BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
THURSDAY 1ST JANUARY, 2015
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 5 (3) CHELSEA 3 (1)
Kane, 30, 52
Townsend (pen), 45
Diego Costa, 18
Referee:- Phil Dowd
Assistants:- S Child & M Mullarkey
Fourth official:- A Marriner
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Fazio, Vertonghen, Rose (sub Davies, 76); Mason (sub Dembele, 14), Bentaleb; Townsend (sub Paulinho, 66), Eriksen, Chadli; Kane
Subs not used:- Vorm; Chiriches; Stambouli; Soldado
Booked:- Bentaleb (foul on Willian), Paulinho (foot up), Kane (kicked ball away)
Chelsea (4-2-3-1):- Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (Capt.), Azpilicueta; Fabregas, Matic; Willian (sub Salah, 72), Oscar (sub Ramires, 46), Hazard; Diego Costa
Subs not used:- Cech; Zouma; Mikel; Drogba, Remy
Booked:- Fabregas (foul on Vertonghen)
2015 has started exceedingly well!
(I should point out that due to illness, I was unable to travel today, and my report is based upon my TV viewing. I also confess that I predicted defeat. Maybe I should do that more for big games!)
On New Yearís Day 10 years ago, Spurs beat Everton 5-2. Just when I thought history would be repeated, at least with regard to the scoreline, up popped Chelsea skipper John Terry to score his third goal in four games, and Chelseaís third goal of the day to make the score 5-3. It didnít mean a nervous closure to the game, because we Spurs fans felt twitchy at 4-1 up, 4-2 up and beyond.
It has indeed been a marvellous start to this New Year, with an excellent result against the team, against whom we have our worst Premier League record.
Mauricio Pochettino made three changes to the team, with Walker and Rose coming in at full back, and Bentaleb returning after illness. Unfortunately, he lost Ryan Mason after only 10 minutes with a pulled hamstring, and he was replaced by Dembele. Spurs had made a bright start, creating several early chances and tests for Chelsea goalkeeper Courtois. However, Fabregas was always ominous in midfield, and Diego Costa had a couple of early sniffs at goal, without testing Hugo Lloris.
Chelsea kicked off towards the Paxton Road End, in a hot atmosphere, as you would expect. Bentaleb and Eriksen combined down the left, and Chadli hit a decent low shot, held by the keeper. Kyle Walker made a great run into the area, but his cross was easily cleared by the blue shirted defence. It took three minutes for Mason to be replaced, so Spurs had only 10 men on the field. Townsend failed to read a Chadli pass down the left channel after a great passing move through the middle. After 15 minutes, Eriksen, now on the right, fed the ball to Kane, who passed inside for Chadli, who attempted a scissor kick from close range, palmed away by Courtois.
That bright start looked as if it was going to come to nought, as Chelsea scored in the 18th minute. Hazard just managed to keep the ball in play down the right touch-line, before advancing and hitting a shot across goal which rebounded off the far post. There is an argument that Costa was offside at this stage, but he was not offside when Oscar followed up, and Costa scored from close range. Chelsea gained confidence and power following their goal. Diego Costa was next providing for Oscar, whose shot passed the wrong side of Llorisís left post.
Spurs equalised with a brilliant goal from our hero Harry Kane. Harry picked up the ball towards the left touchline, making a beeline inside before hitting a great low right footer just inside Courtoisís right post.
Jose Mourinho had several gripes during and after the game. Two of these were about alleged handballs, but both were ball to hand, or accidental, call it what you will. Danny Rose made a great tackle upon Ivanovic near the bye-line in the Spurs area, and cleared. Eriksen and Chadli were having excellent games along with Kane. Eriksen put Chadli through, and his shot across the goal from the left hit the post, but he had mis-timed his run and was offside anyway.
Then things just got better and better for Spurs before half-time. Firstly, Eriksen made a break, and advanced down the right channel. Chadli made the ball, hit his shot, which beat the keeper, but rebounded off the post. Danny Rose put in quite a super-human effort to reach the rebound and fire home for 2-1. Just before the break, Spurs were correctly awarded a penalty, when Cahill caught Kane, making his usual 110% effort for the ball. Andros Townsend stepped up and hit a good shot just inside the goalkeeperís left post.
Mourinho replaced Oscar with Ramires at the interval, and within five minutes, Ramires had made it into the box, passing to Hazard on his left, who fired over.
The magic for Spurs fans looked as if it might be complete when they took a 4-1 lead. Spurs had a great passing move down the left side, with Rose to Chadli, who passed inside to Kane. Kane cut inside and picked his spot with a great low shot past Courtoisís left hand. That had to be game, set and match didnít it? Chelsea havenít conceded four goals before this season, and in fact not since August 2012 at home to Atletico Madrid. The only time Chelsea had conceded three this season was at Goodison Park, where they did win 6-3.
Spurs fans, of course, are only too aware of potential pitfalls, and when Spurs lost some of their momentum, and started to pass backwards, a mistake by Fazio let in Hazard, who ran forward with Fabregas, receiving the former Arsenal manís pass, before making it 4-2, with half an hour to go. That was close enough to make things twitchy for Spurs fans!
Andros Townsend was replaced by Paulinho, presumably in an effort to shore things up, but Chelsea were looking likely to score every time they went forward. In fairness, that statement can be applied to us, but we didnít make so much headway at the stage. Harry Kane made his usual massive effort to win a ball on the left bye-line. He did his best to do something from an impossibly sharp angle, but the ball passed clear across the goalmouth. Chadli fed Eriksen, who miscued his shot, before Chadli had another shot picked up by Courtois.
Hugo Lloris made a great save and at a key moment too, when Hazard passed to the unmarked Azpilicueta. Lloris dived low to his left and pushed the shot clear.
Now Danny Rose was replaced by the more defensively minded Ben Davies, and in no time, Spurs went 5-2 up! This time, Kane was the provider for Chadli, whose shot was deflected between Terryís legs beating the keeper to his left. This was a very satisfactory goal!
Ramires had a chance with a shot from the left which just skimmed in front of the far post. Then Hazard teed up substitute Salah, whose effort was easy for Lloris. Chelsea took a quick free kick on the right, and Terry had sauntered up un-noticed and un-marked at the back post, and had an easy finish. Somehow, the officials found 5 minutes to add on (and more), but Spurs saw out this time, with Fabregas going closest with a hot that went out of play off the near post, which Lloris had covered anyway.
Arsenal lost 2-0 at Southampton, and West Ham could only draw at home to West Brom. Spurs have gone fifth, only two points off the top four. Itís been a great Christmas, in which we have reaped 10 points. It has certainly been an excellent New Year!
COME ON YOU SPURS!
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