SUNDAY 23RD JANUARY, 2022
CHELSEA 2(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0(0)
Thiago Silva, 55
Referee:- Paul Tierney
Assistants:- Lee Betts, Constantine Hatzidakis
Fourth official:- Andy Madley
VAR:- Darren England
Assistant VAR:- Adam Nunn
Chelsea (4-2-3-1):- Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta (Capt.), Rudiger, Thiago Silva, Sarr; Kovacic, Jorginho (sub Kante, 73); Mount, Ziyech (sub Saul, 90+1), Hudson-Odoi (sub Alonso, 87); Lukaku
Subs not used:- Bettinelli; Chalobah; Barkley; Pulisic, Werner, Havertz
Booked:- Thiago Silva (foul on Bergwijn), Jorginho (foul on Bergwijn)
Spurs (4-4-2):- Lloris (Capt.); Tanganga (sub Skipp, 57), Dier, Sanchez, Davies; Doherty, Winks (sub Gil, 89), Hojbjerg, Sessegnon (sub Lucas Moura, 56); Kane, Bergwijn
Subs not used:- Gollini; Reguilon, Rodon, Emerson Royal; White; Scarlett
Booked:- Tanganga (foul on Hudson-Odoi)
“Tottenham Hotspur – It’s happened again”
Thanks to Stuart Gibson for this image
That is just one of the taunts thrown at us by Chelsea fans, and other teams. I can’t believe that Thomas Tuchel is the first Chelsea manager to beat us in five consecutive games in the Premier league era, bearing in mind the supremacy this team has had over us for 30 years now. It will happen again and again until we build a squad that can truly compete with Chelsea and the other two teams who regularly compete for the title. I feel I made such a good decision not to travel to this game, and I am not sure when I will bother to go to Stamford Bridge again. Not only have Chelsea beaten us in five consecutive games, but we have failed to even score a goal in any of those matches. Even Brighton managed to score at home and away against Chelsea this season
I can tell you that the pre-match hospitality offered at my abode was nothing less than superb!
Antonio Conte alluded to problems with certain players before the game, and we don’t know precisely what those were. Dele Alli and Lo Celso were absent from the 18-man squad, and it is now usual for Tanguy Ndombele to be missing. Conte’s team selection had everyone, including Thomas Tuchel baffled as to what would be the Spurs formation. It turned out to be a 4-4-2 with Doherty and Sessegnon either side of Winks and Hojbjerg. Kane was accompanied by Bergwijn up front, but the ball rarely got that far. Conte had clearly set out not to lose this game and it could have been a Mourinho back 6. Our manager suffered his first Premier League defeat but apart from a disallowed goal towards the end of the first half we rarely threatened Chelsea. Our back eight struggled against the unrelenting waves of attack by almost the entire Chelsea team, again full of more running and movement than Spurs. It is sorely depressing.
Spurs kicked off – backwards of course – and within the first minute Mason Mount crossed from the right and Lukaku hooked a shot well over the bar. Hudson-Odoi headed wide after three minutes from a cross by Ziyech, who will always be sore at Spurs over defeat in Amsterdam three years ago. Ziyech himself had a shot deflected for the first of many Chelsea corners. Sessegnon conceded a rather needless corner after 8 minutes (because he didn’t have the confidence to control, turn and clear) and 37-year-old Thiago Silva headed over.
At least the travelling fans were trying hard, urging their team on with their constant chanting in the early stages.
Hugo Lloris, who signed a new contract this week and was making his 396th club appearance saved a left foot shot by Ziyech after 11 minutes. The shot was curled in from 22 yards. I wonder if Hugo will see us win a game against Chelsea before his contract expires in 2024.
At last Spurs mustered a decent attack. This came when Harry Kane was in midfield on the right and battled to win the ball, passing inside to Harry Winks on the advance. Winks’ left foot shot was on target but all too easy for Arrizabalaga in the Chelsea goal.
