5 talking points from Tottenham’s 2-0 home win over Chelsea
- Credit: EMPICS Sport
Dele Alli scored two almost identical goals as Tottenham beat Chelsea 2-0 at White Hart Lane, ending the Blues’ 13-match winning run in the Premier League and moving within seven points of the leaders. Here are five talking points.
1. Pochettino matches Chelsea’s formation
The Blues’ new manager Antonio Conte has enjoyed great success after opting to play with three at the back - but Spurs have also looked dangerous when using wing-backs, and their 3-0 and 4-1 victories over Hull and Watford in the last month owed much to the effectiveness of their marauding full-backs.
Pochettino stuck with the same game plan against the league leaders tonight, matching Chelsea’s system and backing his full-back to overcome the visitors’.
It resulted in an absorbing contest on both flanks as Kyle Walker and Danny Rose attempted to gain the upper hand against Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses respectively and force their opposite numbers onto the back foot.
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In the end both of Spurs’ goal came from crosses from the right flank, and Walker was involved in the build-up on each occasion, although it was Christian Eriksen who floated the ball in.
2. Alli continues his purple patch with two virtually identical goals
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While the first half was tight and tense, reflecting its importance and the stakes for both sides, there were no shots on target in the opening 45 minutes.
The game needed a goal to really bring it to life, and Alli duly provided it in injury-time, meeting Eriksen’s cross with a pinpoint header back across Thibaut Courtois.
Chelsea had dealt a similar blow in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge in November, scoring an equalising goal just before the break en route to a 2-1 home win – but this time it was Spurs who headed into the interval on a high.
The Lilywhites had to withstand some pressure at the start of the second period, with Hugo Lloris making a low save from Diego Costa and Eden Hazard heading wastefully wide at close range.
However, Tottenham doubled their lead nine minutes after the restart with an almost identical goal to their first. Again, Walker found Eriksen on the right side, and the Dane’s cross was headed in by Alli, who extended his stunning scoring spree to seven goals in four games and took his total tally to 11 strikes for his club this season.
3. Spurs’ midfield power
While Alli’s clinical finishing ultimately won the day, Tottenham’s victory owed much to their midfield power.
The partnership between Mousa Dembele and Victor Wanyama gave the hosts a real presence in the centre and the pair won a number of 50/50 challenges to secure possession for their side.
While Dembele is a hugely talented player as well as a physical specimen, Pochettino clearly likes to have some players who can offer grit to complement the guile in the side. Moussa Sissoko was another powerful summer signing, and the Frenchman came off the bench to help defend the lead in the second half.
4. Another historic derby triumph
This was due to be Tottenham’s last derby against Chelsea at White Hart Lane, as they prepare to leave their famous home at the end of the season – and Spurs’ fans will remember the occasion with great fondness.
Not only did they win this historic game, they also undermined the Blues’ title bid and ended their rivals’ 13-match winning run in the Premier League, denying Conte’s team the honour of matching Arsenal’s 14-match record, which was set back in 2002.
Of course, this success follows Spurs’ 1-0 home win over Crystal Palace in August and their dramatic 3-2 triumph over West Ham in November.
What a send-off it would be if the Lilywhites could mark their final season at the Lane with a clean sweep of derby victories in N17. So far so good…
5. Spurs can continue to look upwards - and the title is not out of reach
Tottenham’s latest victory – their seventh in eighth matches – ensures they can aim higher than a mere top-four finish and should be considered genuine title contenders.
A defeat would have left them 13 points behind the leaders but, instead, Pochettino’s third-placed side are just seven points off the top at the halfway point of the campaign, while they are just two points behind second-placed Liverpool.
Spurs have now beaten Manchester City and Chelsea at the Lane this season, both with 2-0 scorelines when their opponents were in fine form and were top of the league, and they will have home advantage again when they take on Arsenal and Manchester United, having already visited both sides this term.
There is a long way to go but, on this evidence, last season’s title bid was not a one-off.
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs