|OPPONENTS||Chelsea at Wembley|
|DATE||Saturday 24th November 2018|
With Chelsea coming into the game with an unbeaten record, the new
manager Maurizio Sarri is feeling ebullient and is giving it large
in press conferences, but the side has become a lot more pragmatic
than open and free-flowing. It is what the Blues fans disliked
about Mourinho when he wasn't winning, but are willing to accept if
it leads to some sort of glory.
There are a number of top players in the Chelsea squad, even though some have left for bigger clubs. With Kepa coming in for Courtois, it was expected to improve things, as doubts were being cast about the Belgian. With only eight goals conceded, it seems to have worked, but Liverpool and Manchester city above them have only let in five each. To get anything from the game, we will need to put a dent in that defensive record, as we don't keep too many clean sheets.
Sarri seems to have been getting s tune out of David Luiz since his return to the first eleven, while Antonio Rudiger partners him in a physically strong central defence, flanked by Azpilicueta and Alonso. Both like to get forward, so Spurs will need to squeeze the flanks with our own wing backs to keep the opposition's counterparts from finding dangerous space in wide positions. It might cancel each other out, which would reduce the supply from the wings for Harry Kane.With Dele and Eriksen playing well in midfield, it will be a contest between them and Hazard to be the ones to dominate and try to come out on top. Battles like these are an important stage in our development to push towards the top of the table. The contest between Kante and Kovacic and Dier and Winks will again be a test of how we can perform against tough opponents.
Willian and Morata are having contrasting fortunes, with the Brazilian keen to stay, while the Spaniard wouldn't be missed (much like the goal when he is shooting) by the Chelsea fans, who don't seem to be able to reconcile the fact that he is not Didier Drogba. Giroud seems to score every time he comes off the bench and Pedro, Fabregas and Barkley are all available to the manager too. Some of the subs are particularly unpopular and with Spurs having yet to hit top form, it might be time to do so to take the points and restore some sort of balance to the universe. It will be a tougher London derby than the games against West Ham United London recently, with grudges carried over from previous matches.
Everton managed to frustrate
Chelsea in the last Premier League outing, so, that has shown it can
be done. We shouldn't really expect too much from this game
with it being refereed by Martin Atkinson at Wembley, so, it will be
down to the team to rise to the snide comments from Sarri (whose
coaching staff have shown that they have adopted the Chelsea lack of
class very quickly). The fact that Chelsea are unbeaten, they
will probably be more up for this game than usual and if we play our
game (and Atkinson does his job properly), there is no reason why we
shouldn't get something from the match.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 1 Chelsea 1|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Spurs might have Jan Vertonghen back from a hamstring injury, while Davinson Sanchez misses out with the same problem. Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose both have groin injuries and Mousa Dembele is still out with an ankle injury. Vincent Janssen still has a foot injury.
Chelsea TEAM NEWS :
Ethan Ampadou and Marcus van Ginkel are both sidelined, but Mateo Kovacic is expected to have recovered from an ankle problem.
|Premier League||Kick off 17:30|
|Tottenham Hotspur 3 (2)||
Alli 07m 32s
Giroud 84m 23s
Rudiger (foul on Kane) 19
Hazard (foul on Davies) 45+3
Jorginho (foul on Dele) 72
|Crowd : 55,465||Weather : Mild|
|Referee : Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)||Assistant Referees : Mr. Stephen Child; Mr. Lee Betts|
|Fourth Official : Stuart Attwell|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the West Stand end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90 + 8 minutes.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Chelsea :||kit|
Hugo LLORIS (c)
Erik LAMELA 78)
10 Harry KANE
|Manager : Mauricio Pochettino||Manager : Maurizio Sarri|
|Sponsor : AIA||Shirt sponsor : Yokohama Tyres|
|Kit Supplier : Nike||Kit Supplier : Nike|
With a fast start and a fierce determination to win, Spurs brushed aside a shoddy Chelsea side 3-1 and (as the old phrase goes), Chelsea were lucky to get none. There goal was nothing more than a consolation, which they barely deserved and by the time they scored it, there section of the crowd looked like the West Ham fans part of the ground at the Olympic Stadium. For a side undefeated this season, it did make you wonder how they had managed that feat, so poor was their passing and so inept was their defending that Spurs could have come off dissatisfied if they had scored eight goals.
