Football: Old allies Villas-Boas, Mourinho to collide when Spurs host Blues
LONDON (AFP) - Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur will put their Premier League title credentials to the test when they renew their rivalry at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
Both teams made a raft of new signings during the close season and have made steady starts to the new campaign ahead of the 149th encounter between the two London clubs.
An injury-time goal from Paulinho gave Spurs a 1-0 win at Cardiff City last weekend that took them level on points with Arsenal at the top of the table, while Chelsea are two points back following a 2-0 victory over Fulham.
The game will not want for sub-plots, with Portuguese managers Andre Villas-Boas and Jose Mourinho due to face off for the first time since they ended their collaboration at Inter Milan in 2009.
Villas-Boas failed to emulate his former mentor during an unsuccessful eight-month stint at Chelsea between 2011 and 2012, but in Spurs he has found a club with their eyes on the same prizes.
Spurs have conceded only one goal to date, in a 1-0 loss to Arsenal on September 1, and Villas-Boas says such parsimoniousness will stand them in good stead for the visit of his former team.
"What we're seeing this season in the Premier League is that it's tight at the top. I would expect a tight encounter," said the Spurs coach, whose side crushed Aston Villa 4-0 in the League Cup in mid-week.
"We've looked solid at the back; not just clean sheets, but the amount of opportunities allowed. We'll have to show that ability again."
Chelsea centre-back David Luiz, who has made just one league start under Mourinho, says it would be wrong to attach too much importance to the touchline duel between the managers.
"It's Chelsea and Tottenham, not just Mourinho and Villas-Boas," the Brazilian told the Chelsea website.
"It'll be a fantastic derby. Everyone will watch this game, everybody wants to play this game. Tottenham have a great team."