Spurs demolish Chelsea to move up to third
Tottenham hit stride with convincing win at Wembley
25 November, 2018 — By Dan Carrier at Wembley
FA Premier League
SPURS 3 (Alli 6, Kane 15, Son 54)
CHELSEA 1 (Giroud 84)
MUCH has been made of Tottenham’s woes this season: the delayed return to N17, World Cup fatigue, no summer additions, grinding out 1-0 wins and yet, as Spurs comprehensively demolished a previously unbeaten Chelsea side at Wembley this evening (Saturday), there was a sense that this top performance had been waiting to happen for some time.
The margins of error have been slim – and tonight everything fell into place as Spurs played Chelsea off the park. Goals from Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son won the points but Mauricio Pochettino’s team created so many opportunities that it could have been twice as many. Oh how the players, management and fans are licking their lips at the thought that Spurs are hitting some form.
Speaking after the match, Pochettino said he could not take the credit for the way his side smashed Chelsea.
“Of course we are pleased, of course we are happy,” he said. “The players did the talking on the pitch and they deserve the full credit. Today it was about the attitude, the will. To compete in this way, the tactics and systems are not important – it is about will. Now we need to keep to this level of competition and increase it.”
He was prepared to admit that the result put his side in a nice place to kick on, sitting third and five points off the top.
“The three points puts us in a good position in the table – and we need to take this on in the next few days,” he said. “Milan is a final and then on to Arsenal. With this attitude all is possible.”
There was certainly something in the air from the moment Spurs got the proceedings under way and tore forward, winning a corner in under 20 seconds. The game plan was the classic Pochettino Press – give your opponents no time to settle, hunt in packs, and spring forward with speed when in possession.
Spurs took the lead on six minutes. Kane was bundled over by David Luiz as he broke and the resulting free kick, on the right, was spun in by Christian Eriksen.
Alli’s movement saw him earn a smidgen of space and get a well-directed glancing header on the ball to put his team a goal up.
Two minutes later it should have been two. Son played a cute give and go and was clean through. Instead of placing his effort he went for power – and thumped the shot over. Moments later he had another great chance, sent clear by Alli. But Blues stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga managed to get his feet to the shot.
The fragility of the Chelsea goal in the face of Tottenham’s storm was all too apparent – and by a quarter of an hour Spurs were threatening to disappear into the distance.
Eriksen, darting into space, received the ball after some solid defensive work by Moussa Sissoko. He found Kane: the forward enjoyed some freedom as he skirted across the edge of the box, looked up and thumped an effort in to the near post.
The bright Son was superb in the first half and should have made it three when he as tee’d up by Eriksen. His side footed shot was well saved by Arrizabalaga. The keeper then did well to get to Toby Alderweirled’s flicked effort, and watched on as Juan Foyth skewed the rebound half an inch wide. Son then sent a curler just past the far post.
This was a Chelsea team who up to today had only conceded one away goal all season. It seemed unlucky for Spurs that they should only be two up when the referee blew for half time.
Chelsea did what they could early on in the second half to find a toehold but Tottenham, marshalled by Alderweireld and Foyth at the back, were giving nothing away.
And then, on 54, it was game over. Son picked up the ball inside his own half and stormed down the right wing. He beat two, cut inside and with no white shirt galloping in support, saw he had to go it alone. His quick feet took him into the box and he slammed a low effort into the bottom corner.
Spurs were always dangerous on the counter and while Chelsea had some of the ball they could conjure up nothing more than ineffective punches. Spurs, when they fancied it, were simply glorious. One flowing move saw the ball zip across the pitch with swish and style. It ended with Kane just needing to tap home – but somehow, inexplicably, he scooped the ball over he bar.
Chelsea substitute Olivier Giroud grabbed a late consolation with a header but it was merely a footnote. As soon as he’d scored, Tottenham’s dominance was such that they nearly went straight up the other end and increased the lead once more. How it was just three was hard to fathom, such was the emphatic nature of this victory.
Spurs are finally hitting their stride as the season heads towards Christmas.
SPURS: Lloris, Alderweireld, Son (Lamela 77), Kane, Sissoko, Alli (Winks, 86) Foyth, Eriksen, Aurier, Davies.
SUBS NOT USED: Gazzaniga, Vertonghen, Walker-Peters, Llorente, Moura.
CHELSEA: Arrizabalaga, Rudger, Alonso, Jorginho, Kante, Hazard, Kovacic ( Barkley, 57), Willan(Giroud 75), Azpilicueta, Morata (Pedro, 57), Luiz
SUBS NOT USED: Caballero, Fabregas, Zappacosta, Christensen.