There’s a smell in the air. It’s the whiff of revenge. Well, revenge mixed with the scent of overly expensive aftershave and farts that accompanies professional footballers everywhere. Andre Villas-Boas is out to claim a swift revenge on the Chelsea team that discarded him last season and that will involve getting Spurs to beat the Blues.
I’ll be here to bring you all the latest updates via the medium of grumpy text commentary. If you’ve got your own thoughts on the match, you can leave them in the comments section below and we can shoot the breeze.
FULL TIME: Tottenham 2 – 4 Chelsea
2.38pm: FULL TIME! Mike Dean brings an end to a fantastic start to the Premier League weekend. It was a real topsy-turvy match, but over the 90 minutes, Chelsea had enough attacking prowess to compensate for their abysmal defending.
2.36pm: Alan Smith confirms the obvious by awarding Juan Mata the Man of the Match bottle of champers.
2.34pm: GOAL! CHELSEA! Daniel Sturridge scores after some good harrying of Kyle Walker from Juan Mata. It’s over. AVB is going to have to build up his store of Chelsea resentment for use at a later date.
2.32pm: More garbage from Cech. He pushes a fairly harmless cross into the path of Adebayor. Luckily the displays the deft touch of a circus elephant it ends up in Cech’s hands. Seconds later he pulls off a cracking save to get down low and stop a low shot from Walker. Hazard goes off and Lamprd comes on.
2.29pm: Aaron Lennon has a shot from the edge of the box. It’s about head height and Cech catches it at the second attempt. At the other end, Fernando Torres is played in brilliantly by Mata. He’s about 10 yards out and he really should score, but in a familiar story, Torres finds a way to miss narrowly.
2.26pm: As a Sigurdsoon free-kick sails harmlessly over Petr Cech’s cross-bar, I’ve decided he’s actually had a crap game. Chelsea make a sub. Daniel Sturridge comes on for Oscar.
2.22pm: In a rare few moments of holding on to the ball, Spurs create another half-chance. Adebayor gets onto a cross, but his header his easily dealt with by Cech.
2.18pm: Friedel saves low to his right. The shot was from Oscar. Spurs go down the other end of the pitch and create a half-chance, but Sigurdsson blasts it over.
2.17pm: Mata has a chance to seal his hat-trick, but the ball doesn’t drop for him and Friedel makes an easy save. Emmanuel Adebayor comes on for Clint Dempsey.
2.16pm: Just under 20 minutes left and Chelsea are 1/5 to win.
2.13pm: GOAL! CHELSEA! Juan Mata grabs his second in three minutes courtesy of a lovely pass from Eden Hazard. He’s played in by the Belgian on the edge of the Spurs’ box and he strikes his shot to Friedel’s right.
Jake Livermore came on for Tom Huddlestone at some point in the last few minutes.
2.12pm: Petr Cech saves a long range effort from Defoe. Down the other end, Torres looks to be clean through on goal, but his decision to waddle towards Brad Friedel lets the defenders get back.
2.10pm: GOAL! CHELSEA! The Blues have looked good for the last few minutes, mainly because it hasn’t involved their defence a whole lot. The ball falls to Juan Mata who caresses the ball low to Brad Friedel’s left. Lovely goal and reward for a good spell of pressure for the visitors.
2.05pm: Sandro has a shot from the edge of the area. It’s low and straight into the hands of Cech, but a sign of how much the Chelsea defence is struggling at the moment. Tottenham are now 2/5 for AVB to get his much-publicised revenge.
2pm: Chelsea have a penalty shout that’s not very convincing. Replays show there was contact, but as it’s Ashley Cole, everyone thinks he’s trying to cheat. They end up with a corner and after Fernando Torres gets a bit narky with the defenders, Spurs clear it.
1.58pm: GOAL! TOTTENHAM! The Chelsea defence have been more suspect than Harry Redknapp’s financial arrangements since half-time and Jermaine Defoe comes up with a neat finish that beat Petr Cech. It’s totally like a game of two periods of equal duration with little resemblance between those first and second periods.
1.54pm: Another good chance for Sigurdsson, but Cech holds onto the shot and the danger is averted. Looking at the replay, the shot was rather straight at the Chelsea goalkeeper. That’s three good chances wasted by Sigurdsson. I can’t decide if he’s playing a stormer or having a nightmare.
1.53pm: Sigrudsson is about seven yards out and his volley is blocked. Chelsea are snoozing since half-time and it’s now just 9/4 that Tottenham win it from here.
1.50pm: GOAL! TOTTENHAM! What the hell?! That’s one of the strangest goals you’ll see. The Chelsea defence decide to play musical statues in response to a free-kick hoofed into their penalty area. William Gallas gets on the end of Vertonghen’s knock-down and Petr Cech forgets to try and intercept it, allowing the Frenchman to tap in from one yard out. Strange, strange stuff from the league leaders.
1.49pm: Chelsea start the second half. Tottenham are 8/1 to win it from here.
1.45pm: Sorry, I nipped out for lunch during the half-time break. Strangely ‘what if Jame Redknapp or Glenn Hoddle say something really insightful?’ wasn’t a thought that occurred to me.
