Nuno gives his verdict after Tottenham beaten by Palace
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The scene is set for one of the biggest games of the new Premier League season this Sunday as Tottenham host Chelsea in a hotly-anticipated London derby. Both sides have made strong starts to the season, with Chelsea currently joint-top with 10 points whilst Spurs sit in seventh position with just a point less. The Blues will be looking to maintain their unbeaten record so far this term, whilst Spurs will be desperate to bounce back from their humbling 3-0 defeat to London rivals Crystal Palace. Here, Daily Express Sport takes a look at four of the key clashes which could dictate the game.
Nuno and Tuchel
Two managers that live by the three-man defence, it is going to be an intriguing battle of the wits between two of the best defensive-minded coaches in the Premier League.
No coach has come close to beating Tuchel's record of 23 clean sheets in all competitions since arriving in January as Frank Lampard's successor.
But Nuno Espirito Santo got off to a decent start as Tottenham boss, guiding Spurs to a hat-trick of 1-0 victories before a heavy defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace brought his side crashing back down to earth.
Nuno and Tuchel are set to go head-to-head (Image: Getty)
Chelsea have laid down a marker in their attempts to challenge for the title, conceding only once in their opening four games — and that was when they had to play for 55 minutes with 10 men after Reece James' red card against Liverpool.
Even though they are the home side, it would be no surprise to see Spurs cede possession and allow Chelsea to dominate, taking their chances on the counter by using the pace of Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn.
Still, Tuchel already has the winning blueprint. The German oversaw a professional display on his first visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium when Jorginho's penalty secured maximum points for the Blues in the London derby last season.
That was when Jose Mourinho was in charge — and against another Portuguese tactician in Nuno, Tuchel will surely fancy his side's chances of repeating that performance on Sunday.
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Romelu Lukaku has been deadly for Chelsea (Image: Getty)
Kane and Rudiger
Antonio Rudiger has evolved into one of Chelsea’s key performers under the tutelage of Tuchel, playing a pivotal role in those 23 clean sheets since the German took the reins.
The 29-year-old’s importance to this Blues side is a far cry from his uncertain future under Lampard.
But Rudiger will have his hands full in north London up against Harry Kane.
The England captain has yet to get up-and-running this term following a delayed start to the season.
He’ll have his work cut out to buck that trend on Sunday, as Rudiger and company have only been breached once this season so far – a controversial penalty from Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.
It’s been almost three years since Kane netted against the Blues in the Premier League. But the absence of Son Heung-Min, who has starred for Spurs over the past few weeks, can provide Kane with the type of platform that he so often thrives upon to end that wretched run.
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Harry Kane will be desperate to get off the mark (Image: Getty)
Lukaku v Davinson Sanchez
Romelu Lukaku has made an electric start to life back at Stamford Bridge after his return in a club-record £97.5million deal.
The Belgian has netted four goals in as many appearances and looks every inch the elite striker that Blues owner Roman Abramovich has craved.
Lukaku bullied Arsenal’s defence in his most recent London derby, and it’ll be up to Tottenham’s Davinson Sanchez to shackle him on Sunday.
It’s certainly a tall ask for the Colombian, who remains ahead of Cristian Romero in the Spurs pecking order – for now.
He’ll definitely be a physical match for the imposing Chelsea striker.
But it remains to be seen if the Spurs defender can blunt the razor-sharp Lukaku, who has found the net with all but two of his shots on target so far this term.
After shipping three goals last time out against Crystal Palace, Spurs’ hopes of taking anything from the London derby is likely to hinge on this battle more than any other.
Jorginho scored the winner for Chelsea last year (Image: Getty)
Jorginho v Hojbjerg
Jorginho and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg keep their respective sides ticking over in the engine room and represent an intriguing battle on Sunday.
Chelsea have averaged 57.9% possession in their Premier League games this season compared to the 51.9% managed by Spurs, who are likely to try and hurt the Blues on the counter.
Much of that game plan will depend on Hojbjerg’s tenacious ability to regain possession quickly for Nuno’s side.
The absence of N’Golo Kante will hurt Chelsea’s ability to recover the ball in a similar fashion – and could hand Spurs’ counter-attacking hopes a boost.
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