Going into the game, I was a little trepidatious, but the reconstructed back four were outstanding and despite one minor incident Juan Foyth did nothing to let the defence down, with a performance that matched his more experienced colleagues. With the defensive two in front of them breaking up play and trying to hit on the break, the four in front of them worked tirelessly to close Chelsea down on the ball, .while causing them problems from the off with their aggressive attacking play.
It was one of the defensive players who had the first chance in the first minute. Son had tested Luiz with a run down the right that own a corner and when it came in Eric Dier just had to stretch too much to keep his header on target. The tone was set from the resulting goal-kick, when Son won the ball and only an offside flag prevented Aurier making strides in the Chelsea final third with acres of space. Tottenham kept up the pressure, with a Kane header met with a good force but straight at Kepa, who was standing centrally in his goal. Chelsea fashioned a move on the right that saw Willian's low ball in scooped over the bar by Morata, ten yards out at the near post, getting between Juan and Toby to get to the ball first.
Tottenham were playing on Luiz and he really should have got booked in the seventh minute, when he chopped down Harry Kane on our right wing, when he out-foxed him and was crudely fouled. There was more telling punishment from the free-kick, when Ben Davies ran over the ball and Christian Eriksen put in whipped cross from the dead ball that was met but Dele Alli, rising above a static Morata, to glance a flashing header that flew past the Chelsea keeper. It was a fine header, but the ball seemed to go through Kepa's outstretched arms, but the pace beat him and Spurs wheeled away in celebration, enjoying the moment in front of the away section. It was just the start that Spurs needed.
And that start should have got better in the tenth minute, when Son played the ball inside from the right to Eriksen, who dinked a ball over the Chelsea back line and Sonny met it on the half-volley, but couldn't keep it down, powering a shot over when, had it been on target would have left Kepa with no chance. Sonny then took on Luiz and from a tight angle on the right, only Kepa's boot stopped him hitting the net, before Chelsea were pleading with referee Atkinson for a penalty, when Foyth went into the back of Hazard in the box a little thoughtlessly. It looked a foul as I was close to that part of the pitch and with Atkinson's record against us at Wembley v Chelsea, I was surprised when he denied their appeals. He was letting quite a lot go and unlike his former compatriot Clattenburg didn't allow Spurs to self-destructe and in turn, Tottenham seemed to have learned from the "Battle of the Bridge" and refused to be bullied by Chelsea, meeting force with controlled aggression.
On the rare occasions Chelsea approached our box, the defensive players got in the way or stuck out a log to intercept passes, launching breakaways to push the visitors back towards their own goal. The intensity of our pressing was very impressive and showed what had been missing fro our performances this season. We had been winning but not really performing at the level we can and this game showed that we can match (and better) the sides in the top six, so hopefully, Spurs can kick on from here. They did in the 16th minute, when Ben Davies moved the ball in from the left to Harry Kane, who turned inside with only one thought in mind and that was to get a shot away from 25 yards out. It didn't look the hardest of shots, but the ball was suddenly nestling in the Chelsea net, with Kepa left standing. From the other end of the pitch, it looked like it must have taken a deflection to leave the goalie so hopelessly rooted to the spot. But on replay, the big screens showed that there had been no touch off a Chelsea player; just David Luiz shamefully turning away from the shot and Kepa not having set himself at all and unable to react to the effort. The spurs fans didn't really care, as they cheered the Spurs captain after another goal to add to his tally.
Being crushed by Tottenham's start, Chelsea reverted to type and Rudiger was booked for an unnecessary foul on Kane on the left wing. when it was taken, there was lots of jostling in the box, but it was pulled back to Sissoko on the edge of the box. I think the intention was for him to have a shot, but he was closed down and tried to nudge it on to Aurier to his right. His pass was intercepted by Kante, who tried to break away, but Sissoko got a foot in to win the ball back. Chelsea tried to get back into the game, with Willian driving a shot across the goal from the right, but missing the far post, then Hugo had to react to a point blank shot from Morata, but the Chelsea striker was flagged offside, not for the first time in the game ... and not the last. As was proved just a minute later, when he looked to meet Kante's cross. The highly rated Jorginho and the much praised Kante were almost reduced to bit part players, as Spurs players buzzed around them to force their passes to only find a white shirt or the ball-boys.
