Photo: New Chelsea Manager Thomas Tuchel will take his team to Tottenham to take on Jose Mourinho for the first time in his managerial career today in a must win game for both teams. The stakes don't get any higher. (Getty Images)
Eighth place Chelsea will travel to seventh place Tottenham Hotspur for yet another London derby today in a game in which the stakes are very high. Jose Mourinho and Thomas Tuchel will face each other for the first time in their coaching careers with both Managers desperate for three points.
Tottenham and Chelsea both led the league at some point late last year and were mentioned as title contenders before losing their way and falling out of the Champions League places. Chelsea will be aiming to overtake Tottenham Hotspur while each team tries to make a closer step to the top four.
However, both teams are locked on thirty-three points (33pts) going into this matchup and separated only by goal difference, although Spurs have a game in hand. There was nothing between the two teams when they met at Stamford Bridge at the end of November with the game ending 0-0. Three points is crucial for both teams today.
Spurs have lost back-to-back games for the second time in a short space of two months and with talisman Harry Kane out due to injuries to both ankles, they looked woeful in attack in their loss to Brighton on Sunday. Mourinho will be desperate to get back to winning ways and will hope that Hueng-min Son will be able to spark the offense back to life, as they have failed to score in their last four league fixtures.
Chelsea are yet to concede a shot on-target under their new manager, as they have garnered four points since his arrival including a 2-0 win over Burnley on the weekend. Tuchel is still figuring out his best 11 but was happy with the performance that he got from his team last time out. They are unbeaten in their last four games against Spurs and will be aiming to extend that run today.
A win for either team will see them leapfrog Everton into sixth place in a congested race for European places.
Tottenham Hotspur who are clearly struggling with confidence, will be missing several of their key players due to injury. Jose Mourinho has confirmed that among the injured are Dele Alli, Sergio Reguilon, Kane, and Giovani Lo Celso. It has been reported that Kane is hopeful that he will return to action to face current leaders, Manchester City on, February 13, however, with the current leading playmaker out, Tottenham may find being the first to break down this new defensive wall of Tuchel difficult.
Chelsea on the other hand has a few doubtful players for this encounter. Kurt Zouma and the impressive Kai Havertz, both have minor injuries that could see them not being able to feature.
It is expected that Tottenham will be playing their usual counterattacking football, but it is left to be seen if Son can find a suitable partner to take the place of Kane.
Tuchel is known to be a tinker man, but having restored captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcus Alonzo to the lineup to great effect as both men scored in the 2-0 win over Burnley, he may be less likely to change the winning formula against Spurs.
Chelsea have the momentum going into this encounter but Mourinho will be looking to get one over his former club where he had two separate stints in charge.