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Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea preview: Take the spotlight, Andre Villas-Boas

Winner gets control of the Portugal. Or three points. Whatever.

Jamie McDonald

Andre Villas-Boas and Jose Mourinho hate each other.

Andre Villas-Boas and Jose Mourinho are cordial.

Andre Villas-Boas and Jose Mourinho are friends.

Andre Villas-Boas and Jose Mourinho both exist.

Exactly what Villas-Boas and Mourinho think of each other is unclear, but they both certainly exist and they will both be at White Hart Lane on Saturday when Tottenham Hotspur host Chelsea. But while Mourinho probably doesn't care much about what Villas-Boas an Spurs do or do not do, Villas-Boas and Tottenham has a bit of an axe to grind. If it's not with Mourinho, it's with Chelsea.

Chelsea's Champions League win robbed Spurs of a place in the competition, while Villas-Boas claims Roman Abramovich broke promises to him. And then there was the Blues sneaking Willian out from under Tottenham's noses.

At least Luka Modric isn't at Chelsea.

But there is no love lost between the two clubs, and now they play for an upperhand in the Premier League, where Spurs hold a two-point edge over their London rivals. Chelsea were supposed to compete for the league title, and they still might, but in the early part of the season they look nothing like champions. They are a mess, still praying that Samuel Eto'o comes good, while their midfield is as much of a crapshoot as it has ever been, only Marco van Ginkel is now out so he's not an option anymore. Then again, they are fourth.

All the while, Tottenham are out of sorts as Erik Lamela works himself into match fitness and Younes Kaboul and Sandro continue their recoveries from injury. Nacer Chadli and Aaron Lennon have also been dealing with injuries and after a slew of buys, the team is still gelling. Plus, Roberto Soldado has failed to find his finishing form that made him so deadly in La Liga. Then again, they are second. Chalk it up to a single goal allowed.

Yes, that Spurs defense has shined thus far. The midfield has done its part to help a cohesive backline and when all of that goes to hell, Hugo Lloris is waiting for them. So naturally, they will surrender a goal to Fernando Torres.

Or maybe Tottenham will keep it together. This is a new Spurs, we are told. Villas-Boas, backed by Daniel Levy and now with the help of the newly recruited Franco Baldini, has transformed the club. And his enemy/acquaintance/friend Jose Mourinho will see it firsthand.



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