Once more Kepa had to be called into action, when a low Eriksen corner in from our right wing was touched towards goal at the near post by Alderweireld. The keeper reacted well to block the flick, but it flew into the air and Juan Foyth was there to hook the ball at goal with a high back-heel, only to see the ball drift agonisingly wide of the angle of far post and bar. It was close to a third just after when Kovacic (a player we supposedly wanted on loan, but showed little of note that would add to our team) tried a Rabona cross from the Chelsea left wing. It only found a Spurs shirt and Dele played along ball out to the right, where Son took the pass under control and ran at Luiz once more. He got a bit of luck, with the ball bouncing off the Brazilian and back to him, but he ran on from 30 yards out moving right to left and when he reached a central position, he bent a shot around Rudgier, but it had just too much on it to see it ending up going just wide of the Chelsea goal. Just over half hour gone and Spurs should have been at least five goals to the good.
When Chelsea looked like they might test the Tottenham defence from a free-kick, any threat was negated by Luiz dragging Kane to the ground on the edge of the area and having a free-kick awarded against him. Lloris was called into action with 37 minutes on the clock, when Hazard made space to fire in a shot for the right side of the D, but Hugo dived to his left to beat the ball out for a corner. From the corner, Spurs broke away and Kane tried to make ground on the left, only for Jorginho to hack his legs away from him with a cynical foul. What is they say about Brazilians and the Beautiful Game ? Well, the bright yellow of his shirt wasn't to be matched with a card of the same colour, as Atkinson let him go without even a warning.
Tottenham's approach had been different to recent matches against Barcelona and Manchester City, where they were physically over-powered, but with players not afraid to put some power into their tackling, with Aurier a fine example, it put a doubt into the mind of the Chelsea players, who shied away from some challenges. All that was left for the Pensioners was to fall back onto their tried and tested methods of falling in the box, so when Hazard went down without anyone making a challenge on him, Atkinson waved it away. It was a shocking dive and although he should have had a penalty earlier, he should have had a booking for that one. And when he jumped up to a looping clearance in the Spurs box in injury time, his elbow into Ben Davies' head should have been the time for him to leave the pitch, as he did get cautioned. As it was, his presence on the pitch didn't really impact Spurs, with little possession and no time on the ball, we looked forward to his post-match comments, as he loves to bang on about games after the final whistle. In the last minute of added time, Spurs could have heaped more misery on Chelsea. Dele played a pass down the left channel to Eriksen, who stood up a cross for Son to run onto and strike a low volley that was heading inside Kepa's right hand post until he dived low to push it wide for a corner. There was still time for Aurier to cross to the far post and for dele to rise as he had on New Year's Day 2015, but he wasn't able to head it back across goal and past Kepa, as he had done with Courtois.
Following an unintelligible half-time interview with Graham Roberts, who probably wound up the Clues supporters, by talking about Tottenham as "us", it was more of the same that we wanted to see from Spurs. Maybe that was a bit hopeful ,as they had put so much energy into the first 45 minutes, but from the kick-off we pressed the Chelsea player son the ball to make them move further away from our goal. They did start getting some possession and when Foyth fouled Morata, Marcos Alonso (booed throughout for his part in the death of a passenger when a player in Spain and escaped a drunk driving charge) did what he does best and pulled Davies back as he ran twenty yards to beat him to a far post header. The ball pin-balled about a bit until Willian shot at goal, but it flew too high. They got a corner and in wanting to get to the ball first, Toby almost glanced it into his own goal; the ball ending up narrowly over the top of the bar.
With Spurs facing a bit of pressure for the first time, they defended an attack and Dele put a pass out to the right wing in front of Son. He was ten yards inside of his own half, but didn't touch the ball until it was in the Chelsea half. Faced with Jorginho, he took the ball on the outside, out-pacing he midfielder, before cutting into the box when alongside it. Luiz was coming across, but decided just to run past Son, without making any sort of challenge and it left Kepa to try and spread himself to stop the Korean striker. All he managed to do was make sure he didn't get beaten at his near post, leaving space for Son to expertly curl a left foot shot out of the goalkeeper's reach and when it hit the net, the crowd erupted, as Wembley witnessed what might be the best Spurs goal there since Ricky Villa's 1981 FA Cup final replay winner. Son's pace and determination, after putting so much work in during the first half, was terrific and the goal came at a crucial time to dent any hope Chelsea might have had of getting back into the game. It was a fantastic solo effort that showed that after his long summer of games, Sonny is finally back !
