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Chelsea v Spurs, 02.05.16

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
MONDAY 2ND MAY, 2016
(8pm)
CHELSEA 2(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2(2)

Chelsea scorers:-
Cahill, 58
Hazard, 83

Spurs scorers:-
Kane, 35
Son, 44

Attendance:- 41,545

Referee:- Mark Clattenburg
Assistants:- S. Beck & J. Collin
Fourth official:- A. Marriner

Teams:-
Chelsea (4-2-3-1):- Begovic; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (Capt.), Azpilicueta; Mikel, Matic (sub Oscar, 78); Willian, Fabregas, Pedro (sub Hazard, 46); Diego Costa

Subs not used:- Amelia; Baba, Traore, Kenedy, Loftus-Cheek

Booked:- Willian (unsporting conduct), Ivanovic (foul on Eriksen), Mikel (unsporting conduct)

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Alderweireld (sub Chadli, 90+1), Vertonghen, Rose (sub Davies, 82); Dier, Dembele; Eriksen, Son (sub Mason, 65), Lamela; Kane

Subs not used:- Vorm; Wimmer; Carroll; N'Jie

Booked:- Walker (foul on Pedro); Vertonghen, Rose (foul on Willian), Lamela (foul on Fabregas), Eriksen (foul on Hazard), Dier (foul on Hazard), Kane (foul on Willian), Dembele, Mason (foul on Hazard)

Spurs' hold on history snatched away

It was a match that had it all. There was venom on and off the pitch at a venue where Spurs players and fans hate to go, and where the wait for an away victory goes on another year. Spurs took a deserved two goal first half lead, only for Chelsea to probably play their best and most aggressive football of the whole season in the second half in which Spurs conceded two goals, two points, and of course the Premier League title to Leicester.

One team in blue was the winner tonight, and their tale will be told time after time in years to come. That is, of course, Claudio Ranieri's Leicester, and the celebrations in the East Midlands will go on long into the night and weeks to come.

As we entered added time tonight, Chelsea fans were only too happy to chant the name of Leicester as champions, and their former manager. They were only too happy to gloat at Spurs' failure, although the title has never been ours to lose. In recent months we became genuine challengers, but we were always chasers, not leaders. We were honourably the last contenders other than Leicester City.

There were many talking points tonight, some of which will have been seen more clearly by TV viewers. In particular, Mousa Dembele could be in trouble for poking or attempting to poke Diego Costa in the eye. It is possible that referee Mark Clattenburg's assistant did see what took place, but no direct action was taken on the night. Dembele may face subsequent investigation and action.

Spurs will also surely be fined, because no less than nine of their players were booked. Chelsea also had three bookings, and Mr. Clattenburg tried hard for quite a while to avoid showing his cards.

Chelsea's ground is a terrible place to visit for away fans, whose entry is delayed greatly by security measures that do not seem to apply to the home fans, happy to pass abuse on their seemingly unimpeded way to the turnstiles.

The atmosphere was hot on both sides. We were pleased to see that Eric Dier was okay to start, whilst it was Son Heung-min who got the suspended Dele Alli's place. Son played between Eriksen on the right and Lamela on the left of the midfield three. That said, each had freedom of movement left and right.

For Chelsea, their natural leader John Terry made an appearance, and I imagine he had something to say at half-time along with Guus Hiddink.

Chelsea won the toss and kicked off, and they also turned round Tottenham, who played towards their fans in the first half. From the start, I would describe this as the hardest fought game of the season for Spurs, and probably by Chelsea.

Chelsea won a corner after three minutes. Fabregas crossed and Gary Cahill headed wide. There was an early spat between Dembele and Mikel, but this was one of those occasions when the ref had "words". After 10 minutes and a Spurs throw on the right, the ball was worked across to Danny Rose at the back of the area. Danny hit a nice left foot shot just over Begovic's top left corner. Rose was then subject to more advice from the referee after a challenge with Willian. Next up for such advice was Ivanovic after he chopped down Danny Rose.

There was lots of needle, and Diego Costa did not enamour himself with Spurs fans when he ran back to Chelsea's half challenging Mr Clattenburg over his lack of action against Kyle Walker over a nothing foul near the Chelsea corner flag.(In fact Walker had followed up with a gentle kick of Pedro's leg)

Spurs defended well against Ivanovic who had advanced onto Pedro's ball. After 23 minutes, Harry Kane was fouled by Cahill (words), but the referee allowed play to continue with Eriksen taking on responsibility and giving Son a chance on goal. Son won a corner. Mr. Clattenburg allowed play-on at the other end after Walker had fouled Pedro. The ball reached Fabregas beyond the far post, and he fired wide back across the goalmouth. Walker got the first booking of the game.

