|DATE||Thursday 1st January 2015|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
You've been looking forward to the start of a New Year for ages.
Put 2015 behind you and start afresh, but then the Premier League
computer that organises the fixtures at random (Oh, yeah !!) gives
us a home game against Chelsea in the early evening. Thanks
for that. An New Year optimism will quickly be dispelled as
Spurs face a side who they invariably do not win against.
But wait. The new manager's tactics appear to be coming to fruition as the players reap the benefits of his training sessions. Yes, we lost 0-3 away earlier this season, but we are whittling down the margin of defeat and maybe there will be a chance to put a stick in the spokes of the Blues runaway bicycle ride that has gone to the top of the table. Losing to Newcastle would never have been on Jose Mourinho's agenda and draws with Sunderland and Southampton were not in his planning either. Pochettino has been shaping the Spurs team into a unit that he is happy with and the way that they are playing is a blend of hard work and attacking play which the best teams base their game on.
Chelsea are a squad packed full of expensive talents and while Jose might take the opportunity to rotate some of his players, he will put out a virtual first choice XI, as this is one game he will really want to win. It may not rate as a must win game in the way games against the Manchester clubs and Arsenal might, but he knows that a victory will be integral to the morale of the side.
Conversely, Tottenham will be looking to continue their good run of results, with the two midfielders in front of the back four (Mason and Bentaleb ?) performing a vital function in making it hard for the opposition to get through, but also as a springboard to launch moves going forward. The amount of running players are putting in for Tottenham now should make the other team's task harder, but intelligent running off the ball, as well as tracking back when you haven't got it, will make the opposition work even harder.
With the side looking to move up a gear in the second half of the season, one key to that will be making the most of the chances they create. This will be especially true against Chelsea, who have a good defensive record and will be looking to lock out Spurs, but there will be openings, which Tottenham will have to take as clinically as the Chelsea players have done so far this season.
If all goes well Spurs could
come out of the match with a point, but if Chelsea put 100% into it,
they might return West with all three. I'm going for a
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 1 Chelsea 1|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Spurs have no new injury worries, but may make some changes with Kyle Walker and Erik Lamela restored to the starting line-up. Nabil Bentaleb has recovered from illness that ruled him out of the match against Manchester United.
CHELSEA TEAM NEWS :
Jose Mourinho might make changes of personnel in his side, but with this being a game that they traditionally think they should win, I imagine a full strength side will be fielded.
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
Tottenham Hotspur 5 (3) Chelsea
Thursday 1st January 2015 Kick off 17:30
White Hart Lane
Kane 30m 41s
Rose 44m 10s
Townsend (p) 45+4m 06s
Kane 52m 39s
Chadli 78m 58s
Costa 18m 01s
Hazard 61m 58s
Terry 87m 18s
Bentaleb (foul on Willian) 67
Paulinho (high kicking on Matic) 73
Kane (kicking ball away) 88m
Fabregas (foul on Vertonghen) 82
|Crowd : 35,903||Weather : Mild; slight drizzle|
|Referee : Phil Dowd (Stoke-on-Trent)||Assistant Referees : Mr. S. Child; Mr. M. Mullarkey|
|Fourth Official : Andre Marriner||-|
|Chelsea kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + minutes.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Chelsea :||kit|
Hugo LLORIS (cpt)
PAULINHO 66 )
18 Harry KANE
10 Eden HAZARD
Mohamed SALAH 72)
|Manager : Mauricio Pochettino||Manager : Jose Mourinho|
|Sponsor : AIA||Shirt sponsor : Samsung|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : Nike|
With a display of touch, power and determination, Tottenham came back from 0-1 down to thrash Chelsea 5-3 at White Hart Lane to start 2015 in stunning fashion. And the score-line could easily have been better, as Chelsea collapsed under the pressure of Pochettino's pressing game and could not cope with the inspired movement of the Spurs players.
Jose Mourinho had believed his own hype about being the target of a conspiracy when it came to referees not giving them penalties, but Chelsea got plenty of leeway when it came to escaping punishment for the persistent fouling and dissent they displayed in this petulant performance, which saw Manchester City join them at the top of the league with exactly the same record as the Stamford Bridge outfit. Whether this serves as a catalyst to them blowing up, we can only hope so. It would be all they deserve for their particular brand of "professionalism", which goes against most of the laws of the game.