It didn't stop there, as Spurs pushed on and Kane was once more cynically brought down by Rudiger, although Atkinson interpreted it as a tangle of legs, thus avoiding the need to send off the German for a second yellow card. Sarri had been animated on the touchline, perhaps fearing his prophecy that if he doesn't win silverware, he will get the chop, but then, when you have spent millions on buying players, you shouldn't be given four years to win something. Spurs are a different project, as Pochettino has said many times, but days like this justify the way we are working to build a .team and a stadium. Anyway, the Chelsea manager chose to bring on Pedro for the massively anonymous Morata and Barkley for the massively anonymous Kovacic. I felt that the attacking changes might prompt Chelsea to be a bit more threatening, but the only aspect of that came from the Spaniard, who spent his half an hour on the pitch threatening Dele and Davies over supposed fouls on him. When Ben left him in a heap on the floor and was given a mouthful for his troubles, he cheekily kicked Pedro up the bum !
Any hope Chelsea had of getting a lifeline were dashed as their best chances fell to N'Golo Kante - not noted for his goal-scoring. Barkley put in a cross from their left that was too high for Alonso and Kante was not tall enough to get to it, when he was unmarked at the far post. Jorginho tried to be Christian Eriksen and scoop the ball over the defence for Hazard, but it had too much on it and Lloris came out to collect it. The chance to kill the game fell to Harry Kane after a good breakaway by Son fed Sissoko on the right side in the area and his low ball into the near post saw Harry sky his shot over the bar from a couple of yards out. Kane then teed up dele for a shot from just inside the box that curled, but not enough to take it inside the angle. Even though time was ticking down, I started to wonder if these missed chances were going to cost us.
Jorginho finally got his booking for what Atkinson pointed out was his third foul, this time taking out Dele from behind. The massively anonymous Willian was replaced by Giroud and Spurs were called on to defend a couple of crosses well and then Sissoko almost sent Dele away, but the pass was just intercepted. The massively impressive Son was replace by Lamela with 12 minutes left for hi to come on and torment the opposition, with some deft footwork. Chelsea presented Pedro with a chance, but he tried to dribble the ball across the box and was eventually dispossessed and after that Aurier threw a block to keep out a Hazard shot, prior to the Belgian midfielder being injured and having to receive treatment.
Kane brought a low save from Kepa with seven minutes left, when Dier put him away past Jorginho, but out of the blue, the Blues got a goal when Azpilicueta crossed from the right and Giroud rose, unchallenged, to head low past Lloris to his left. What the meagre smattering of Chelsea fans left in their part of the ground might have hoped was the start of a revival ended when Pedro fired a good chance fly over the bar from 12 yards out. The winger was also out of luck, when he tried to take on Foyth in the box, with Juan not only not letting him past, but knocking the ball off him for a goal-kick. That was also the decision when Kane tried to hold the bal in the corner at the other end, when a foul for the three kicks the yellow shirts had at him. It allowed Chelsea to play out and when Barkley's shot fell to Alonso, it looked dangerous, but the only danger were to people in Row Z. With a cross to Kante who was offside, the game drew to a close with the result fully justified by a fine spurs performance that has been a long time coming.
Pochettino had gauged the tactics just right and out-witted Sarri, who had been giving it large before the match. The ferocity of Tottenham's closing forced Chelsea into giving possession away and while then ended the match with more than Spurs, their passing was shocking and they looked clueless about who to deal with the way Spurs were pressing them so hard. Their defence were also shown up as being slow and lacking any desire to put their bodies in the line. Having spent over 70 million of Kepa, you would have to ask what they are getting for their money. Luiz was back to his worst and Alonso rattled by the crowd's attention. Kante and Jorginho didn't work in midfield, while Hazard was ineffective and Morata very poor. It looked like Spurs capitalised in this derby win on a poor performance by Chelsea, but they were made to look like that by a Spurs team who turned it on against Chelsea, as they normally do against us.
With two derby wins on the trot, we now move onto another in the Premier League, but first, we face Inter Milan in what could decide how we progress in the Champions League. How much this game has taken out of them will be seen on Wednesday.
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Brighton & Hove Albion||1||Leicester City||1||Saturday|
|Manchester United||0||Crystal Palace||0||Saturday|
|West Ham United London||0||Manchester City||4||Saturday|
|Wolverhampton Wanderers||0||Huddersfield Town||2||Sunday|
|League Table 2018-19|
|12||Brighton & Hove Albion||13||4||3||7||13||19||15||-6|
|14||West Ham United London||13||3||3||7||14||22||12||-8|
Position before match : 4th
Position after match : 3rd
Position after the weekend : 3rd
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