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Chelsea v Spurs, 14.08.22


Chelsea scorers:-
Koulibaly, 19
James, 77

Spurs scorers:-
Hojbjerg, 68
Kane, 90+6

Attendance:- 39,946

Referee:- Anthony Taylor
Assistants:- Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn
Fourth official:- Peter Bankes
VAR:- Mike Dean
Assistant VAR:- Mark Scholes

Chelsea (3-4-3):- Mendy; James, Thiago Silva, Koulibaly; James, Kante (sub Gallagher, 84), Jorginho (Capt.) (sub Azpilicueta, 73), Cucurella; Havertz (sub Broja, 90), Sterling (sub Pulisic, 85), Mount (Armband to Azpilicueta) Subs not used:- Arrizabalaga; Chalobah, Chilwell; Hudson-Odoi, Ziyech

Booked:- James (foul on Son), Mendy (time), Havertz (unsporting conduct after foul on Romero)

Spurs (3-4-3):- Lloris (Capt.); Romero, Dier, Davies; Emerson Royal (sub Lucas Moura,82), Hojbjerg, Bentancur (sub Bissouma, 79), Sessegnon (sub Richarlison, 57); Kulusevski, Kane, Son (sub Perisic,79)

Subs not used:- Forster; Tanganga, Sanchez; Doherty, Gil

No bookings

Kane snatches late point in another feisty derby

How it began

Thanks to Andy Park for the picture

In a sensational end to yet another feisty battle at Stamford Bridge, and after a series of added time corners, Harry Kane rose in the 6-yard box and glanced Perisic’s corner into the net across Mendy. The goal was scored at the Spurs end and initially it wasn’t clear who had scored especially when another sub – Richarlison raced to embrace the front row fans. Kane joined them and it turned out it was his goal – his first league goal of the season.

Such a happy scene could not be envisaged, especially after a first half in which we had been outplayed and Thomas Tuchel had won the strategic battle of the coaches. There were two more physical encounters between Tuchel and the ever-passionate Antonio Conte, firstly after Spurs’ first equaliser (scored by Hojbjerg) and then at the final whistle. Both coaches were shown yellow cards after the first incident and a red card at the end of the game by referee Anthony Taylor. The temperature was as hot as the mood!

Tuchel chose to match Spurs 3-4-3 style, stating he wanted to match the threat of pace of our wing-backs. There were home debuts for new singings Koulibaly, Cucurella and Sterling. Conte kept faith with the team which started against Southampton. Chelsea were facing a former manager for the second successive game.

Chelsea kicked off playing towards the Shed End. Kulusevski broke up an early attack and sent a good ball to Son, but that attack fizzled out. Harry Kane won a free kick out on the right. Son took this kick but hit it too hard and too high over Mendy’s goal. In a deceptively bright start for Spurs, Hojbjerg intercepted the ball in midfield and passed forward to Kane. Kane fed Son, whose shot was blocked. Kane passed to Emerson who got to the bye-line but hit his cross straight into Mendy’s arms.

Bentancur was showing strength against Loftus-Cheek, who was Chelsea’s right wing-back. Referee Anthony Taylor was allowing a lot of physicality, which would cause joy and suffering for Spurs – perhaps not in equal measure.

Chelsea soon dominated. Their main strategy seemed to be to attack down Spurs’ left flank where Ryan Sessegnon suffered, and Son did not seem to be able to cope with the physical challenges offered. Bentancur too showed signs of imperfection under the Chelsea pressure. Spurs also persisted and generally failed to successfully play out of their own half, too often choosing that left side.

A Kante cross passed through the danger zone and beyond the area. Romero headed clear a cross by James, who was also advancing, despite his right-side centre-back position. Emerson cleared up after Bentancur missed a challenge on Kante. Koulibaly hit a shot wide after more Chelsea pressure. After one of Spurs’ failures to play out, Kante got to the bye-line and cut the ball back for Havertz, whose shot was saved by Hugo’s legs.

Chelsea’s pressure was rewarded with a goal, but that came from an unexpected source. Cucurella’s kick from the left reached centre-back Koulibaly who had space towards the back of the box. The beefy Senegalese player thumped home a volley with the outside of his right foot.

Spurs’ response was to hit a long ball to Sessegnon who did force a save from Mendy, but then there was probably an offside, although Mendy took a goal kick. Koulibaly had another chance from another corner but hooked this shot over. There was a drinks break and I hope the fact Spurs were not winning their battles was discussed.