Mourinho put out a strong side, with Willian and Oscar returning to the team, while Pochettino started with Andros Townsend in for the calf-strain injured Erik Lamela, with Danny Rose somewhat surprisingly being preferred at left back and Nabil Bentaleb returning alongside Ryan Mason in the defensive midfield unit. Stambouli will have been unlucky to miss out after doing well in the United match.
The game started well for Spurs, with Rose taking the ball off Costa, who left a foot in, then Eriksen played in Chadli, whose shot brought a save from Courtois and then Walker burst into the penalty area between two defenders on our right side, but his pull back was cut out. Tottenham's impressive opening was cut short firstly by Ryan Mason's pulled hamstring which lead to him being replaced by Mousa Dembele in the 14th minute and then in the 18th by Chelsea's opening goal, against the run of play.
Spurs had a good move on our right that ended with Townsend's low cross being deflected up into the air and Nacer Chadli tried a speculative overhead kick that saw the ball cleared away following the keeper's parry. When the next move ended up with a corner, Courtois took it high above the Spurs players and despite attention from Fazio trying top stop him clearing, he kicked to their right wing where Eden Hazard was waiting. There was some debate about whether he kept the ball from going out for a throw-in, but play continued and he weaved into the area, where his low shot went past Vertonghen and Lloris, but came back out off the foot of the far post. Unfortunately for Spurs, Oscar was there to drill it back into the six yard box and with the Spurs defence not able to recover, Diego Costa was on hand a couple of feet out to stab home. The Brazilian Spanish international could have been off-side when the initial shot came in, but was on-side when he touched home and it looked like the game at the Bridge, when Spurs had done well for the first fifteen minutes, only for the match to turn against them.
During the period after the goal, Tottenham lost their composure on the bal land were giving it away with unforced errors and making fouls to give Chelsea the chance to put the ball into the area. There was little to worry Lloris, although in the 22nd minute, Costa and Oscar linked on the dead ball line and as the forward tried to play in the midfielder, the ball popped off Jan's foot and hit his hand that was already on the floor as he had gone to ground. On the side-line, Jose went mad. Conspiracy theory goes that he was the man on the grassy knoll ... oh, no. Sorry, conspiracy theory has it that referees never give his side penalties. Well, I am sure that if this hadn't been ball to hand, then it might have been a spot-kick, but as it wasn't, it wasn't.
While things weren't necessarily going Tottenham's way, they worked hard to get back and support the defence and they looked to turn the play by breaking at pace and with good ability touching the ball past the lumbering attempts to tackle by the Chelsea players. On the half hour, their hard work came to produce an equaliser. The game had been bumbling along and when Harry Kane picked up the ball near the left wing side-line, 25 yards out, there looked little danger. However, he started a run inside that took him past Oscar's lack of challenge, then he drifted past Fabregas, who didn't come close to making anything like a tackle, leaving Terry in front of Kane, but he stood his ground rather than trying to close the Spurs man down and the right foot shot that followed went past the Chelsea captain and beat Courtois' dive to his right. The ball went in just inside the post to make it 1-1 and the Spurs fans went mad.
Chelsea started to push on Tottenham's goal again, with Willian's effort deflected up into the air on the edge of the six yard box, with Hazard free to head it, but he got it all wrong and it came off one of the corners of his bonce and went well wide for a goal kick. Spurs had gained confidence from the goal and put together a move from their back line up through the midfield to Chadli, who slipped the ball past the keeper, but he had been ruled offside. Not that it mattered too much, as a couple of minutes later, Christian Eriksen ghosted past four blue shirts in midfield and slipped a pass wide of Terry for Chadli on the right to hit a low shot past Courtois. The keeper seemed too far across his near post, leaving a lot of the goal to aim for, but Nacer's shot hit the foot of the far post. It looked as though he had been unlucky again, but in ran Danny Rose, from nowhere, to bury his shot past Terry and before he was cleaned out by Cahill, which at any other time might have been a sending off. but with the ball in the net, Chelsea were punished and while Rose needed some attention before they kicked off again, he was able to continue. It was a well constructed goal, with simple running and passing opening the Pensioners defence up easily.
