Tottenham Hotspur welcomed unbeaten Chelsea to Wembley Stadium in a huge Premier League match off the back of an international break. Tottenham were not gracious hosts, however, scoring three goals en route to a dominant 3-1 win over the Blues.
Tottenham went into the match with a few key injuries, and some players who were late getting back from international duty. Juan Foyth stepped right off the plane from Argentina and back into Spurs’ starting lineup alongside Toby Alderweireld. Jan Vertonghen, who rejoined training this past week, started the match on the bench. Eric Dier and Moussa Sissoko started in the center of midfield.
Up top, we saw a return of DESK — Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Son Heung-Min, and Harry Kane, as Mauricio Pochettino looked to put balls in the back of the net. Lucas Moura started on the bench. The formation was a kinda-sorta 4-4-2 diamond with Sonny acting as Kane’s strike partner.
Tottenham started the match off brightly, pushing forward with the ball and attacking Chelsea’s back line, trying to nick an early goal. They went close in the fifth minute when a Serge Aurier cross went off the shoulder of a Chelsea defender, but it was saved by Blues keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
That early pressure paid dividends in just the 9th minute! Harry Kane earned a foul going forward, just outside and on the right of Chelsea’s box. Christian Eriksen fired a curling free kick towards goal, and Dele Alli jumped to meet it at the near post, heading the ball past Kepa and putting Tottenham up 1-0.
Spurs nearly had a second just a minute later through Son Heung-Min, who had two opportunities on the break but wasn’t able to capitalize on either opportunity.
Harry Kane, however, did not have that same problem. Spurs’ captain doubled Tottenham’s lead in the 17th minute with a gorgeous low shot from the top of the box. David Luiz ducked out of the way, but Kepa was wrong-footed and the ball went into the left corner, giving Spurs a 2-0 advantage.
Spurs continued to pile on the pressure and run directly at Chelsea’s defense, while the Blues tried to hang onto the match with their fingernails. Spurs had another chance in the 30th minute off of another free kick from Eriksen — Juan Foyth put in an audacious backheel flick that went agonizingly wide of the post and would’ve been a spectacular goal from the young Argentinian.
Chelsea did have their moments. Eden Hazard gradually worked his way into the match more and had a long-range rip in the 38th minute that forced a quality save from Hugo Lloris. But otherwise it was all Tottenham in the first half, and it was capped by yet another chance from Dele, who forced Kepa to go low to deny him his first half brace.
A dominant display from the home side saw Spurs take a 2-0 lead into the break at Wembley Stadium.
A 2-0 lead is known as “the most dangerous lead in football,” and it’s worse when Spurs are up 2-0 on Chelsea at halftime. As Spurs fans, we’ve seen this movie before, and know Chelsea have the skill to come back. Indeed, Chelsea started the second half with what looked like more energy and a sense of intent to snatch an early goal back. The Blues went close twice in the opening eight minutes and looked a lot more dangerous than in the first half.
But then Son Heung-Min caught fire. In the 55th minute, Sonny took the ball at the halfway line and took off towards goal. In the process he skinned Jorginho and David Luiz into the box and slotted home past Kepa to put Spurs up 3-0. It was an amazing bit of individual skill for Sonny, who thoroughly deserved the goal. Spurs led 3-0 and Chelsea looked resigned to defeat.
Kane nearly made it 4-0 in the 68th minute off of a nifty low cross from Moussa Sissoko, but somehow Kane managed to sky his shot six yards from goal over the bar. Dele missed a similarly close shot just a minute later as his short range effort went just wide of the post.
In the 75th minute, Chelsea made their first sub of the match, bringing on Olivier Giroud for Willian. Tottenham followed suit shortly after, as Erik Lamela came on for Sonny.
Spurs never stopped attacking — Harry Kane forced Kepa low to deny him a second goal in the 82nd minute, but up 3-0 the urgency wasn’t quite as prevalent. Chelsea took advantage of a Spurs defense that fell asleep for a split second and Olivier Giroud headed one past Hugo Lloris in the 86th minute, denying Lloris his clean sheet.
Dele Alli made way for Harry Winks just after the goal, and while Chelsea had a few half-chances to cut further into Spurs’ lead, they weren’t able to convert. The end result was a comfortable 3-1 win, Chelsea’s first loss of the season.
- What a win! That first half was, I think, the best I’ve seen Spurs play all season. They were direct, aggressive, and confident. The DESK front line just rattled Chelsea’s defense right from the beginning.
- Spurs didn’t just beat Chelsea, they made them look ordinary. That’s a very good Blues team, and that’s a statement win for Mauricio Pochettino and his squad.
- Foyth’s flick at goal in the first half was nifty, but he had a bit of an uneven match defensively — he was VERY lucky not to concede a penalty in the first half and was on Giroud when he scored Chelsea’s only goal. Spurs were good enough in the press that Foyth was rarely put under a lot of pressure, which certainly helped.
- As good as Kane was, Sonny was for me the best player on the pitch in this match, getting between the lines and making Chelsea’s defense look silly on numerous occasions. His goal was a thing of absolute beauty.
- I can’t let the notes go by without mentioning Eriksen and Dele, who both were doing WORK the entire match. Dele in particular shut down Jorginho, the fulcrum of Chelsea’s midfield.
- Sissoko was
fine#actually very good today!
- I choose to believe Azpilicueta didn’t rip Harry Kane’s shirt — it was Harry HULKING THE F—K OUT.
- I’m a typical Spurs fatalist — I expected to get flattened today and would’ve been happy with a draw. I did not expect this kind of dominant performance against Chelsea and am over the moon. It tells you just how good this Spurs team can be when healthy and on a good run.
- Spurs are now up to third in the table, three points behind Liverpool. Manchester City may or may not be out of reach, but I think this team can definitely finish in the top 2 or 3.