Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points and players who can be decisive in Matchweek 5.
Kovacic has proved his worth to Thomas Tuchel during the early stages of 2021/22 with a series of exceptional displays in central midfield.
The in-form Croat gave a sumptuous performance in last weekend's 3-0 home win over Aston Villa.
Then, after the break, he capitalised on a weak back-pass from Tyrone Mings to score his first goal at Stamford Bridge.
On Sunday, Chelsea are likely to control possession against a Tottenham Hotspur side who prefer to sit off and counter-attack.
Despite starting only three of Chelsea's opening four matches, he has made significantly more successful passes inside the opposition half than any of his Chelsea team-mates.
His pass accuracy, long and short, is also exemplary.
When Kovacic gets on the ball, Chelsea’s forwards will come alive, especially Lukaku, who loves to make runs beyond the last defender.
|Succ. passes in opp. half||123||1st|
|Long pass accuracy %||76.5||1st|
|Pass accuracy %||91.8||2nd|
For the last six years, Kante has been one of the world’s most accomplished midfielders, performing brilliantly in both defence and attack.
The fact the Frenchman is no longer a guaranteed starter underlines Kovacic's progress.
Kovacic has always been graceful on the ball, creating space with a dummy and dribble, but this season he has impressed in all facets of the game.
Not only is he Chelsea’s best dribbler, he has also become a defensive lynchpin and goal threat rolled into one.
He is joint-top of Chelsea’s rankings for most shots, excluding blocks. He shares the most ball recoveries with Jorginho, and he leads the way for winning back possession inside the final third.
|Shots (exc. blocks)||7||=1st|
|Poss. won in final third||4||1st|
Kovacic's performance is likely to have a big bearing on the result against a Spurs side who will be determined to bounce back from last weekend's 3-0 loss at Crystal Palace.
If he and Jorginho, or Kante, maintain their current levels, it will be highly difficult for the hosts to get any kind of foothold in the match.
At 27 years of age, Kovacic may well be playing the best football of his career. In a Chelsea midfield stacked with a number of talented stars, he is the player shining brightest.