When Tottenham and Chelsea square off in the middle of the pitch, it feels like the main event of a pay-per-view event with something controversial ensuing.
In this case, it was during the first half's three minutes of added time. Richarlison — who’d been taking a beating the entire first half — gets tackled by Hakim Ziyech in the middle of the pitch. Standing up to Ziyech and getting in his face, the two exchange a few shoves as the swarm builds around the two.
Emerson Royal came out of nowhere and gave a nudge in the back to Ziyech who retaliated with a left jab (open palm shove) to the face of Royal. Going over to console with the fourth official, Stuart Attwell gave Ziyech a straight red before VAR overturned the call and said it was just a yellow for Ziyech.
Initially thinking Chelsea would be down to 10 men for the rest of the game, The Blues were lucky as Thiago Silva had a case to be shown a straight red for his elbow to Cristian Romero during a free-kick earlier in the first half.
Still having 45 minutes to play in a significant game, Spurs broke the deadlock in less than 30 seconds. Emerson Royal took a shot that wasn’t completely saved by Kepa and with a poor clearance by a Chelsea defender, Oliver Skipp won the ball just outside the box and took a strike.
Looking for his first Spurs goal, the academy graduate got his wish as his strike rose above the outstretched arms of Kepa and to the bottom of the crossbar before going in.
Chelsea came back into the game, creating a few chances that forced Fraser Forster to come off his line. But, it would amount to nothing.
On the defensive side of the pitch for a good portion, once Son Heung-min came in as the super sub for the final 12 minutes of play... his impact was felt.
Swinging in a corner in the 81st minute, Son saw his cross deflected by Eric Dier as it goes to the back post where an unmarked Harry Kane slotted in his 49th London Derby goal. Kane also became the first Spurs player to score in both league fixtures against Chelsea since the 1990-91 campaign.
Notes from a thriller
- It had been six years since Spurs beat Chelsea, amazing to think how one-sided this rivalry is. But, it always brings the heat.
- After starting slow for the first 10 minutes, Spurs started to break Chelsea down. A lot of that had to do with Silva’s injury.
- Pierre Emile Højbjerg had the best chance in the first half when he was shot was slightly deflected and hit the post as Kepa stood frozen and could only watch.
- Skipp started slowly as he could have very easily been called for a penalty, but after that, he put in a shift.
- Three consecutive clean sheets at home
- Cristian Stellini continues to hold a perfect record when he’s in charge. Seven in seven (four with Spurs, three with Inter).
- The one-hit wonder that is Harry Kane has now gone nine consecutive seasons with 20-plus goals in all competitions.