Quite a few things have changed in the world since Tottenham last beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in 1990, but the rivalry between the two clubs has stayed strong and true. This season, the bragging rights are with North London.
Dele Alli scored twice as Spurs won 3-1 to break their West London hoodoo. The victory also means that Mauricio Pochettino’s team have expanded their cushion on fifth-place Chelsea to eight points.
xG map for Chelsea - Tottenham. Spurs' efficiency was the key to a competitive match -- got in behind twice, scored both times. pic.twitter.com/zhnFOhchHI— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) April 1, 2018
Harry Kane made another quick return from injury as he was deemed healthy enough to feature on the bench. Son Heung-min started up front in his place, with Erik Lamela being chosen over Lucas Moura to play with Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli. In what could be a hint of things to come, Toby Alderweireld was again not featured in the squad.
As expected, Tottenham came out pressing. The hectic style of play, and intense atmosphere at Stamford Bridge, made for a nervy opening few minutes. Spurs tried to control possession when they could, but Chelsea looked dangerous when they did have the ball.
The Blues had the ball in the net on 19 minutes, but Marcos Alonso was offside when he received Victor Moses’ cross and the goal did not stand.
But the next dangerous ball Moses put into the box would stand as a good goal. The Nigerian was allotted too much space in attacking down the right, and was able to play in a ball that befuddled both Hugo Lloris and Davinson Sanchez. Hugo came for it, but missed, and Alvaro Morata was there to finish with his head.
Spurs almost responded immediately. Eriksen was played through the middle, but Willy Caballero did well to come out and clear the ball before being clattered.
A few minutes later Alonso was causing more problems. His driven effort forced a save from Hugo, and then Morata would’ve had a second via the rebound if not for a timely clearance from Jan Vertonghen.
Tottenham looked set to be trailing at halftime, but Christian Eriksen had other ideas. The Danish star unleashed a stunning goal from long range to equalize just before the interval. The ball knuckled and dipped in the air leaving Caballero rooted to the ground as the away fans erupted at the opposite end of the Bridge.
The 1-1 scoreline flattered Spurs at halftime, but they were much improved in the second half.
The game appeared to be balanced in the initial minutes after the restart, but then Dele Alli took over.
On 61 minutes Eric Dier played a perfect long ball from midfield that found Dele just as he made a run splitting the Chelsea centerbacks. Dele took one touch to control, and then calmly placed the ball past the keeper with his second touch.
Just a few minutes later he added another. Antonio Conte’s side defended poorly after Son drove into the box from the right side. Caballero smothered the Korean’s effort, but the defenders couldn’t clear and the ball eventually spurted to Dele, who tucked it into the net for his second goal in five minutes.
Dele wheeled away once again to celebrate in front of the bouncing mass of limbs and cheers that was the Tottenham away fans.
Spurs found themselves in a position they’d been in before at Stamford Bridge; up two in the second half. They still had plenty of defending to do, but this time they didn’t falter.
Harry Kane and Victor Wanyama came in to reinforce the hard-working Tottenham team, and the game listed lazily to the finish.
Many Chelsea fans left early, and the Spurs fans serenaded them on their way out. It didn’t always look like it would end in success, but it turned out to be quite the day for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.