Conte returns to Chelsea with Spurs in big test
Antonio Conte will face his former employer Chelsea on Sunday, something of a litmus test for his new club Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at the start of the Premier League season. Spurs top the table after a dominating 4-1 win at home to Southampton in their opener and, thanks to some impressive new signings, hopes and expectations are high in north London. Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea started their campaign with a 1-0 victory at Everton. The West Londoners, now controlled by an investment group led by LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly following the departure of Russian Roman Abramovich, have a strong record against Spurs to match.
Chelsea are unbeaten in seven games against Tottenham, conceding just one goal in this run, while the visitors have won just one of their last 37 away matches against Chelsea in all competitions.
Spurs striker Harry Kane has also failed to score in any of his last five appearances against Chelsea, who beat Spurs four times last season, including a Premier League brace.
Conte, who managed the Blues from 2016-18 and led them to the 2016-17 league title as well as the 2018 FA Cup, will be looking to change course. “With Chelsea last season I think I saw a lot of difference in level,” Conte, who took charge of Spurs in November, told reporters after last Saturday’s game. “We played three games in 12 days (against Chelsea last season), we lost three games, we didn’t score and they showed in those three games that they were much better than us at the time. season, we start with seven months of work and, for me, it is very important because I can take another step to implement our knowledge of football and try to be stronger.”
The match at Stamford Bridge is the first of the campaign between clubs from the league’s big six, with Chelsea finishing third and Tottenham fourth last season, and both will be keen to lay down an early scorer. “I’m worried about Chelsea this weekend,” former Arsenal playmaker Paul Merson wrote on sportskeeda.com. “If Spurs came to Stamford Bridge and won, you would be worried about Chelsea and their first four references.”
Champions host Manchester City promoted Bournemouth on Saturday, with Norwegian striker Erling Haaland looking to add to his brace on his home league debut which should net Pep Guardiola’s side a solid three points. Last season’s runners-up Liverpool, who opened their campaign with a 2-2 draw against promoted Fulham, host Crystal Palace on Monday.
Arsenal, who beat Crystal Palace 2-0 in the season opener, are at home to Leicester City, who gave up a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 at Brentford on Saturday. Brentford host Manchester United in Saturday’s kick-off, with the visitors looking to avoid losing their opening two league games for the first time since 1992.