VAR spent some time reviewing a Doherty challenge upon Chelsea left back Malang Sarr. The Spurs man trod on Sarr’s foot when following through on his challenge. VAR decreed rightly this was not serious foul play. Sarr needed treatment and limped off but was able to continue. Mason Mount barged Tanganga out of the way and down the touchline embankment when the ball was going out for a throw-in. There was no offence there either in the eyes of the officials.
Thiago was booked for cynically ending Bergwijn’s break out of the Spurs half into Chelsea territory. Winks took the free kick, and this went backwards. Conte has not eradicated this Spurs obsession with negative play.
Lukaku had an air-kick in the centre of the area and missed Mason Mount’s cross. Spurs did have to defend several corners around tis time. Tanganga was booked for his foul on Hudson-Odoi and had to be careful as he was never comfortable in that position. I think a 3-5-2 as deployed at Leicester would have worked better for us.
Hojbjerg did send Sessegnon away down the left but his shot (if it was such) nearly reached the far corner flag. Sessegnon did much better in the 40th minute, crossing accurately to Kane’s feet. Harry put the ball in the net, but referee Paul Tierney decided he had shoved Thiago and VAR did not intervene with the referee’s decision. Having seen a replay which showed the referee putting his whistle to his mouth as the ball it the net, VAR should surely have been involved here. After all, Spurs do need all the help they can get.
Chelsea fans and the players were calling for a foul and no doubt a second yellow against Tanganga for another challenge on Hudson-Odoi, but the referee did not succumb. Lukaku had a shot blocked by Dier and Thiago headed another corner over the target. We were at least level at half-time.
The second half was slightly delayed as there was a hole in Lloris’s side netting, and needed repair. Within two minutes Chelsea had the lead. Part of the reason was that Tanganga had to shy away from a proper challenge on Hudson-Odoi. The other part of the reason was that Ziyech received Hudson-Odoi’s pass and scored a left foot shot inside Hugo’s right-hand post. Ziyech soon had another shot. This was straighter with more power, but well saved by Hugo. It came after Azpilicueta passed inside to Mount who teed up Ziyech.
Mount had a shot go just over the bar after he received from Hudson-Odoi. Eric Dier was deemed to have fouled Hudson-Odoi out towards the Chelsea left flank. It did look a soft foul, but Mr. Tierney awarded a free kick which was swung in by Mount and headed home by Thiago.
Conte had wanted to make substitutions before the second goal, but he had to wait before Sessegnon was replaced by Lucas Moura and Skipp came on for Tanganga. Doherty moved to right back. Now they were two goals up, Chelsea fans regaled us with their “It’s happening again” chant. It was all too true, of course.
Harry Kane crossed from the right and the ball was half-cleared to Skipp whose pass reached Bergwijn. Steven tried a shot but did not get enough strength in the attempt which was comfortably saved. Ziyech had another shot at goal, this time with his weaker right foot. Lloris held the ball cleanly. Lukaku went one-on-one with Lloris having got the better of Sanchez, but Hugo saved the left foot shot.
At the other end, Skipp found Doherty, but his shot was blocked, and we had a corner. Spurs had a couple of corners and after the second Hojbjerg passed to Doherty, who fired wide, but was probably offside anyway. Chelsea began to play keep-ball and the “Oles” rang out. Azpilicueta constantly gets up and down the pitch and hit the side netting at the end of this team move.
Bergwijn got a touch to another Kane pass, but this was easy for Arrizabalaga. (Some say Kepa, but my spellchecker helps me out here!) Spurs had a corner on the right and Kane hit a powerful header, but the goalkeeper saved well, siding into his left post after making the save. That was the last piece of significant action.
Spurs have had a couple of significant successes against Chelsea in January. One of these was a 5-1 League Cup semi-final win 20 years ago to the day. The other came on New Year’s Day 2015 when we won 5-3. Both those games were at White Hart Lane. The only away win was on April Fools’ Day 2018. I fear we will be Chelsea’s fools for the foreseeable future. That makes me sick.
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