Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino facing his old side Tottenham Hotspur was the main talking point heading into the match. But after 111 minutes of football, it was not even a subplot. The final fixture of the game week was an action-packed encounter between two London rivals.
Tottenham’s unbeaten run ended at the hands of their former manager in a match that had just about everything. The Blues are back in the top half of the table. Here are three talking points from Monday night.
Tottenham were all over CFC from the get-go. Soon, their front-foot approach paid dividends when Dejan Kulusevski’s heavily deflected shot went in.
It took a while for Pochettino’s men to find their rhythm. They put the ball into Tottenham’s goal twice before VAR ruled them out. Both Christian Romero and Destiny Udogie somehow escaped the red card in between all of it.
By then, Tottenham had lost their plot as a heavy tackle by Romero inside the penalty box earned him a red and, Chelsea, a penalty. Cole Palmer slotted it home to tie the game. Thiago Silva quickly reminded his teammates who were celebrating the goal that they had work to do to win the game. Udogie getting his red made things easy for the blues, especially with Ange Postecoglou’s men not changing their structure.
The response the visitors displayed was promising. Unbeaten Tottenham took the lead, and they were all over them, with home fans cheering them on. Yet, the away side came back into the match while being calm when the opposition was losing their cool and composure. It showed the mentality the players had despite a lot of them being young.
At the end of the final whistle, the scoreline looked comfortable for CFC. They scored four, with their striker scoring a hat-trick away against a team that started the game week at the top of the table.
Despite losing two players, Tottenham stuck to their principle of keeping a high defensive line. Chelsea had a full half of the pitch available to run into with quick players to punish the north London side. Yet, they failed to capitalize it until the 75th minute when Nicolas Jackson scored their second.
Till then, either their forwards were mistiming the run, or the pass they received was an overhit long ball. When everything was right, they failed in front of the goal. Jackson’s performance pretty much sums up Chelsea’s season as a whole. He was awful in front of goal, and then he scored three before skying another chance created for him.
There is quality in the Blues’ attack. It is about finding the correct balance. The Sooner they achieve it, the better their season will get.
It is a question that comes up every time Chelsea produces a good performance, only for them to show things have not changed much by losing soon. Up next is champions Manchester City at home before players head into the last international break of the year.
When Tottenham was down to nine men, it took a while for the west Londoners to maximize their advantage. A good team would have easily scored more than the Blues in a similar match. It shows even when everything was in their favor, they made it difficult themselves.
Performances against teams higher in the table have been good for the Blues so far. That should give Pochettino’s men confidence heading into Sunday’s clash.