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Spurs v Chelsea, 24.11.18

(5.30pm – at Wembley)

Spurs scorers:-
Dele, 8
Kane, 16
Son, 54

Chelsea scorer:-
Giroud, 85

Attendance:- 55,465

Referee:- Martin Atkinson
Assistants:- Stephen Child, Lee Betts
Fourth official:- Stuart Attwell

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Aurier, Foyth, Alderweireld, Davies; Sissoko, Dier; Eriksen, Dele (sub Winks, 87), Son (sub Lamela, 78); Kane

Subs not used:- Gazzaniga; Vertonghen, Walker-Peters; Llorente, Lucas Moura

No bookings

Chelsea (4-3-3):- Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta (Capt.), Rudiger, David Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic (sub Barkley, 58); Willian (sub Giroud, 76), Morata (sub Pedro, 58), Hazard

Subs not used:- Caballero; Zappacosta, Christensen; Fabregas

Booked:- Rudiger (foul on Kane), Hazard (foul on Davies), Jorginho (foul on Dele)

Magnificent double win for Spurs!

Not only was this the first time Spurs have beaten Chelsea twice in the same calendar year since 1967; this was our second consecutive 3-1 win over a team we struggled to beat in League games at home or away for so many years. This was also the first time we have beaten them in consecutive games since a 2-0 away win in December 1986, followed by a 1-0 home win the following August. This was simply a magnificent team performance, and arguably could – even should – have been by an even wider margin, such was the ferocity of the Spurs attacks upon the Chelsea goal, particularly in the first half. In that first half we saw a great flicked header by Dele Alli, and a 25 yard shot for which Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga never even saw, let alone moved. These goals were capped by Son Heung-min’s fantastic run from the halfway line and a brilliant finish. Chelsea substitute Giroud did score what was a consolation goal five minutes from the end, and Spurs did have a few scares during the game, which were either defended well, or saved by Hugo Lloris, but this was a thoroughly deserved Tottenham win which takes them above Chelsea into third place. The win for Spurs also ended Chelsea’s 18 match unbeaten run since the start of the season.

The good news we had this week of Jan Vertonghen’s return to training was not cemented by a start for last season’s player of the year, but Juan Foyth once again performed well, and “Super” Jan will be required for next Wednesday’s crucial Champions League game against Inter for which Foyth is illegible, having been excluded from Pochettino’s 25 man squad for this phase. Moussa Sissoko played beside Eric Dier in front of the defence and is a true contender for the man of the match vote. Sissoko’s chant was heard regularly throughout the game, as he impressed with his tackles, passing and ball carrying skills. Some great Sissoko play preceded Harry Kane’s goal, before Moussa switched that play from the right to the left of the field. As I write, Sissoko, and the three goalscorers are battling it out for the final man of the match vote.

Son, of course, was fresh as a daisy, having been excused International duties over the last fortnight as a result of a deal struck by the club when releasing the South Korean for the Asian Games early in the season. Lucas Moura was excluded from the Premier League starting line-up for the first time this season. Perhaps Son’s selection was Pochettino’s master stroke in this game, although Son was only one of eleven players showing the energy, skill and determination which led to our success. Son frustrated until he scored, as he had a number of chances from which he should have scored earlier.

Spurs kicked off and played towards the East Stand, winning two corners in the first minute. After the second, Eriksen crossed and Eric Dier’s header was too high. Dele Alli chased a lofted ball by Ben Davies, but goalkeeper Arrizabalaga got there first. Spurs won a free kick out on the left, sent by Eriksen to Aurier, who in turn fed Son. Son crossed and Harry Kane rose to meet the ball but the goalkeeper saved just under his bar.

Spurs had made a bright start, but Chelsea soon showed the threat they carried as Willian crossed but Morata glanced his shot wide of Lloris’s right post. Harry Kane was fouled by David Luiz out on the right and Eriksen swung in the free kick from which Dele Alli flicked a header across the goal and beat the goalkeeper, although Arrizabalaga did get a hand to the ball. It was Dele’s sixth goal against Chelsea in the last five meetings!

Some great Spurs football from the back preceded a great chance for Son, who had been involved earlier in the move towards the right. By the end of the play he was on the left of Chelsea’s area, receiving a chipped pass from Eriksen before firing over with the goal at his mercy. More danger followed from Hazard and Morata, but Spurs defended well. Dele Alli threaded a nice ball to Son, who advanced on the right side of the area, and hit a low shot which Kepa Arrizabalaga saved with his feet. Hazard wanted a penalty when he was arguably clattered by Foyth, but referee Martin Atkinson waved his appeal away. Son was in the box again, this time fed by Kane but between David Luiz and the goalkeeper, this effort was stymied.

