When new Tottenham Hotspur Manager Jose Mourinho managed Chelsea FC, he guided the West London club to three English Premier League titles in his two separate terms at Stamford Bridge. He also took a young player named Frank Lampard under his wing, helping to mold the raw talent into one of Europe's top attacking midfielders. On Sunday, Mourinho faces Lampard in a managerial duel for the first time in the Premier League. But the two clubs have been headed in opposite directions as they approach the end of the calendar year.
Since he replaced Mauricio Pochettino at the Tottenham helm, Mourinho has turned the team around, winning five of seven matches, including four of five in the Premier League. A club that was languishing in the lower half of the table after advancing to the UEFA Champions League final last season suddenly finds itself on the verge of a return to the Top 4. A win over Lampard's Chelsea on Sunday gets Spurs into fourth place on goal difference.
But Chelsea are now struggling to hold onto their Top 4 place after dropping four of their last five league matches.
Mourinho said on Saturday that he brings no sentimentality to the game against a club that saw some of his greatest achievements.
"No space at all for my previous clubs. I gave everything to all of them, but they are my previous clubs," Mourinho said, as quoted by the BBC. "My club is Tottenham so it's so, so easy for me. "
The Football Report previews the Spurs vs. Chelsea match in the video below.Given the relative directions of the two teams in league play over the past few weeks, and the evident lift Mourinho has given his previously underachieving club, oddsmakers see Spurs as the favorites, especially playing at home. Chelsea have managed just three wins in their last 14 away matches against Tottenham. As a result, odds on a Tottenham victory have been set at 11/8, according to Goal.com, while Chelsea are at 19/10 to take the full three points. Odds on a draw are 13/5.
According to Betfair odds quoted by The Evening Standard, Tottenham are favorites at 6/4, with Chelsea at 2/1, and a draw at 14/5.
Spurs have three wins in their last five league matches against Chelsea. Prior that run, the Tottenham side had won only three in 20 against the Blues, with eight losses in that span.
A win for Chelsea would make them the answer to a trivia question, as the first team to defeat Spurs at three different Tottenham home venues — White Hart Lane, Wembley Stadium, and the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium where Sunday's match will take place.
The showdown kicks off at 4:30 p.m. local time. In the United States, where the match will be televised by NBC Sports Network, kickoff is set for 11:30 a.m. EST, 8:30 a.m. on the west coast.