Chelsea will play host to London rivals Tottenham in an English Premier League tie today and this a straight battle between an apprentice and his master with Blues boss Frank Lampard taking on Jose Mourinho, who coached him when he was a player at Stamford Bridge.
Just one point separates fourthplaced Chelsea from fifth-placed Tottenham, with both of them vying for a place in next season’s Champions League but the coaches of the two teams will be the centre of attraction as their wards duel in today’s early match in England.
Lampard was victorious last time they met with Chelsea running out 2-0 winners at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium back in December. Mourinho is without doubt the more established manager, however, having enjoyed huge success in his near 20-year career. Meanwhile, Lampard only started his managerial career in May 2018 when he was appointed Derby boss before getting the Chelsea gig the following summer.
Mourinho returns to his former ground and since Lampard secured a shocking victory the first time they met, the Special One will be hoping to teach the young coach a lesson.
In 11 games, Mourinho had never actually lost to a manager who used to play or work for him. All of Andre Villas-Boas, Brendan Rodgers, Aitor Karanka and – just last week – Nuno Espirito Santo struggled against the forensic tactical mind they used to serve but Lampard dealt a big one on the Portuguese when his army won 2-0 at Spurs.
Mourinho has faced Chelsea for 10 times with other teams he managed since he left the London club with the Portuguese winning only four of those duels as he lost five.
Mourinho is the man who brought the glory of the title back to Chelsea after 55 years but a spell at Manchester United and now his appointment at Spurs means there will be little love lost on Saturday.
He has been spiky in recent days after those two setbacks with injury and defeat – but overall Mourinho has cut a happier, more relaxed figure at Spurs than he ever did at Old Trafford. Lampard is suddenly struggling to maintain a place in the top four after one win in six Premier League games, and they were beaten 2-0 at home by Manchester United on Monday.
The Englishman is facing the first serious questions during his time as manager of Chelsea – not from the supporters but simply because his team has lost momentum badly. He performed impressively in the early months of the season, blooding youngsters such as Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount while Chelsea operated under a transfer embargo.
But in recent weeks, with a barren January transfer window clearly causing consternation as Chelsea failed to bring in a striker, the gloss has faded somewhat. He will be hoping to halt the bad run by inflicting a defeat on his former manager and open a four-point gap over their London rivals.