Tottenham Hotspur 2 – 0 Chelsea
Oh yeah, baby. Two – nil. Two – bloody – nil.
There was something karmic about the win. Chelsea ended our unbeaten start to the season, we ended their chances of breaking a meaningless record. We are on the fringe of the title race; their next two away games are Leicester City and Liverpool. If the defending champions can raise their game for that one, we need to get something at the Etihad.
Not a single complaint can be had by Chelsea about last night’s scoreline; not one. Decisive enough for the emphatic nature of the win to be noticed but not a big enough margin of victory to be dismissed as a fluke. From start to finish, this was a super victory; it was a win which we thoroughly deserved and like Manchester City, offers us great hope for the future.
There isn’t a single player who didn’t emerge from the game with credit.
Dele Alli grabbed the goals and the headlines; why not? They were two fantastic headers from excellent Christian Eriksen crosses. Put on plate you might suggest but Dele still had to score them. Both well angled away from Courtois, both at the perfect time, as if there’s ever a bad time to score.
A sign of our superiority came with Diego Costa and Pedro openly arguing on the pitch after a move broke down. On different wavelengths, the pair were neutralised effectively by the defence and midfield. Neither of them has previously had time to bicker – or I’m sure Chelsea would put it as a healthy discussion – as opponents have succumbed to their overwhelming strength.
That was the most impressive aspect. We went toe-to-toe with them; looked them in the eye and didn’t flinch. Such was our superiority, it was as if we fed off Chelsea’s energy, thrived on their failure. There are no ‘as-ifs’; we just did. The added bonus of pushing Arsenal out of the top four can’t be ignored. If we can do that for the rest of the season, it will offer a small amount of revenge for the past twenty years.
An assured defensive display was augmented by the back four attacking at will. We expect it from Walker and Rose, they are key aspects of the threat developed over the past few seasons. Last night Vertonghen and Alderweireld attached with gay abandon, playing like wing backs in attack, dominating the defence like the experienced centre backs they are.
In midfield, Dembele was outstanding, a genuine rock upon which the performance was built. The Belgian was immense, popping up in front of the back four – ably supported by Eric Dier – to break-up Chelsea’s possession as well as attacking with purpose. He didn’t get his reward with a goal which was a pity.
This was a performance which set out a marker for the rest of the season. It can’t be allowed to be a repeat of the win over Manchester City where the promise was lost in a run of four consecutive draws.