A minute before half-time was a good time to go ahead, but with five minutes to add on, it was still a time to keep things tight. But Tottenham never do, do they ? When a pass intended for Eriksen was intercepted by Ivanovic was pushed infield and into his own area, Kane was alert to it to get there before the lumbering Cahill, who took his ankle with Dowd pointing to the spot and Mourinho going ballistic in the Technical area (or in his case the Tetchy area). It was worrying moment for the fans, as we don't particularly have a set penalty taker, with a few player shaving missed form the spot, but Andros Townsend grabbed the ball, put it on the spot and after a delay, dispatched it past Courtois' effort to stop the ball to his left, but the spot-kick curled away from him into the very bottom corner of his goal. There was not time to restart the match and Spurs players went off down the tunnel with the decibels ringing in their ears. No doubt Chelsea would experience something similar from the "Specious One".
At half-time, Paul Miller, Mark Falco and Cliff Jones remembered Ron Henry, who passed away just after Christmas. Among the fans, there was concern about Chelsea's response to being so bad for fifteen minutes of the first half, which they did something about by bringing on Ramires for Oscar to add more bite to their midfield. But perhaps we should not have worried too much, as early on, Kane took the ball off Cahill like taking candy from a baby and charged down the left wing, with the "England" defender hanging onto him for dear life. He could not get the ball off him by fair means and Harry held him off to play the ball to Chadli, but the Belgian's cross was a little too fierce to find a Spurs head in front of goal. Cahill did a little bit better, just knocking the ball away from Christian Eriksen as he dribbled the ball into the penalty area.
Ramires did make a difference, as his rampage through a couple of tackles approaching the area saw the ball fall for Hazard to take aim and with little back lift, he fired a shot in on goal that flew just over the bar. What Ramires wasn't doing was adding to the defensive approach in midfield, as Nabil Bentlaeb won the ball on the halfway line and played the ball to his left, where Nacer Chadli was hugging the touchline. The big Belgian took the ball on and waited until he was level with the 18 yard line, then played a pass inside to Kane. Now brimming with confidence, he turned Matic on the edge of the box, waited as Terry lunged forward to tackle and shot through the desperate centre-half's legs and beat Coutois as the shot went across him and into the bottom corner of the net, thanks to a touch from Terry on the way.
4-1. And while not quite dreamland, as there were 38 minutes left to play, it was an amazing turnaround from conceding a goal to Costa at that same end in the first half. Chelsea's players looked downcast, but this time there was nobody to blame but themselves (although I was sure that wouldn't stop Mourinho).
Chelsea had a couple of free-kicks in the Spurs half, but Fabregas's delivery was shocking on both of them. However, they did pull a goal back thanks to Tottenham's generosity. Fazio brought the ball out of defence and got to the centre circle before he ran out of options to lay the ball off, leaving Hazard to take possession from him. The Blues midfielder ran forward with the ball, exchanged passes with Fabregas on the edge and drove an early shot to Lloris' left before he cold move and it was 4-2. At this point, I expected a full out assault to get back into the match by the opposition.
While Bentaleb was booked for a foul on Willian, which was a joke compared to what Chelsea had (and were to) get away with, that pressure didn't materialise. Spurs brought on Paulinho for Townsend and the Brazilian put in a good cameo, showing what he can be capable of. It was his chipped pass into the box to the left of the goal that saw Harry control the ball skilfully and as Courtois had committed himself, the striker played the ball across the face of goal, but a little too far ahead of Eriksen who was coming in. Mourinho was on his feet again soon after, as Bentleb tried a 25 yard volley that went sideways instead of at goal, leaving Ramires to play the ball forward for Hazard to run at goal. As Fazio came in to tackle, the Belgian hit the ground outside the box, but the Argentine defender had won the ball, but that didn't stop the Chelsea manager ranting at the fourth official, wanting Federico sent off. How embarrassing !!
Chadli was getting great joy against Ivanovic, putting in crosses and coming inside the full back to curl a low shot that Courtois had to dive to his left to save. Chelsea tried to replicate this by substituting Willian and bringing on speedy winger Mohamed Salah, who we know from playing Basel in the Europa League a few seasons back. However, the danger came from the other flank, where Azpilicueta was found in space by Hazard and the left back's low drive across Lloris was kept out by a good diving stop from the Spurs keeper. At 4-2 it was a vital save, as the last fifteen minutes could have been very nervy if that shot had gone in. The loose ball had been cleared from in front of goal by Danny Rose, who made way for Ben Davies.