Harry Kane’s goal followed a short passage of play down the left, after that excellent work out of defence by Sissoko. Eriksen made the final pass, and Kane was at least 25 yards away. Replays show that David Luiz actually moved out of the way of the ball, having perhaps unsighted his goalkeeper, who was flat footed. Kane’s shot beat him well to his right and Spurs had a two goal lead! Spurs harried Chelsea after they kicked off following the goal. They were pressing the yellow shirted opposition everywhere on the pitch. Another attack ended with an Eriksen ball and another Kane header, saved by Kepa to his right. Rudiger got the first yellow of the game for s foul on Kane.

After 19 minutes, Willian got the better of Davies, but his shot wide across the goalmouth. Seven minutes later Azpilicueta crossed from the right and Morata’s near post effort was saved by Lloris, but offside anyway. After a Spurs scorner on the right, Eriksen crossed and it was Toby Alderweireld who got touch which the keeper saved before Foyth’s follow-up passed just wide of the post. Spurs defended another Chelsea attack with Dele sending a delightful long ball from deep which Son took on towards the edge of the Chelsea area before hitting a left footed shot over the far corner.

Hazard hit a right footed shot from 22 yards which Lloris pushed out to his left for a corner, before at the other end Mr. Atkinson settled for “words” with Jorginho over another foul on Kane, deeming the clash to be a “coming together” rather than malicious, but still a foul. Hazard wanted another penalty when Sissoko collided with him from behind, but again Mr. Atkinson was on our side. This makes a change from a referee who “invented” a Chelsea goal in a semi-final game a few years back! Son had yet another shot saved after Eriksen’s cut back in added time, and the frustrated Hazard saw yellow for his challenge upon Ben Davies.

Glenn Hoddle must have been rubbing his hands with glee as he watched at home, where he is recuperating after major heart surgery. Hoddle had predicted a Spurs win. Another player with Spurs in his blood but who has also played for Chelsea is Graham Roberts, who was interviewed at half-time.

Chelsea had a free kick five minutes into the second half, taken by Willian from the left. Alonso’s effort from the back post was cleared to the feet of Kovacic who skied his shot. Chelsea won a corner from Willian’s deflected shot after a cross by Alonso who took merciless stick all night from the home fans. Nothing came of the corner, but Son’s superb solo goal followed Dele Alli’s ball from his own half. Son actually took the ball on at the half-way line and raced down the right flank leaving Jorginho in his wake, before cutting inside and passing the hapless David Luiz as he progressed inside the box. Jorginho could do nothing as “Sonny” beat Kepa with a delightful final left footed shot. What a goal!

There was still a long way to go, but now I was thinking we had not seen such a margin over Chelsea since the Worthington Cup semi-final of 2002. Even the 5-3 of New Year’s Day 2015 was a two goal margin. Things did not stay at 3-0 of course, but it was such a great feeling.

Maurizio Sarri made a double substitution with Pedro and Barkley replacing Morata and Kovacic. Giroud, who had not scored a Premier League goal so far this season, would follow. Spurs had yet another great chance after 67 minutes. Son pushed the ball out to Sissoko on the right. Sissoko crossed low and Harry Kane managed to scoop his shot over the bar, when again the goal was at Spurs’ mercy. Spurs attacked two minutes later through Sissoko, Kane and Dele. Kane fed Dele finally, before he fired wide.

With 12 minutes to go, Spurs fans rang out the “Hey Jude” chant, which I don’t particularly like. The Chelsea contingent had not thinned out noticeably at this stage. Spurs made a break from the half way line with Kane released for a run which ended with a low shot, saved comfortably by Arrizabalaga. Chelsea’s consolation goal came Azpilicueta’s cross and Giroud’s downward header into the net inside Lloris’s left post. They did have another chance when Barkley crossed from the left and Pedro fired over, but Spurs managed the game from here on, and the away fans did exit more rapidly.

This was a magnificent win for Spurs, whose football was more direct than often seen, with Chelsea taken by surprise by the degree of pressure put upon them everywhere. Long may such form continue. Talk Sport’s Adrian Durham apparently said that “Spurs fans must be bricking it” over their next three games. On the contrary Mr Durham (for whom I have unrepeatable names). Spurs next two opponents – Inter and Arsenal – must be “bricking it” as you say.


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