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Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham: Hell is dark and cold

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What an incredibly bad football match.

Chelsea FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur went to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea team knowing that with a win they could leap ahead of the Blues into fourth place in the table. It... uh, didn’t happen. Chelsea got goals from Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso, and despite a late own goal from Antonio Rudiger Spurs never looked like they were ever in the match. They fell 2-1 at the Bridge in a match that felt as awful as it looked.

Jose Mourinho opted to shake up the starting lineup against his old club, and the biggest talking point before the match was the decision to start the match with Dele on the bench. He made way for a Tottenham back five, with Jan Vertonghen returning to the starting lineup and both Ben Davies and Japhet Tanganga as wingbacks. Serge Aurier was also on the bench to start. Elsewhere, Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso started together for just the second time all season, with Harry Winks included in a midfield three. Steven Bergwijn and Lucas Moura were the main attackers.

First Half

10’ — Unsurprisingly, this match has started out very defensively. Spurs have let Chelsea have almost all of the ball and neither team has had anything close to a sniff at goal. Spurs have picked up a couple of fouls, and have earned two early corners.

11’ — Just as I type it, Lucas Moura has the first shot on target from the top of the the box. ! Willy Caballero parries it away.

12’ — Error at the back for Spurs — Sanchez misreads a Mason Mount run and has a shot from close range but Hugo is there to block it out for a Chelsea corner.

15’ — Goal to Chelsea. Giroud. Chelsea had three bites of the cherry on that attack — Giroud had a shot saved, Ross Barkley’s rebound shot goes off the bar, and Giroud fires in at the near post. There’s a VAR check for offsides, but the goal is given. 1-0 Blues.

23’ — Harry Winks gets the ball, immediately loses the ball to Jorginho, and then fouls him picking up a yellow card. Marcos Alonso then fires just over the bar. Ugh. What an awful sequence.

30’ — This is pretty grim football, but Gio Lo Celso is playing with a lot of energy. That’s something, at least. Ndombele isn’t having the best match but also has Chelsea players kicking him at every opportunity.

34’ — A half-chance! Bergwijn receives the ball at the top of the box and makes a little back heel touch to find Lucas who has his shot blocked out for a corner. It’s not much to hang your hat on, but it was neat football at minimum.

36’ — Oh nooooooo Toby fires a long ball from deep to a rushing Tanganga. His touch takes it towards goal but it’s a little heavy and drifts wide of the post. Almost a fantastic chance for Spurs.

HALFTIME: Well, this isn’t going according to plan. This is pretty dire football, and I wonder how and if Mourinho will shake things up to get Spurs back into the match. Chelsea lead 1-0 at the break.

Second Half:

No changes to either side at halftime. That’s a choice, I guess!

48’ — Goal Chelsea. Guess who? Marcos Alonso, who was wide open at the edge of the box after Jan Vertonghen got skinned. That’s real bad, folks. Spurs down 2-0.

50’ — Another good shot from Chelsea — this time’s Ross Barkley who forces a good save from Hugo.

52’ — Spurs just dodged a huge bullet. Giovani Lo Celso appeared to stamp on the ankle of Azpilicueta as he slid in to make a challenge by the touchline. VAR took a long hard look at it and deemed the contact incidental. No card at all. Lo Celso very lucky to still be on the pitch.

61’ — Ndombele dribbles into the box and collides with Reece James, but he had already lost the ball at that point so no penalty given.

62’ — Tottenham make their first change and it’s Erik Lamela who comes on for Ndombele.

65’ — Lucas Moura tries to dart into the box but is taken out by Christensen. It’s a yellow for the masked man. Lamela’s free kick is then deflected out for a corner. On the ensuing play, Harry Winks chips a ball to Vertonghen’s head, but Caballero is there to collect.

69’ — Spurs are playing with a front three of Lucas, Bergwijn and Lamela and are seeing a little more of the ball now. But they’re still not getting it in dangerous areas. Meanwhile, Tammy Abraham is warming up for Chelsea.

70’ — Yep, Chelsea make their first sub and it’s Abraham for Giroud.

73’ — Harry Winks goes down in the box under a challenge from Rudiger, but Michael Oliver says play on. On replay, Rudiger beat him to the ball, so good call I guess.

76’ — Chelsea make their second sub as Willian comes on for Ross Barkley.

78’ — A double-sub for Spurs as Dele and Serge Aurier come on for Bergwijn and... Toby Alderweireld? Weird. Ok, whatever.

79’ — Abraham receives a cross and fires at goal from point-blank range but Hugo is there and makes the save as Tammy runs into the post.

81’ — Yellow for Lo Celso as he high-kicks Mason Mount in the chest at the edge of the box. Kind of amazing he’s still on the pitch, to be honest.

82’ — Free kick from Alonso goes off the crossbar. Wheeeeeeeeeeeee.

87’ — Jesus just end the match and put me out of my misery

88’ — GOAL TOTTENHAM! It’s a Chelsea own goal! Erik Lamela with a lovely dribble into the box, and his shot deflects off of Rudiger and past Caballero! This match is so stupid!

FULL TIME: Well, you can’t say it’s not a deserved loss. Chelsea take the three points in the “six pointer”, final score 2-1.

Reactions

  • That was really bad.
  • Like, extremely bad.
  • So, so bad.
  • Mourinho screwed up the tactics from the opening kick, opting to play two wingbacks who aren’t outlets instead of Serge Aurier, and was slow to fix it. Meanwhile, Spurs had very little creativity despite Lo Celso and Ndombele on the pitch at the same time. Was Mourinho making a point? Were there injury concerns that we didn’t know about? Did he just f—k up and didn’t fix it? We don’t know, may never know.
  • Lo Celso was very, very, VERY lucky to actually play the full 90+ minutes of this football match after the stamp on Azpilicueta. I was 100% certain after watching the replay that VAR would send him off and I’m still not sure why it didn’t. Meanwhile, Lo Celso also had a number of high, dangerous kicks including a Son-esque kick-out while on the ground and only picked up a yellow.
  • Dele looks like he’s ready to quit this team. Frankly, I wouldn’t blame him.
  • We could dig deep into what happened in this match, but why bother? Spurs played like crap, and deservedly lost. It’s hard to know where the goals are going to come from going forward, and on the basis of the past two matches I don’t know if Spurs can even hang on to fifth at this point.