Son had another chance, and this was a good one, after Lamela managed to squeeze the ball forward despite being fouled. Surely, this was Son's moment to score, but he hit a left footed shot wide. Dembele was fouled some 30 yards out and Harry Kane tried a free kick, hitting a decent effort just over Begovic's bar.

After what looked like a slip-up by Walker at the other end, Diego Costa got away and forced a good save from Lloris, who tipped over the shot for a corner.

Then Spurs took a dramatic lead. I think it was Dier who passed forward to Lamela, who again managed to find his man with a diagonal pass whilst under pressure. Harry Kane was the gleeful recipient and he rounded Begovic before finishing off in font of the ecstatic travelling support.

After a great passing move by Spurs from their own half, Walker crossed from the right and Lamela's attempt was saved by Begovic. The ball fell to Son who failed again to take advantage. However, Son did get a goal just before the break. Lamela had been involved again, but it was Eriksen's delightful pass that put Son in the clear. He beat Begovic to his left with a right-footed shot.

There was a melee near the dug-outs just before the break, which is when the Dembele incident took place.

Many Spurs fans stayed in front of their seats and chanted vociferously for much of the interval, giving voice to the Dele Alli song.

When they came out, Chelsea replaced Pedro with the man who had last week vented anti-Spurs comments - Eden Hazard. Hazard played on the left, and the plan seemed to be to target Kyle Walker. Chelsea also stretched the play left and right putting the Spurs defenders under pressure, and creating space too often for comfort.

Spurs had an early corner from the left, and Kane had a header which Begovic saved comfortably. After a free kick had been taken quickly on the left and sent to Lamela, Erik fed the ball to Kane ahead of him on the left. Kane fired low, but the keeper saved.

After Son lost the ball needlessly in the middle, Hazard got inside Walker and just inside the box. His attempt to shoot across Hugo Lloris was saved by our captain. At the other end, Harry Kane hit a pass from the right across the field to Danny Rose. Rose fed the ball to Son who fired outside the right post.

Danny Rose needed some treatment after this incident, but had recovered when Chelsea got a goal back in the 58th minute. It came from a corner, perhaps rather weakly conceded by Toby Alderweireld against Costa, and when the ball came into the middle, Cahill found himself in too much space with time to pick his shot to the right of Lloris.

Three minutes later Lloris had to be sharp to save from Willian who had received a pass from Costa, as Chelsea played that defence-stretching game again.

Son was replaced by Ryan Mason, who played with the midfield three. Following a second Spurs corner, Vertonghen crossed the ball towards the back post from deep on the right, and his central defender partner Alderweireld had an attempt held.

The bookings were starting to come thick and fast now, as tempers frayed. After a booking for Eriksen and a free kick, Ivanovic headed over. Hazard gave us more danger after receiving from Willian, before hitting a shot which was deflected out for a corner.

With 15 minutes left Toby Alderweireld hit one of his trademark balls for Kyle Walker to chase. Walker crossed and both Mason and Eriksen had attempts on goal which might have gone better for Spurs. Eriksen's shot did win a corner. Lamela chased a Lloris clearance and got the ball to Kane who fired across the goal.

Kane seemed to be sandwiched when heading for the Chelsea penalty area, but got nothing from the referee. In the resulting counter-attack, Costa got the ball to Hazard on his left, and Hazard scored with a shot across Lloris to the far post. The Belgian was happy to wind up Spurs fans as well with his celebrations.

Things seemed to get even more fraught and even theatrical in the closing stages. Fabregas seemed to go to a delayed roll on the pitch in agony, claiming to have been stamped up by Lamela. The referee took no action here.

Alderweireld won a goal kick when defending against Costa, who seemed to get one of his "nibbles" in. (I don't mean with his teeth here) Costa wanted a corner, and failed. Toby Alderweireld came off worse physically, and had to be replaced by Chadli, with Dier moving back. Danny Rose had also been replaced by Ben Davies, and Spurs might have an injury list to deal with for Sunday's game against Southampton.

There were six minutes of added time, but Spurs were flagging now, and on the defensive for most of that time. Pubs, clubs and streets in Leicester no doubt celebrated with gusto.

With Man City hosting Arsenal next week-end, the point gained tonight does secure top three for Spurs, but a win on Sunday will secure second place, and a place above Arsenal, and at the top of the "London league"

It was always a big ask for Spurs to pip Leicester in this run-in. There is no question the players gave their all tonight, and that they deserve great credit for a great season, giving us Champions League football next season.

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