Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have been two of the most in-form teams in the Premier League this season. When Chelsea host their London rivals on Sunday, an electric clash is anticipated, one that could have top-of-the-table implications.
After a well-deserved win against Manchester City sent them top of the table, Tottenham Hotspur could make another statement win if they earn all three points at Stamford Bridge. However, Lampard’s side will have the opportunity to go above the Lilywhites with a win at home.
With Christian Pulisic returning after a hamstring injury and Kai Havertz back to full fitness after testing positive for COVID-19, Chelsea have a clean slate in the injuries column. However, Tottenham Hotspur will be without their star performer from the last game - Toby Alderweireld - as he is down with a groin injury.
Nevertheless, both London teams managed to get victories in Europe leading up to this game. Chelsea won a thriller at Rennes wih a stoppage-time goal while Tottenham Hotspur comfortably beat Ludogorets Razgrad.
Incidentally, this game happens to be the 1,000th for Chelsea in the Roman Abramovich era.
With master meeting apprentice in a mouth-watering London derby on Sunday, let us take a look at five key battles in the game that could decide its outcome.
#5 Timo Werner (Chelsea) vs Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur)
Chelsea spent big this summer, and one of the many young stars they landed was Timo Werner.
The German international has had a good start to his Chelsea career. With 13 goal-contributions so far this season, the striker has found form after a slow start at the Premier League club.
Werner is not yet at his fluent best, as he has had some uncharacteristic misses in the last few games. However, the Chelsea striker, who averages two shots per game, doesn't dwell on his misses and starts on a clean slate, something that may not augur well for Tottenham Hotspurs' chances in the game.
In this respect, Werner's match-up with Tottenham Hotspur captain Hugo Lloris could be something to look forward to.
Lloris has led Spurs with aplomb and has been a fabulous shot-stopper for many seasons now. However, he'll have to be at his best to thwart the in-form Timo Werner, something that may not be an easy task.
With only three clean-sheets this season, the Frenchman will look to add to that tally against high-flying Chelsea.
#4 N'Golo Kante (Chelsea) vs Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Tottenham Hotspur)
N'Golo Kante and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg have been the midfield lynchpins of Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur respectively, providing defensive stability and solidity in the middle third of the pitch.
There were rumours about N'Golo Kante leaving Chelsea this season, but Kante has been a key player for the club ever since returning from injury. That has allowed the Chelsea manager to play two number #8s, with the former Leicester City man acting as the defensive wall in midfield.
It is rare to see Kante get dominated in midfield, but he might have his work cut out against Tottenham Hotspur's new arrival Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.
The £15-million bargain has been a revelation, helping Spurs to the Premier League summit. His duel with Kante could very well decide the outcome of this game.