Chelsea eventually walked away with a 4-1 victory at the home of their bitter London rivals. However, the result is almost entirely explained by the fact that Ange Postecoglou’s men decided to still play a suicidal high line when they went down to 10 men, and then later down to nine men. This left the Blues with a numerical advantage, against a team that was intent on getting killed, and it would have been worrisome if the result did not turn out the way it did. There were some standout performers though, so here are five Blues who impressed.
Chelsea’s dominance really started when Tottenham went down to 10 men, and it was all made possible by the relentless off-the-ball movement by the Englishman. Postecoglou’s men were so high that sometimes their back line was situated in the Blues’ half of the pitch, making it easy to run in behind and not be in danger of being offside. Sterling just kept running in behind them and cutting the ball back to Jackson, who always made sure he was well-positioned for the inevitable cutback. Truth be told, the seasoned winger’s dribbling was not great, but a lot of his effectiveness was out of possession. Many fans have criticised Sterling for his performances, but his ability to make the numerical advantage turned out to be glaring when Mykhailo Mudryk, a pacy winger, came on and did not have the same effect.
Gallagher’s ball usage was exceptional. He created the most chances, including a big chance, while distributing the ball impeccably, especially after Enzo Fernandez was subbed off. He was also active defensively, getting into tackles and making sure that Tottenham felt the absence of the players who were sent off. It was a complete performance from the 23-year-old. Some fans still criticize the former Crystal Palace star, yet he has comfortably been Chelsea’s best central midfielder this season.
In the Premier League, according to Sofascore, the midfielder averages an impressive 2.8 successful tackles per game and 1.7 interceptions per game, while winning an amazing 1.6 possessions in the final third per game. For context, the highest Mason Mount, a player known for pressing well and winning the ball high up, ever managed for Chelsea was 0.8. Gallagher has also won 55% of his ground duels per game while completing 75% of his dribbles. He has been the Blues’ most complete midfielder so far this campaign.
Jackson ran the channels excellently and helped stretch the game to the maximum. All his work finally paid off in the closing minutes of the game, as he scored two goals after the 90-minute mark to ensure that he went home with the match ball. His dribbling was great, and his shooting was much better, getting 5/6 of his shots on target. He got a well-deserved hat trick for his hard work throughout the season up until this point.
The former Villarreal striker gathered a ridiculous 2.88 xG according to FotMob, and not only was his shooting good, but his dribbling was as well, completing 3/4 of them. The hope is that the 22-year-old’s confidence would be pushed to a level that would help him perform much better – shooting-wise – in subsequent matches. CFC need Jackson in top form as they welcome Manchester City to Stamford Bridge next Sunday.
Palmer was great again. Winning 6/9 duels and completing impressive 4/5 dribbles, the youngster topped off a complete performance with a goal and a superb assist to complete Jackson’s hat trick.
James was very good making his second appearance since returning from injury. His defending, chance creation, and dueling were great. He was dominant down Chelsea’s right flank, and that contributed to the Blue’s defensive solidity