1.33pm: YELLOW CARD AND HALF-TIME! Ramires is the latest player booked for an ill-advised tackle. Spurs get everyone forward, then take it short and Mike Dean blows for half-time.
1.31pm: BOOKING! Kyle Walker goes into the book for a cynical foul that stops a Chelsea counter-attack in it’s tracks. Normally that’s what happens when you give the ball to Jon Obi Mikel.
Prior to that, Jermaine Defoe had a shot cleared off the line. It was the dead-ball line rather than the goal-line, but you can forgive Ashley Cole for not being certain and playing it safe
1.27pm: Petr Cech has a Petr Cech moment and fumbles a fairly innocuous cross away from danger. It was pure luck it didn’t fall to a Spurs player although if it was Sandro Chelsea would probably have been alright. Dempsey has a shot blocked and now David Luiz is down with what looks like an injury to his 1980s perm.
1.24pm: GREAT CHANCE FLUFFED AND THEN A BOOKING! Friedel makes a straightforward save from Juan Mata. Nothing strange about that, but the rebound falls straight to the Spaniard who blazes over from eight yards out. William Gallas then gets a caution for a textbook tackle from behind on Fernando Torres.
1.20pm: Spurs have come back into the game since going behind, but Chelsea look more dangerous than not doing exactly what Roman Abramovich tells you.
1.15pm: Great chance for Sigurdsson! After a nice spell of possession, Spurs miss a good opportunity. The Chelsea defence are stunned into paralysis by Aaron Lennon providing a decent final ball, the chance falls to the Icelander ten yard out who shanks it to the right of Petr Cech’s goal.
1.10pm: YELLOW CARD! Branislav Ivanovic gets booked for falling in a way the referee interpreted as a dive. It’s a little harsh as he didn’t seem to interested in claiming a free-kick, but then again he did fall for no real reason, which would have got him a penalty if he was a Manchester United player.
1.06pm: Right, the updated prices are in. It’s now 2/5 for a Chelsea win and 12/1 for Bale to serve the umbilical cord for Sunday dinner. Only one of those options sounds tempting.
1.05pm: Spurs come back at Chelsea and Defoe forces Petr Cech into a regulation save. Judging by how Cech makes some of his regulation saves, that’s never a bad idea. Dempsey nearly gets onto the rebound, but Spurs have to settle for a corner, which they duly waste.
1.03pm: GOAL! And what a goal! Chelsea take the lead with a cracking volley from Gary Cahill. That ball is head up into the air, Cahill is lurking on the edge of the box and he simply smashes it past Brad Friedel.
1.01pm: Ashley Cole is getting booed every time he touches the ball. I never realised Spurs faithful were such Cheryl fans.
1pm: 15 minutes of the match gone and it’s Chelsea who are the 7/5 favourites to claim victory. I’m not saying that’s purely down to Sandro’s shooting, but you never know.
12.56pm: Decent effort from about 22 yards out by Oscar. It goes wide low to the right of Friedel’s goal. Another Brazilian, Sandro has a shot for Spurs, but it’s pretty useless unless you’re playing rugby.
12.54pm: Brad Friedel is quickly off his line to ask the postman why his copy of the Radio Times hasn’t arrived yet. While he’s there he also intercepts a threatening through ball from Hazard almost to Torres.
12.52pm: Fast and furious stuff so far in the fine tradition of the local derby cliche. Still no word on Bale junior.
12.48pm: Good chance for Tottenham, but it really required the deft touch of an Ardiles and what Tottenham got was William Gallas. Six yards out, he gets on the end of a good free-kick, but can’t wrap his foot around the ball to send it goalwards.
12.47pm: Ashley Cole has a moan at the referee. That’s hardly news.
12.46pm: The game starts with Tottenham kicking off. Seven seconds in and there are no incidents of racism to report. Yet.
12.40pm: Who wouldn’t want a Tickle Me Elmo? It’s hilarious. Kind of what I’d like to imagine how Paul Scholes is after a sherry too many on Christmas Day.
12.36pm: I’m watching the Sky Sports pre-match build-up and I’ll report back the moment anyone says anything remotely interesting. Nothing yet.
I should point out Jamie Redknapp and Glenn Hoddle are in studio.
12.30pm: Showing an excellent knowledge of the human reproductive system, Andre Villas-Boas admits that he knew he’d most likely be without Bale for this game and always had his plan B ready. “I was thinking a voucher for Mothercare, but now I’m veering towards a Tickle-Me Elmo,” he doesn’t tell Sky Sports.
12.20pm: BIG TEAM NEWS!
About nine months ago, Gareth Bale got a ride. Great news for him, but it’s Tottenham who are paying the price for it today as he is needed to paced nervously around a hospital for the day while his partner gives birth. Get the cigars ready, Garth. Hugo Lloris is also having a baby, but more in the metaphorical sense as he’s been dropped in favour of Brad Friedel. If only we could have been a fly on the wall for that hissy-fit.
Friedel, Walker, Gallas, Caulker, Vertonghen, Huddlestone, Sandro, Lennon, Sigurdsson, Dempsey, Defoe.
Roberto di Matteo is without John Terry thanks to his suspension and he leaves Frank Lampard on the bench.
Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Oscar, Hazard, Mata, Torres.