The acrimonious relationship between Andres Villas-Boas and Jose Mourinho will be in the spotlight when these managers meet in Saturday's London derby between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea in a mouth-watering, lunch-time kick-off at White Hart Lane.
Villas-Boas was Mourinho's trusted lieutenant during the latter's time as boss at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan. Villas-Boas' departed from Mourinho's side in Milan to become manager at Porto, an exit that began a rift between the Portuguese that exists to this day.
It is well documented that the men do not speak, but they will be forced to meet for the first time as adversaries as the student faces the mentor. Tottenham in second place on 12 points and Chelsea in fourth on 10.
With attention being showered on the managers, the players have become an afterthought in the glamour fixture of the Premier League weekend.
"It's Chelsea and Tottenham, not just Mourinho and Villas-Boas," Blues defender David Luiz told Chelsea's official website. "It'll be a fantastic derby. Everyone will watch this game, everybody wants to play this game. It'll be fantastic. Tottenham have a great team, it's always difficult to play against them. This season is the same."
Tottenham have conceded a Premier League-low one goal, with none in two matches at home. Chelsea have yet to score on their league travels.
Both teams cruised in away League Cup ties on Tuesday.
Mourinho made 10 changes and only retained Gary Cahill in a 2-0 win over Swindon Town. Villas-Boas kept Kyle Walker, Jan Vertonghen and Paulinho in his side for a 4-0 victory over Aston Villa.
"A big game for us, an opportunity for us to continue our good work so an extremely difficult game, they come off the motivation of winning also against Swindon so it's going to be a great game," the former Chelsea boss said.
Seldom-used strikers shined for both sides. Jermain Defoe, who has yet to start a Premier League match this campaign, scored twice for a Spurs side playing a third fixture in six days.
Tottenham had one day to prepare following Paulinho's stoppage-time winner in Sunday's 1-0 victory at Cardiff City.
"I think bearing in mind that we played on such short notice that it was difficult for us," Villas-Boas said.
Fernando Torres tallied Tuesday for Chelsea. Torres has not started a Premier League match since the Aug. 18 opener against Hull City Tigers, and has yet to score in the league.
"Hopefully I will have the chance to play more often in the Premier League and score some more goals," Torres said.
Juan Mata was given 90 minutes at Swindon after the Spaniard was left off the team sheet for last Saturday's 2-0 victory over Fulham. The win over the Cottagers eased some concerns at Stamford Bridge after Chelsea's shock 2-1 loss last week to Swiss side Basel in the Champions League.
"To lose is a normal thing and it looks like for us it's the end of the world," Mourinho said. "Some of (the teams) started the Premier League in a brilliant way, we started in a very bad way ... I read it was a disaster."
Chelsea have won twice and drawn four in their last six league meetings with Spurs. Mata scored twice in a 4-2 win at the Lane in the last campaign before the sides drew 2-2 in Villas-Boas' return toStamford Bridge on May 8.
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