By Steve McMahon
While Villas-Boas may be a consummate professional, a part of him would be quietly hoping to humiliate Chelsea when his former assistant Roberto Di Matteo leads them to White Hart Lane this weekend.
I believe the Portuguese has a decent chance of succeeding at the task, especially with Tottenham looking an increasingly well-organized side. During his time at Stamford Bridge, Villas-Boas' Blues were notoriously poor in defence, a direct contrast to his current Spurs team. In addition, the Tottenham manager can also count on a strong and pacey offence boasting Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon and Moussa Dembele.
His opposite number Di Matteo will have to worry about the possible absence of John Terry who's unlikely to contest his four-match ban. Not only will the Blues be missing their leader but also their best defender and I do not think anyone who comes in to replace the Englishman will do as good a job.
The situation is vastly different when it comes to Frank Lampard. The midfielder has once again been linked with move to Major League Soccer and the Chinese Super League recently, and I would encourage him to consider his options carefully. Although Di Matteo has reassured Lampard that he remains an important part of Chelsea, the 34-year old must realize that he is an increasingly bit part player. As such, he should decide what kind of legacy he wishes to leave behind at Stamford Bridge.
After beating Norwich convincingly, Liverpool struggled to a goalless draw against Stoke last weekend. The Reds are not playing badly, but they clearly need an alternative source of goals besides Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan cannot handle the burden of scoring for Liverpool on his own, and this has been compounded by the loss of Fabio Borini.
Although Reds supporters might not be willing to do so, they should look at the success of Manchester United's strike-force. The purchase of Robin van Persie has ensured Sir Alex Ferguson no longer needs to rely only on Wayne Rooney for goals, though he could also count on Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez prior to the Dutchman's arrival.
While he has not made consistent headlines for his goals, Suarez has managed to stay in the spotlight due to his diving antics. I cannot deny that he might be guilty of play-acting, but I question why he is the only player being vilified for doing so. The likes of Gareth Bale and Welbeck have committed horrendously obvious dives in the past, but were not forced to suffer the barrage of criticism handed out to Suarez.
Former Liverpool assistant manager Steve Clarke will lead his West Brom side against defending champions Manchester City with the knowledge that the two are only separated by a single point.
While I admit to being surprised at how well the Baggies have started the season, I believe it has much to do with Clarke's decision not to fix what is not broken. Many managers choose to revamp a side upon their appointment, but the Scot recognized he inherited a good team from Roy Hodgson, and is now reaping the benefits of continuity.
Clarke will send out a West Brom team looking to hit City on the counter-attack. Although the speed of Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie may pose a challenge to Roberto Mancini's squad, I expect the Manchester club to come out on top due to Joe Hart's form. The goalkeeper has garnered plenty of praise in recent weeks, and I think he is easily one of the world's leading custodians.
Over on the other side of Manchester, the Red Devils will welcome Stoke to Old Trafford. While Tony Pulis' men managed to hold off Liverpool, the same is unlikely to happen when they play United. I was impressed with how well Ferguson's team saw off Newcastle in their previous fixture, and I believe Stoke stand little to no chance of pulling off an upset if the Red Devils go on the attack in a similar manner this weekend.
Rooney has not been amongst the goals for a while, but he has made up for it by notching several assists. The 26-year old is developing a new side to his game; one that will benefit both him and the team he plays for. I have always thought highly of Rooney and any team that can call upon such a fantastic player would be foolish not to utilize him, regardless of the position he occupies. His added versatility will only serve to strengthen his bid to start regularly for both club and country.
Steve McMahon's Premier League PredictionsTottenham vs Chelsea
Tottenham vs Chelsea
Chelsea are in form at the moment but Spurs aren't doing too bad themselves. Andre Villas-Boas' have proven they are a well-drilled side so far this season and with home advantage, I'm backing them to grab all three points at White Hart Lane.
Prediction: 2-1 (Halftime 1-0)
West Brom vs Man City
West Brom are well-organised and sound at the back, but in terms of going forward and threatening City, I don't think they have what it takes. The Citizens have too much quality and I expect them to comfortably see off their opponents.
Prediction: 0-2 (Halftime 0-1)
West Ham vs Southampton
Prediction: 2-0 (HT: 1-0)
Man United vs Stoke
Prediction: 2-0 (HT: 1-0)
Swansea vs Wigan
Prediction: 0-1 (HT: 0-0)
Fulham vs Aston Villa
Prediction: 2-1 (HT: 1-0)
Liverpool vs Reading
Prediction: 2-0 (HT: 1-0)
Norwich vs Arsenal
Prediction: 0-3 (HT: 0-1)
Sunderland vs Newcastle
Prediction: 1-1 (HT: 0-0)
QPR vs Everton
Prediction: 1-2 (HT: 0-1)
Former Liverpool and England International Steve McMahon is a football expert with ESPN's Monday Night Verdict at 8pm.