May 18, 2024

When former Tottenham manager Leonardo Pochettino returns to North London on Monday night, Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou has cautioned the former manager not to expect a guard of honor. However, if performances continue in this vein, teams may line up to applaud the Australian’s free-flowing troupe come season’s end.

Under the bright lights of Selhurst Park, facing Roy Hodgson’s defensively sound Crystal Palace is often a difficult occasion for many a team. Tottenham struggled for the full first forty-five minutes, failing to break through the Eagles’ defense, but an unfortunate own goal by Joel Ward set the momentum before Son Heung-min extended the Lilywhites’ lead.

With 26 points from his first 10 games in the tournament, Postecoglou accomplished a feat none of his Premier League management predecessors had accomplished. Jordan Ayew’s last-gasp volley proved to be little more than a consolation, although a breathtaking consolation.

Although Tottenham leads the table by two points at the moment, wins by Arsenal, Manchester City, and Liverpool over the weekend could knock the North London team down to fourth place by Monday. In that scenario, Postecoglou will look to join Frank Clark and Maurizio Sarri as the only Premier League head coach to go through his first 11 games without a loss.

Tottenham will try to put together a five-game winning streak in the Premier League for the first time since December 2018 after scoring twice in each of their four home wins this season and only giving up two goals in the process. It’s no secret who led Spurs on that incredible run.

Pochettino’s exit from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was undoubtedly bittersweet; Daniel Levy took the decision just months after the Argentine won the runners-up trophy in the Champions League, but everyone in attendance should only be happy to see him return to the Lilywhites.

Though Chelsea’s recent encounters with London rivals have been less than stellar, the Blues were left to lament ninety minutes of carelessness against West London rivals Brentford, who scored twice on the counter through Ethan Pinnock and Bryan Mbeumo to make it three straight wins at Stamford Bridge. The Blues had also thrown away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with comeback kings Arsenal.

Eleventh-placed Chelsea, who could be dropped in the next few hours, is unable to escape the abyss of mid-table mediocrity after their mini-revival was put down. However, they did manage to salvage some pride when they defeated Blackburn in the EFL Cup semifinals thanks to a superb Raheem Sterling curler and a side-footed finish by Benoit Badiashile.

The Chelsea supporters can find solace in the knowledge that their team has won seven points from its previous three away top-flight games, despite the fact that those matches were against Fulham, Bournemouth, and recently promoted Burnley—three teams in the lowest half of the table. This is despite the Blues’ ongoing struggles at Stamford Bridge.

Though months after Chelsea’s thrilling 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge, their February visit to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium ended in a 2-0 loss, and one would pay a pretty penny to hear Pochettino’s thoughts as he tries to prevent the Blues from suffering their 16th Premier League loss of 2023 at his old headquarters.

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