There are a few games and dates that get immediately circled when the fixtures are released in the summer, before the season itself is even a shimmer on the horizon, and this is certainly one of them. It may be early, but a derby against Spurs is always a big occasion — especially when both teams are at the top end of the league.
Only one point separates the two after the first four games, though the mood at Spurs is a bit worse after their 3-0 defeat last weekend, and a subsequent 2-2 draw midweek against Rennes. Chelsea meanwhile remain unbeaten on the season. Of course, form and fitness are only partial factors when it comes to a Super Sunday sundown showdown.
Date / Time: Sunday, September 19, 2021, 16.30 BST; 11:30am EDT; 9pm IST
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, N17
Referee: Paul Tierney (on pitch); Chris Kavanagh (VAR) — only the 10th Chelsea game for Tierney, who did take charge of the reverse fixture last season, a 0-0 draw at the Bridge in late November.
Forecast: Warm showers
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); none (USA); Star Sports Select HD2 (India); SuperSport MaXimo 1, Canal+ Sport 4 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Sky Go (UK); Peacock (USA); Hotstar (India); DStv Now (NGA)
Tottenham Hotspur team news: Spurs had been staring an injury crisis in the face, and as it often happens with such prognostications, they appear to have skirted the worst. Some concern remains over Son Heung-min, Eric Dier, Ryan Sessegnon, Lucas Moura, and Steven Bergwijn, but chances are most of them will be able to feature in some capacity. The quarantining trio of Giovani Lo Celso, Cristian Romero, and Davinson Sanchez have also returned just in the nick of time, presumably fit after a week of training in Croatia.
The only player definitively ruled out is Japhet Tanganga, who was sent off in last weekend’s shock 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace. That game has seemingly knocked Spurs’ confidence a fair bit, even though they had come into it as the early leaders after back-to-back-to-back 1-0 victories to begin the season — one of which was against Manchester City! New manager Nuno Espirito Santos has called the last few weeks “terrible” and “not very good”, though perhaps he’s just managing expectations.
View from the enemy: Cartilage Free Captain
Chelsea team news: The only player set to miss out is Christian Pulisic, who remains out with an ankle injury. N’Golo Kanté is back again after a three-week rest, and hopefully now fully over his own ankle injury, which he’s been dealing with since the start of the season.
Chelsea did get an extra day break between games thanks to our Tuesday date in the Champions League and Spurs playing in the Europa Conference League on Thursday. Hopefully we can make that advantage count; with the fixture list already up to its usual congestion.
The match is being billed as a “strike-off” between Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane — Lukaku may have the edge there (4-in-4 versus 2-in-5, in all competitions) — and while that’s surely a bit reductive, Chelsea have been getting results even when not playing particularly well thanks to Lukaku’s clinical finishing. Hopefully he continues his hot start to help us get these important three points. (Manchester City next weekend!)
Previously: This will be our fourth game at New Three Point Lane, third in the Premier League. We’ve won the previous two, without conceding. Last time, which was Tuchel’s third game in charge, it took a Jorginho penalty, won by Timo Werner. Let’s make it three for three, shall we?