White Hart Lane’s final season deserved some classic Tottenham “Glory, Glory” nights. On January 4, 2017, it got one.
Spurs moved into third place as they beat Chelsea 2-0 under the lights at The Lane. They leapfrogged Manchester City, knocked Arsenal out of the Top 4, and stopped the league-leading Blues from winning a Premier League record 14th game in a row.
Dele Alli was the hero of the evening, scoring two headed goals on either side of halftime. With his goals tonight Dele now has scored 7 in his last 4 games.
The late kickoff meant the stage was set perfectly for the match. The fans had had their time in the pubs, and they came to sing. The Lane was rocking throughout.
There was debate over the formation as Spurs warmed up beforehand. But Mauricio Pochettino did set us up with three central defenders. Kyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen returned from suspensions, replacing Kieran Trippier and Kevin Wimmer. It was somewhere between a 3-4-3 and a 3-4-2-1.
The formation allowed Rose and Walker, who have clearly established themselves as the best fullback pairing in the league, to get at the Chelsea defenders all game. This created more space in the middle for Dele and Christian Eriksen to thrive.
Both teams had chances, but Spurs took their chances while Chelsea did not. Otherwise it was an even game.
xG map for Spurs - Chelsea. Tottenham played an excellent game, but there's definitely a universe where Hazard is clinical and Dele isn't. pic.twitter.com/yD4Kspv4J5— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) January 4, 2017
The first half was back-and-forth, until Spurs opened the scoring right on the stroke of halftime. Dele found space in between Moses and Azpilicueta, and Eriksen picked him out with a beautiful cross. The 20-year-old headed the ball into the top corner and sent Spurs’ on their way.
There was pressure from the visitors after halftime, and Spurs came close to conceding. But Antonio Conte’s side were unable to get on the board.
Dele answered Chelsea’s resurgence when he got his brace in the 54th minute. Again, it was Eriksen who provided the assist. The Dane curled a ball that kept Courtois on his line, and set Dele up perfectly for a header at the back post.
Spurs saw the game out in a very professional manner. The midfield of Wanyama and Mousa Dembele didn’t let much through, and when they did either the defenders or Lloris were there to mop-up. Harry Winks also did well when he came on, as we made sure to keep players firmly behind the ball.
Spurs successfully held onto a 2-0 lead against Chelsea, something they were unable to do last year.
The best moment may have come late in the game, when the cameras caught John Terry in the crowd. Just look at that face!
I need this John Terry sadface on a poster pic.twitter.com/j5pFagArzY— Cartilage Free Capt. (@cartilagefree) January 4, 2017
The win is massive, but the work is not done. There are some winnable fixtures coming up for Tottenham, but also some tough ones looming. Matches with Manchester City and Liverpool both loom on the horizon.
To really make this win worthwhile, Spurs will need to continue to build on this result and this form. Then we’ll see whether we’re in a race for the Top 4, or for the title.