Tottenham Hotspur hosted Chelsea at Wembley Stadium for their first “home” match of the Premier League season, but weren’t able to get the win. Marcos Alonso had a brace – a worldy of a free kick and a late short-range blast to give the Blues a 2-1 win over Spurs. Michy Batshuayi also had an own goal for Chelsea.
Tottenham started the match in a fluid back three formation, with Eric Dier occasionally dropping into central defense when needed. Kieran Trippier made his return to the starting lineup after recovering from a preseason ankle injury, as did Victor Wanyama, who made his first start of the season. Otherwise, it was the expected Spurs starting XI, with Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli playing behind Harry Kane.
Chelsea, who entered the match with significant questions due to injury and suspension, welcomed Tiemoue Bakayoko to its lineup; Antonio Conte opted to likewise play a back three with David Luiz moving up to midfield beside Bakayoko and and N’Golo Kante. Alvaro Morata started up top, with Willian moved centrally behind. Eden Hazard was not in the squad, but Pedro was on the bench.
The first half was a very even affair, and remarkably civil for a Spurs-Chelsea tie. Chelsea had the early advantage, and should have been up after just six minutes. Alvaro Morata got free of Spurs’ defenders and had a free header on goal, but he inexplicably put the ball just wide of the net.
Spurs eased their way into the match after the opening ten minutes, and started pushing forward into Chelsea’s area. However, the Blues got off the mark first after Dele Alli fouled David Luiz just outside the box. Marcos Alonso stepped up and fired an unstoppable free kick past Hugo Lloris and into the top corner of the net.
Things got moving at the half-hour mark, as Spurs started playing with a higher sense of urgency. Harry Kane nearly got Spurs level after a strong move into the box and a close-range effort that was saved by Thibaut Courtois. Kane was actually fouled twice on the play — once before the shot, and once on the rebound, but neither was given.
That’s also when the game started to turn predictably chippy. After a calm start to the match, hard fouls and cards started flying. Eric Dier received an “orange” card for going two-footed into David Luiz and Victor Moses and was lucky not to be sent off. Luiz was later booked for impeding Christian Eriksen.
Spurs started turning the screws late in the half, controlling possession and keeping Chelsea on their heels. Eriksen fired a very nice free kick across the face of goal but Harry Kane was just inches away from getting a boot to it. Minutes later, Kane put a shot off the post and Ben Davies had a long range effort saved by a diving Courtois.
Just like in the FA Cup match last Spring at Wembley, Tottenham ended the first half not deserving to be down a goal. Alonso’s worldy was the difference at halftime, and Spurs trailed 1-0.
Spurs started brightly without making any halftime changes, but despite having much of the ball in the opening 20 minutes of the half, neither team really generated much offense. Chelsea were content to sit deeper and defend a narrow lead, while Spurs weren’t really able to get a breakthrough.
Spurs took a chance midway through the half, bringing Son Heung-Min on for Eric Dier, who was sitting on a yellow card and looked in danger of picking up a second. Immediately, Chelsea started throwing bodies forward, sensing an advantage in the center of midfield. Chelsea had a few half chances on the counterattack and looked more dangerous after the sub.
Mauricio Pochettino made a curious substitution with ten minutes to go, bringing on Moussa Sissoko for Kieran Trippier, with reports that Trippier might have picked up a knock.
Three minutes later, Spurs equalized in odd fashion. A foul on Dele Alli resulted in a Christian Eriksen free kick from the left side of the box. Eriksen’s ball in met the head of Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi, who headed the ball in past Courtois for an own goal. Despite not scoring themselves, it felt like the correct result.
But Spurs weren’t able to make it last. In the 88th minute, Hugo Lloris and Victor Wanyama both had errors to give up Chelsea’s winning goal. Hugo threw the ball to Wanyama in midfield, who promptly lost the ball and failed to track Marcos Alonso. Alonso blasted the ball at Hugo from point-blank range, and the shot squirted under Lloris’s arms.
That was the difference. Despite holding an 18-9 shot advantage (6-2 on target), Spurs dropped their first home game in over a year, with the final score 2-1.
- That was super, duper frustrating, annoying, and awful. On balance I felt as though Spurs deserved at least a point today, but it was not to be.
- You have to say that Chelsea’s back three played really well, as did their midfield. Eriksen was kept quiet, as was Dele Alli. Kane could’ve scored at least two, and hey did you know he’s never scored in August arrrgh
- Victor Wanyama had a shocker today. He was dispossessed twice in the first half, both leading to Chelsea half-chances, and his cheap give-away and failure to track Alonso led to Chelsea’s second. He should’ve been off 20 minutes before time.
- I get why you’d take Eric Dier off in a chippy match against Chelsea when he’s sitting on a yellow, but it was the wrong decision and Spurs missed his grit in the second half.
- Gotta say, Hugo was pretty poor also. He was equally complicit in Chelsea’s second, with an ill-judged throw, and should’ve saved Alonso’s shot.
- Kieran Trippier was bad. Just... bad.
- It wasn’t all gloom and doom, though -- Spurs’ offense looked really good at points, especially in the latter part of the first half and first 10 minutes of the second. They had a distinct advantage in shots and corners. Harry Kane was industrious and very good, as was Christian Eriksen. Dembele might have been my man of the match, again. Ben Davies had a few good looks at goal.
- Can’t wait for another week of Wembley Curse and Kane Scoring in August media-driven crap.
- God, I hate playing Chelsea.