It’s that time again. A new season rekindles old rivalries, and Chelsea vs Tottenham is no different.
Across the two squads, there is plenty of talent, with World Cup winners, EURO winners, AFCON champions and record holders either side of the divide.
But if you could use both squads to create one XI, who would be in it?
101 takes a look.
GK: Edouard Mendy
Senegal and Chelsea’s no.1, Edouard Mendy was a revelation when he joined the club. In truth, it was not hard to be an upgrade on Kepa, who struggled with the Blues, but Mendy’s shot-stopping ability and calm demeanour earned him plenty of plaudits from around the world.
He can be questionable with the ball at his feet at times, but the same criticism can be levelled at Hugo Lloris. The Senegalese shot-stopper just edges this one.
RWB: Reece James
One of the clearer options in the side, Reece James stands head and shoulders clear of the competition across north London. Emerson Royal has flattered to deceive since joining from Real Betis in the summer of 2021 while Djed Spence has yet to prove himself in the Premier League following his move to the club this summer.
Matt Doherty enjoyed a purple patch under Antonio Conte last season before injury curtailed his campaign. Still just 22 years old, however, James is already better than the Irishman and will continue to improve.
CB: Kalidou Koulibaly
Now teammates with Mendy at club level as well as compatriots, Koulibaly arrives in west London with a big reputation from Serie A, and has big boots to fill following the departure of Antonio Rudiger this summer.
It remains to be seen just how well the 31-year-old will adjust to life in the Premier League, but should his first outing against Everton be anything to go on, it will be a seamless transition.
CB: Thiago Silva
Another position, another Chelsea star. Thiago Silva continues to shine despite his increasing age, with the Brazilian defender calmness personified at the heart of Thomas Tuchel’s defeat.
When fit, he is one of the first names on the Chelsea teamsheet, and is fully deserving of his spot in the XI.
CB: Cristian Romero
LWB: Ben Chilwell
Possibly the hardest spot to select in the XI. Chilwell just edges it ahead of former Inter star Ivan Perisic despite having been injured for much of last season, by virtue of his Premier League experience.
By contrast, Perisic is yet to make his full Premier League debut. While neither are cemented in their respective starting lineups at present, Chilwell is the safe bet.
CM: Matteo Kovacic
Injuries are the only thing keeping Mateo Kovacic from being one of the Premier League’s top midfielders, with the Croatian having all the attributes to succeed in the top flight, as he has shown when fit.
Capable defending but more comfortable when on the ball and driving into space, keeping him fit will be key to any silverware aspirations that Thomas Tuchel’s side have this season.
CM: Rodrigo Bentancur
The Uruguayan midfielder was a key part of Tottenham’s resurgence under Antonio Conte in the back end of last season after arriving from Juventus. While Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has impressed alongside, when Yves Bissouma makes the step up into the first XI it feels as though it is the Dane he will replace in Conte’s strongest XI.
This leaves the tidy and “safe” Bentancur as the only nailed-on option in the middle of the pitch for the Lilywhites.
RW: Mason Mount
Without a doubt THE most contentious choice in this XI, Dejan Kulusevski has been a breath of fresh air since his arrival on January deadline day from Juventus, adding more dynamism to a side that relied far too heavily on their star men.
Mason Mount, however, continued to dip under the radar at Stamford Bridge, with the Englishman picking up 21 goal contributions in 32 Premier League games, and his absence from the Chelsea side is forever noticeable.
Either has a strong claim to this spot, but we have opted for Mount.
ST: Harry Kane
From the most contentious decision to the least, there is no doubt that even the most die-hard Chelsea fan would find space for Harry Kane in their XI.
The Blues are crying out for an out-and-out striker, having seen Romelu Lukaku return to Italy on loan. Meanwhile, Kane continues to be prolific, grabbing 17 goals and 9 assists last campaign despite a slow start under Nuno Espirito Santo.
He is a no-brainer.
LW: Heung-Min Son
Like Kane, Son’s addition cannot really be argued. While Chelsea’s frontline is in disarray, Tottenham’s is settled and the South Korean is continuing to get better, sharing the golden boot with Mo Salah last season.
Should he and Kane manage to continue their telepathic connection this season, Spurs could be a real force.
Manager: Antonio Conte
Having managed both Tottenham and Chelsea, Antonio Conte seems the best fit for the role. The Italian has won league titles at every club he has managed, and while he does not have the Champions League trophy that Tuchel can lay claim to, in a league encounter few would want to come up against him.