The defending Premier League champions Chelsea conquered Wembley in the first London derby of the 2017-18 Season with a 2-1 victory over last season’s runners-up, Tottenham Hotspur.
A stunning freekick from Marcos Alonso was the difference between the two sides in the first half, before Michy Batshuayi netting the ball into the back of his own net in the second half leveling it for Spurs. Marcos Alonso proved to be the man of the moment again with a powerful shot inside the box after a leading pass from Pedro which sealed the match for the Blues from West London.
Tottenham had come with three points secured at St. James’ Park defeating Newcastle 2-0; whereas Chelsea had come into this fixture with a surprise defeat against Burnley at Stamford Bridge, a match that Conte would have liked to forget as soon as possible and after tody he might not look back at the first game at all.
Spurs and Chelsea both started with a 3-4-3 formation, with Chelsea starting all its new outfield players giving two of them their Premier League debuts courtesy Gary Cahill’s three match suspension and Fabregas’ one match ban. Azpilicueta started as the captain of the side playing Right WIng Back with Moses pushing up to the Right Winger position. Rudiger started alongside Danish defender Andreas Christensen, returning from Borussia Monchengladbach after a season in the Bundesliga. Spurs had Kyle Walker-Peters on the bench who was replaced by Keiran Trippier.
The first chance of the game was in Chelsea’s favour as a cross from Azpilicueta successfully found Alvaro Morata, but the ex Real Madrid striker lacked the finishing move and his header went wide off the post.Spurs had the majority of the possession till the 24th minute when Dele Alli unintentionally clipped David Luiz outside the box. Marcos Alonso steps up and scores a stunning left footed free kick that leaves the Home supporters in shock.
Spurs were the better team in the first half dominating possession and putting immense pressure on the Chelsea defenders inside the box, with crosses coming through open play and successive corners in the dying minutes of the first half. Harry Kane’s sublime effort inside the box was denied by the post after a through ball by Christian Eriksen in the first half.
The first ten minutes of the second half looked like Chelsea players were in for a daily attack-v-defence session in their training ground. Tottenham dominated the possession, Eriksen and Kane started pressurising the Chelsea full backs with Dele Alli dribbling past Moses in many occasions. All that Tottenham lacked in the entire game was the finishing move to score a goal despite having numerous chances created and plenty of shots attempted.
Willian’s shot resulting from a Chelsea counter-attack hit the woodwork in an attempt to put the game beyond any doubt.
Tiemoue Bakayoko’s foul on Dele Alli in the 82nd minute gave Spurs the opportunity to equalise, and Christian Eriksen’s freekick found Michy Batshuayi who netted an own goal in an attempt to clear the ball away from the box.
A rare Chelsea attack in the dying minutes of the game led by Willian found Batshuayi who was tackled by Dembele inside the box, who later passed to Wanyama who was intercepted by David Luiz, passing sideways to Pedro who led the way inside the box who passed to Marcos Alonso on the left side of the six yard box who struck a powerful shot into the net, Lloris had no answers to that whatsoever. Pochettino’s men showed immense intent and aggression but failed to convert their chances into goals.
Antonio Conte’s men looked very cautious and alert in defence; and the defenders did not let him down. With no Cahill in the squad, Christensen had some big shoes to fill and after this game, he has definitely gained the trust of his manager. Resilient defending, calm and composed interceptions and organised defensive structure that would leave the opposition frustrated; take opportunities when they get them and make the most of them.
Same-old-Mourinho-style-Chelsea indeed. Considering the previous three games where Chelsea have had at least one red card, this one saw the Blues not committing in the same way as they do normally.
Eriksen’s crosses and Alli’s runs were dealt with perfectly which were actually the reason why Chelsea had lost 2-0 to Spurs at White Hart Lane. Good positioning of the defenders with constant monitoring on Alli’s runs nullified Spurs’ chances of scoring goals. Conte had them fully prepared for this game in the best way possible and it gave him and the side a win and three points which gets them off the mark.
Chelsea now face a new-look Everton at Stamford Bridge next week, whereas Spurs would like to leave this defeat behind as soon as possible and concentrate on facing Burnley at Wembley.