Chelsea v Tottenham, Premier League, September 20, 2009
The two 100% (winning) records in the Premier League come under serious scrutiny on Sunday and by the time Chelsea face London rivals Spurs they could lengthen this run and really establish themselves as the team to beat.
Carlo Ancelottiâ€™s spell at Stamford Bridge has started in emphatic fashion. The Blues have won the Community Shield, claimed five victories out of five in the Premier League and beat Porto in their opening Champions League game on Tuesday night.
Whether it is due to the Italian tactician, Guus Hiddinkâ€™s revolutionary time at the club, or even the FA Cup win at the end of last season is open to question but Chelsea look resolute this season and have laid down a marker for the campaign ahead.
Last weekâ€™s win at Stoke was the third league game this season in which the Blues have come back from a deficit and with Didier Drogba (3/1 to score first) and Nicolas Anelka (9/2 to score first) in fine fettle Chelsea shouldnâ€™t struggle for goals. (14/5 for both Drogba and Anelka to score.)
The French striker stepped up to the plate on Tuesday against the Portuguese champions and Drogba will be eager to continue his fine run this season. Four goals in five Premier League games so far is a far cry from last season when he didnâ€™t score until Boxing Day.
Many will no doubt point out that Chelsea have yet to be truly tested and with Spurs currently occupying fourth place this should be a true examination. Especially as Tottenham have in recent seasons been a thorn in the side of their London rivals.
Despite the fact that their last win at the Bridge came in February 1990, Spurs have curtailed Chelseaâ€™s title challenge twice in the last two seasons. A 1-0 win in March and a 4-4 classic almost exactly a year to the day the season before, punctured Chelseaâ€™s attempts to haul back Manchester United. Throw in the 2008 Carling Cup final win and the Blues should be well up for this one.
Harry Redknapp escaped lightly from his tactical error of playing Robbie Keane (10/1 to score last) on the left wing against Manchester United last week and this could well be a tight match as Spurs will likely play tight and pack the midfield.
If both Peter Crouch (10/3 to score) and Jermain Defoe (18/1 to score first & Spurs win) play, we will likely see Jermaine Jenas in midfield to supplement Wilson Palacios and Tom Huddlestone who will aim to stifle the play and get Aaron Lennon (33/1 to score a brace) on the ball.
Heurelho Gomes could make a return in the Spurs goal now he is fully fit, although Carlo Cudicini will be eager to impress if he gets the nod on his return to the Bridge. Whoever is in goal, Tottenham will have to stay tight and much will depend on Ledley King who remains Spursâ€™ most important player.
There have been some fine games between these two sides over the years, including some classic cup ties in recent seasons. Spurs are unlikely to â€œpark the busâ€ as they were famously accused of by Jose Mourinho in September 2004. And with the likes of Drogba and Defoe on the pitch there should be goals. The vociferous home support and a confident Chelsea are probably the safe bet.
101gg predicts: Chelsea 2 â€“ Tottenham 1 (13/2)
Full match odds here.