Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas will take on his Portuguese protégé on Saturday as the North London club hosts Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea at White Hart Lane in a fixture featuring two clubs in England’s upper-echelon.
The day’s early kick at 7:45 a.m. ET, the Spurs-Blues matchup is the highlight of this weekend’s slate and comes with both sides rooted in the top four of the table after five matches.
Tottenham sits in second on 12 points, tied with Arsenal but trailing on goal difference, while Chelsea is two points behind with 10, the same total as Liverpool and Manchester City.
Each side is embarking on a new era this season. Spurs reinvested funds from the world-record $135 million sale of mega-star Gareth Bale to Real Madrid to bring in seven international level players including Spanish striker Roberto Soldado, dynamic Danish midfielder Christian Erisken, Argentine attacker Erik Lamela and Brazilian midfield anchor Paulinho, who scored in stoppage time to give the club a victory last week at Cardiff.
Their fine form thus far is built from a solid foundation at the back having conceding just one goal in nine matches in all competitions this term.
Chelsea, meanwhile, welcomed back Jose Mourinho this season for a second tour of duty and he has endeavored to change the team’s style, hoping to play fewer long balls and have attackers track back on defense.
As compelling as the battle on the field promises to be, the match of wits on the touchline could be even more interesting.
Villas-Boas was in charge at Chelsea for nine short months in the 2011-2012 EPL season after winning the UEFA Europa League as part of a treble with Porto, where he got his start as an assistant under Mourinho in 2010. He also served on Special One-led staffs at Chelsea and Inter Milan before getting a job as top boss with Academica and moving back to Porto.
Villas-Boas was one of seven managers to take the reins at Stamford Bridge after Mourinho’s dismissal in September 2007 and before his return from Real Madrid in June.
In the buildup to the match, he’s looked to distance himself from his former mentor.
“The comparisons are difficult to accept for different reasons. When you start your coaching career, everyone looks at where you come from. I learned with Jose Mourinho, but I’m completely different to him in terms of personality, way of working and communication. We have different philosophies,” he said.
“We had a super working relationship, we won, but as soon as we parted ways, I started doing things my way.”
Old friends turned Premier League foes will do battle with a field full of high-priced world-class players. This match promises to be special. Cheer on your side dressed in official and unique Tottenham and Chelsea team gear from soccer.com.