues and the longer they take to register their first win of the season, the more the pressure builds on their manager and the squad.
Antonio Conte’s very public spat with Diego Costa is an undesirable distraction at a time like this and should their slump continue, the striker’s alienation may come back to haunt the Italian tactician.
Alvaro Morata came off the bench to almost rescue a creditable draw against Burnley and despite the Spaniard not being a 100 percent fit, is Chelsea’s most potent threat.
How they cope with the loss of Gary Cahill in defence will be interesting, with Conte hinting at a change in formation. The Italian could perhaps throw Tiemoue Bakayoko in the deep end despite the French midfielder being short of match fitness after a knee operation.
Talking Corner: Obviously every game is important and every game means a lot to the players and the fans, but there’s no hiding how big Sunday’s match is to all of us-Chelsea manager Antonio Conte (as per www.chesleafc.com)
Injury concerns: Eden Hazard (ankle), Pedro (ankle), Tiemoue Bakayoko (knee)
Suspension Alert: Cesc Fabregas, Gary Cahill
Super Stat: The sides have played 17 games since December 2010, and Chelsea have lost just two of those ties, having won eight and drawn the rest!