Chelsea’s title defence hit a rocky patch in their very first match last weekend, so a trip to last season’s runners-up Tottenham is the last thing they would have wanted.
Antonio Conte’s injury-hit side went down 3-2 at home to Burnley in a match that saw Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas red carded, rendering them ineligible for Sunday’s clash at White Hart Lane.
Spurs, meanwhile, has a much easier time of it as they saw off a spirited Newcastle side 2-0 at St. James’s Park as they look to pick up where they left off last year.
All eyes are in North London this weekend in a tussle between the reigning champions and their closest rivals last year, but how many from each side would now get into a combined eleven?
Hugo Lloris (Tottenham): The French international is arguably the best goalkeeper in the league now, playing a key role in Spurs’ strong defence for the past few seasons. In comparison, Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois has looked a little less assured as doubts about his happiness at the club are raised sporadically.
Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham): The former Atletico Madrid and Ajax defender has been a rock at the heart of Tottenham’s defence since joining two years ago. The Belgian international’s reading of the game is tremendous and his versatility is important.
David Luiz (Chelsea): The Renaissance man. Chelsea were roundly mocked when they chose to re-sign David Luiz for more than £30m last summer but the Brazilian has been a revelation. The switch to three at the back seemed to suit him perfectly and he silenced so many of the doubters with a key role in the club’s title win.
Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham): That Vertonghen and Alderweiredl play so well in the centre for Tottenham together but the combination is rarely used at national level is an oddity, but the former is a perfect for the latter. More of a ball-playing centre-back than his compatriot, Vertonghen is another vital cog in the impressive Spurs rearguard.
Cezar Azpilicueta (Chelsea): Since both of these teams are so adept at playing a 3-4-3, Azpilicueta should line up here in the right wing-back slot. Although he was used primarily in the centre of defence last year, the Spanish international is at his most comfortable flank and his range of tackling and passing abilities are perfectly suited to the role.
N’Golo Kante (Chelsea): The tenacious engine of this Chelsea team, it is little coincidence that the French international has been involved in two successive title-winning sides. Kante is an opponent’s nightmare, haranguing the midfield and breaking down opposing attacks with remarkable ease.
Dele Alli (Tottenham): A surprise package two seasons ago, approaching superstar status in the second. It’s hard to believe that Dele is still only 21, with a passing and finishing ability that should belong to a player of much greater experience. Disciplinary issues remain, but the youngster is on the path to greatness.
Marcos Alonso (Chelsea): As with David Luiz, eyebrows were raised when Antonio Conte bought the former Bolton and Sunderland defender to Stamford Bridge for £24m on deadline day. However, he was fantastic at the left wing-back position last season and although Chelsea have been looking to replace him with Juventus’ Alex Sandro, the current incumbent has them in safe hands.
Christian Eriksen (Tottenham): Arguably the biggest creative force in the Spurs side, Mauricio Pochettino has done very well to keep him under the radar particularly with the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele in such high demand. Another season like last year (eight goals and 15 assists) means that could all change, but for now the Danish international will be hugely influential in their league and European runs.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea): The Belgian forward has been blowing hot and coled over the past couple of years but when he is on form he is lethal. Hard to shake the feeling that he still sees Chelsea as a stepping stone, but while he is still there he is capable of changing a game in a second.
Harry Kane (Tottenham): The “one season wonder” has bee scoring consistently for the past three seasons now and it’s probably time to give him the redit he deserves for it. The England striker’s goals have been the driving force between Spurs’ last two title challenges and all signs point to him scoring 20+ goals again this season.