Tottenham v Chelsea preview
By Rob Parrish - Follow me on Twitter @skysportsrobp. Last Updated: 20/10/12 12:04pm
John Terry: Chelsea captain serves first game of his four-match suspension
John Terry serves the first game of his four-match suspension as Chelsea travel to White Hart Lane to tackle former manager Andre Villas-Boas' Tottenham in the Premier League today.
Andre Villas-Boas: Sacked by Blues
The Blues captain announced on Thursday he would not appeal against the suspension and fine imposed by the Football Association for racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand at Loftus Road 12 months ago.
Chelsea confirmed they had also subjected the former England international to internal disciplinary proceedings, but stopped short of revealing what punishment they had handed out to their inspirational skipper, who has been with the club for the past 15 years.
Away from the distracting Terry sideshow, there is the small matter of a crucial London derby taking place, with the table-topping Blues back in north London, having already overcome Arsenal at Emirates Stadium earlier this term, and ready to take on the man they sacked back in March.
Villas-Boas was appointed at great expense by the Stamford Bridge side in the summer of 2011, but was swiftly ushered back out of the exit door by Roman Abramovich, with his replacement Roberto Di Matteo then guiding Chelsea to UEFA Champions League and FA Cup glory.
Much was made of Spurs' supposed poor start to the season after the young Portuguese was brought in to fill the role vacated by media-friendly Harry Redknapp in the summer, but four successive top-flight victories have quelled many of the dissenting voices and only in 2009-10 (15) have Spurs had more points after seven Premier League games than they have this season.
Immediate history favours the home team in this fixture, with Tottenham having not been beaten on home turf by the Blues in their last six Premier League meetings, with three victories and three draws, but the wider picture is firmly on the side of the West London club, with that recent trio of defeats the only times they have been beaten in 40 top-flight meetings.
Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas is still without Achilles victim Scott Parker for his side's Premier League clash with Chelsea.
The 32-year-old midfielder has not played since he turned out for England in their Euro 2012 defeat to Italy and Villas-Boas is now not expecting him back until Christmas.
Defenders Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul (both knee) are still absent, but Jake Livermore and Kyle Naughton are back in training after groin and ankle injuries respectively.
John Terry's suspension means Chelsea have a hole to fill at centre-back, with England international Gary Cahill expected to step into the starting XI having been on the bench against Norwich.
Experienced midfielder Frank Lampard missed both of England's World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland with a calf injury and will be assessed prior to kick-off.
Team-mate Ryan Bertrand was another to be excluded from Roy Hodgson's plans for the double-header due to illness and he must prove he has recovered sufficiently if he is to be involved in the match-day squad.
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