Hojbjerg blocked a shot by Raheem Sterling. Kulusevski did get Emerson forward, but again he crossed into the arms of Mendy. Mount began another Chelsea attack with long ball to Sterling, and subsequently hit a right foot shot over the target. James was booked for pulling back Son as he threatened to break clear. Loftus-Cheek just failed to get his head to a good ball by Jorginho and Spurs went into the break grateful to only be one down.

I wanted to see Perisic and Richarlison on for Sessegnon and Son, but there were no immediate changes although these two were seen warming up along with Bissouma. Tuchel eyed this activity and pondered the potential changes to Conte’s strategy.

Spurs kicked off and after an early attack by Loftus-Cheek and Havertz, Spurs got forward with more purpose. Kane hit a ball to Son towards the left of goal, but Son could get no strength on his shot. Emerson was given no free kick when he came off worse in a challenge by Cucurella. Ben Davies committed a stupid foul on Loftus-Cheek who was in amore advanced position, but James’ free kick was cleared.

Lloris tipped over a long cross/shot by Mount and Chelsea had a seventh corner. Spurs had none at this point. Richarlison was our first sub, coming on for Sessegnon. Spurs reverted to a back four with Ben Davies moving to the left back position. We would pay for this change.

Emerson had been quite strong and impressive at the back, but his crossing was poor, as demonstrated by an over-hit effort as the hour mark approached. Two shots by Loftus-Cheek were blocked before Sterling hit a good chance well over the target. Kane had a massive chance, and for him, a poor effort when he was sent a good pass by Hojbjerg but scuffed is shot a little and pulled it wide of Mendy’s right post.

Referees have been ordered to be stricter with keepers regarding taking too much time and Mendy was shown a yellow when he tried to slow the game down too much. Spurs won their first corners, both taken by Son, but they came to nothing in the way of a chance. Emerson covered well sprinting across to the left flank as Chelsea countered swiftly.

Spurs equalised in the 68th minute. Chelsea were aggravated because they felt that Havertz had been fouled by Bentancur in the Spurs half. As had been consistent for Mr. Taylor, he showed no interest in a free kick and play continued. The goal came too long after that incident but was scored from 22 yards by Hojbjerg with a well-directed right foot shot after Davies had teed him up.

Spurs were back in the game, but there were melees on and off the pitch. Chelsea also protested that Richarlison had been offside when Hojbjerg hit his shot, but he was not interfering with play and VAR allowed the goal. Conte upset the Chelsea bench with his celebrations in their direction and both coaches were booked. There was a drinks break to allow tempers to cool.

After the drinks break Jorginho (who had made a mistake in the build-up to the Spurs goal) was replaced by Azpilicueta who also took the captain’s armband. James made a good run and crossed to Havertz who was in space but put his left foot shot wide. Tuchel shook his head, and probably thought “Oh for a striker”

I was livid when Chelsea regained the lead in the 77th minute. The ball had been passed inside from the left and finally by Sterling to James who had acres of space because Davies was in a centre-back position and not at left back. James slammed home his shot and it looked like being the same old story of defeat at The Bridge.

Now Conte brought on Perisic for Son and Bissouma for Bentancur, and we had a back three again. Lucas Moura soon replaced Emerson too. Kante fell badly and was injured. He was replaced by Gallagher, who had such a successful loan at Crystal Palace last season. Pulisic also replaced Sterling. Havertz put an excellent chance wide after the ball had been crossed from the right with a final pass by Gallagher. This had been a chance to kill the game. Havertz was so frustrated about his miss, and his previous encounter with Bentancur and he was replaced by Broja, who also spent last season out on loan.

There were six minutes of added time. I am pleased to report these were dominated by Spurs. Bissouma had a shot deflected wide after a free kick from the left by Perisic. Mendy tipped the ball over the bar when both Davies and Dier had challenged and probably both got headed touches on the ball. Perisic was taking corners now, and Kane’s massive equaliser followed a corner from the right to cue those celebrations.

How it ended

Thanks to Greg Smith for the picture

As I have viewed the TV coverage, I can tell you that at the final whistle Antonio Conte proffered and shook his hand with Tuchel, but the deeply upset Chelsea coach would not release his grip upon Conte’s hand which led to more upset. Tuchel had also run down the line past the Spurs bench when celebrating James’ goal and could have been punished for that breach of rules.

In the circumstances this was such a massive point for Tottenham who remain above Chelsea and unbeaten after two games. Next week’s Saturday lunchtime game against Wolves should be less fiery!

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