MANCHESTER (AFP) – Tottenham lived up to pre-season hype they could challenge for the Premier League title by going top of the table on the opening weekend of the season, but face a truer test of their credentials away to Chelsea tomorrow (11.30pm Brunei time).
Antonio Conte has been heavily backed in his first full season as Spurs boss with the signings of Richarlison, Yves Bissouma, Ivan Perisic, Djed Spence, Clement Lenglet and Fraser Forster in the transfer window.
But none of the six new faces started in an impressive 4-1 win over Southampton to underline the strength in depth now on offer to Conte.
Spurs, though, have only won once in the league at Stamford Bridge in 32 years and beating the Blues would send an early season statement of intent that they can bridge the gap to Manchester City and Liverpool.
Chelsea also got off to a winning start in less flamboyant fashion as they needed a Jorginho penalty to see off Everton 1-0.
Thomas Tuchel has demanded an improvement this weekend, but believes Chelsea will get better as the season goes on after a turbulent 2022 that saw the club suffer sanctions before Todd Boehly’s consortium took control from Roman Abramovich.
The American has not held back in backing Tuchel with the signings of Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella and Carney Chukwuemeka.
And Sterling believes Chelsea are also on the up as he outlined his reasoning for leaving Manchester City on Thursday.
“You look at Chelsea in the last couple of years, it’s four or five finals that they’ve been in,” said the England international.
“It’s a team that shows that they are competing and they’re only going to get better. So with the new ownership and the takeover it made a lot of sense.”