One of the feistiest games in the Premier League calendar took centre stage on Monday evening, as Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea renewed their rivalry in North London. Ange Postecoglou’s side were looking to go top again with a win, while a familiar face in Mauricio Pochettino returned to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with a Chelsea side looking to respond after defeat at home to Brentford last time out.
TOT: Vicario; Porro, Romero, van de Ven, Udogie; Bissouma, Sarr, Maddison; Kulusevski, Johnson, Son
CHE: Sanchez; James, Silva, Colwill, Disasi; Caicedo, Gallagher, Fernandez; Sterling, Palmer, Jackson
With this London derby being Spurs’ last home game before Remembrance Day, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium paused before kick-off to remember those who lost their lives in past and present conflicts.
As the game got underway, it was a fairly even start, with both sides looking to catch each other out early on. Tottenham did have an early chance to break the deadlock, but Son’s cut back towards Brennan Johnson was cut out by Chelsea stopper Robert Sanchez.
Spurs would go one better just moments after, as they took an early lead. James Maddison’s excellent switch of play found Pape Matar Sarr, who then played the ball out to Dejan Kulusevski. The Swede then cut inside and, with the aid of a deflection off Levi Colwill, unleashed a low effort found the back of the net.Embed from Getty Images
It almost got even better for the home side, as a nervous Chelsea almost conceded a second, but Pedro Porro’s low shot was collected comfortably by Sanchez.
Chelsea started to compose themselves and slowly grew into the game, as Nicolas Jackson almost notched an equaliser for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, but Guglielmo Vicario was alert and pulled off an excellent save.
Spurs thought they had a second inside the 13th minute, but Heung-Min Son’s excellent finish was ruled out for offside after the South Korean was adjudged to have made his run too early.
Destiny Udogie could consider himself lucky not to be sent off for a lunge on Raheem Sterling with over 15 minutes gone, but the left-back was booked for the foul, but this was only the start of a manic couple of minutes.
Raheem Sterling thought he had equalised for the away side, but the England international handled the ball in the build-up and, rightfully so, the goal was ruled out. Before that, however, Cristian Romero could consider himself lucky to not see red after kicking out at Axel Disasi in the build-up.
Moises Caicedo then thought he’d grabbed Chelsea’s equaliser with a clean strike into the bottom corner after mayhem in the Spurs box, but this too was disallowed because Nicolas Jackson was offside.
However, Spurs would be made to pay regardless, as following a VAR review, referee Michael Oliver awarded a penalty to Chelsea after Cristian Romero’s studs caught Reece James inside the box. As a result, the Argentinian was shown a red card for the challenge, and Spurs were reduced to ten men.Embed from Getty Images
At the end of this spell of carnage, Cole Palmer stepped up to take the spot kick and squeezed it past Vicario to bring Chelsea level.
Chelsea went in front just moments later through Nicolas Jackson’s strike from Raheem Sterling’s cutback, but the striker was, once again, adjudged to be offside in the build-up.
If the penalty and red card for Romero wasn’t enough to infuriate the home faithful, then seeing 12 additional minutes added on at the end of the first half would have only made Spurs fans even angrier, especially as Chelsea were beginning to dominate the game. Nicolas Jackson could have sent Chelsea in front before the break, only for Vicario to pull off another excellent stop to keep the effort out.
The second half almost started out perfectly for Chelsea, as Cole Palmer found space just outside the Spurs box before firing a wonderful effort just past the near post – only moments after Nicolas Jackson was one-on-one with Vicario and the Spurs stopper thwarting the Senegalese frontman.
With Romero sent off in the first half, Spurs couldn’t risk the loss of another player, but that’s exactly what happened as Destiny Udogie was given his marching orders following a rash challenge on Raheem Sterling. Having been cautioned in the first half, Michael Oliver had no choice but to brandish the second yellow card to the Italian, and Spurs were down to nine.Embed from Getty Images
Chelsea looked to punish the nine men of Tottenham almost immediately, but Guglielmo Vicario thwarted both Jackson and Cole Palmer after they both found space to shoot inside the Spurs box. Reece James then saw the best chance of the second half thus far fly just past the far post.
Marc Cucurella, substituted on for Levi Colwill at half-time, found himself through one-on-one halfway through the second half, but the left-back spent too much time on the ball and tried to take the ball round Vicario. However, the Spurs goalkeeper was having none of it as he kept Cucurella from getting past him.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side finally cracked the Tottenham code as the Blues took the lead with 15 minutes to go. Reece James received the ball down the right hand side and played a precise ball through to Raheem Sterling, whose burst of pace got him past Dier and Emerson Royal. The Englishman then squared the ball across to Nicolas Jackson, who directed the ball into an empty net to make their two-man advantage count.
Eric Dier then thought he’d brought Spurs level with a fantastic volley at the near post, but after yet another VAR check, the centre-back was adjudged to be offside. Regardless, the England international wouldn’t have caught a shot sweeter.
Spurs substitute Rodrigo Bentancur then had a golden chance to bring his side level, but his header from Pedro Porro’s free kick somehow flew past the near post instead of in the back of the net.
In the fourth minute of added time at the end of the second half, Chelsea scored the goal that ended the final unbeaten run in the Premier League, as Conor Gallagher raced down the right hand side and squared the ball across to Nicolas Jackson, who tapped the ball home to seal all three points for Mauricio Pochettino on his return to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.Embed from Getty Images
Nicolas Jackson then sealed his hat-trick in the 98th minute, as he raced through one-on-one against Vicario. The Senegalese frontman then rounded Vicario and slotted the ball home to put the icing on a very delicious cake for Chelsea.
Following this frantic London derby, both sides are next in action this weekend. Tottenham take the trip to Molineux to face Wolves on Saturday at 12:30pm, while Chelsea head back to Stamford Bridge to welcome Manchester City the following day at 4:30pm.