Amidst the substitution and the save by Hugo, Spurs gained possession once more and broke with devastating effect. Davies played the ball down the left wing to Paulinho, whose first time touch took it out wide to Kane. He held the ball, looking up to see Chadli inside him and his pass allowed Nacer to take it past Ivanovic and then hit a low shot that again touched off Terry's leg as it went through them before beating the Chelsea goalie's dive to his left to nestle in the same place as Kane's second half goal. At 5-2, the Lane erupted, with few Chelsea fans left to see it, such is their great support (and they said our's wasn't great !!).
With eight minutes left, Fabregas finally got a yellow card (amazingly the only one for a blue shirt) after he went through Vertonghen late. Following that he twice gave the referee verbal dissent for various things he didn't like and then refused to go back 10 yards form a corner, with Dowd showing weakness in allowing him to only get away with a talking to and a warning to their captain. He was odious enough as a Gooner, but now he has taken on board some of the Chelsea arrogance, he is even worse.
Spurs had to withstand some late attacks, with Fabregas putting in a weak header that Lloris saved easily and then Hazard put Ramires in, but his shot went across Lloris and wide of the far post. Salah was played through into the area by Hazard, but his finish was weak and straight at Hugo, but with a couple of minutes left, Chelsea reduced the deficit when a quick free-kick on their right was played down the line to Hazard. The low ball he played in was missed in front of goal by Ivanovic, but it ran through to the far post where Terry was unmarked to pout the ball into an unguarded net.
Chelsea still tried to narrow the margin, with Costa firing in a hopeful shot from a narrow angle on the right, but Lloris took it easily, then Fabregas popped up on the other side of the area in the next attack, hitting a shot to Hugo's near post, which he had guarded and the ball hit the outside of the upright to go out for a goal-kick. The five added minutes brought only one more chance for the Blues, when Hazard mis-hit his shot well wide and the eruption at the final whistle was testimony to the performance in beating a side who had only lost once this season before today.
It was a fine performance by all the players and Poch got his selection right to expose the deficiencies in the slow Chelsea defence. Our midfield's movement was a constant problem for their counterparts in the Chelsea side, who failed to deal with the quick passing and movement off the ball, allowing chances to be created and members of the opposition to be taken out of the play and not in the way that Chelsea took opposition players out of the game. Cahill's kick at Kane's back, while he was on the floor and the ball on the other side of him was a red card offence in itself, before the defender went on to step over him and onto his ankle. Mourinho was right to criticise Dowd, but he did so for the wrong things. His team were guilty of perpetuating some fouls that used excessive force and when Rob Styles sent off Mido for that same thing in a game against Chelsea here in 2005, it was mild in comparison.
Winning 5-3 against a side who rarely concede that many goals and were out on top of the table a month ago is a fine achievement, especially when it came just a few weeks after losing 0-3 to them at Stamford Bridge, was a fine performance and showed what the team are able to do when they all click. The players (and subs) all contributed, but, as Pochettino said, it is just another three points and the January league games will be just as important in terms of winning, otherwise, this will count for nothing.
Chelsea were originally
formed by the members of the London branch of the Winchelsea
Supporters club, but, because they rarely won, they dropped the
"Win" from their name.
|Match ball sponsors||-|
|Match programme sponsors||-|
|Match shirt sponsors||-|
|What you thought|
|Benny The Ball||
Hey Jose, you don't have to look as far as the ref for someone to
blame. Try stopping at your aging centre-half and less than
inspirational captain - John Terry.
Goal 1 - Failed to get close to
Kane as he prepared to shoot.
On the other hand, don't
bother Mourinho ... just give him a new contract !!
|Other scores during this New Year's Day :|
|Aston Villa||0||Crystal Palace||0||Thursday|
|Stoke City||1||Manchester United||1||-day|
|West Ham United||1||West Bromwich Albion||1||Thursday|
|7||West Ham United||20||9||5||6||30||24||32||+6|
|17||West Bromwich Albion||20||4||6||10||19||29||18||-10|
Position before match : 7th
Position after match : 5th
* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.
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