The Lilywhites have been transformed under the Italian head coach in such a short space of time but a London derby this early on will certainly test just how far they’ve come in less than a year.
Spurs were defeated by the Blues in every encounter last season, failing to register a single goal. There were 2-0 and 3-0 defeats in the Premier League and they were beaten 3-0 over two legs in the EFL Cup.
The west Londoners hardly looked convincing in their 1-0 win over Everton last weekend, so there’s encouragement that things will be different heading into kickoff at Stamford Bridge, particularly as Tottenham thrashed Southampton 4-1.
It’ll be hard for Conte to change a winning team, particularly after the emphatic nature of their season-opener but there could be a case to be made for Yves Bissouma to start in the engine room.
With the manager sticking with the 3-4-3 that we’ve grown accustomed to in north London and Oliver Skipp absent through injury, perhaps Conte can take the game to his old club by adding a box-to-box presence to the middle.
Against the Saints, he deployed Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg alongside Rodrigo Bentancur, two more defensively-minded players.
They registered eight tackles and four clearances between them but only the Dane was able to provide some creativity, managing two key passes and one successful dribble, as per SofaScore.
Last season, Bissouma outscored every one of Conte’s current midfield options. He averaged 2.9 tackles, 1.9 interceptions and 1.3 dribbles per game at Brighton, so clearly he was capable of winning the ball back and playing on the front foot quickly.
That sort of presence could be vital with Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel missing his midfield stalwart Mateo Kovacic in the heart of the pitch.
Once lauded as a “wonderful talent” by ex-Seagulls boss Chris Hughton and an “absolute monster” by journalist Aaron Stokes, the £25m summer signing could plausibly be one change that Conte makes today.
It’ll be hard to alter a winning team but on the above evidence, there’s a reason to why the 25-year-old should be unleashed for his full Spurs debut this afternoon.
Bissouma could prove to be the game-changer Spurs need to finally defeat their west London rivals.