A Hakim Ziyech stunner stole the headlines at The Bridge as Chelsea beat Spurs for the fourth time this season.
Written by Ryan Bellenie
For the third time in three weeks, Chelsea faced Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon with the attempt of stealing three points away from their London rivals on home soil.
The Blues have won all of their three encounters with Spurs this season, which included a double earlier on this month that saw Thomas Tuchel’s side consequently reach the final of the Carabao Cup. The visitors however had revenge in their sight, with former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte looking to finally get one over his former club on his old stomping ground.
Tottenham’s rot against The Blues didn’t just begin this season, with the north London club unsuccessful in beating Chelsea in their previous 10 attempts. Their last league victory against them dates back to just over three years ago in November 2018.
Looking to follow up on their stunning last-minute win over Leicester last week, Antonio Conte made four changes to his side which saw Eric Dier, Matt Doherty, Ryan Sessegnon and Steven Bergijwn all returning to the starting line-up.
Immediately, the game began with a half-chance for an out-of-form Romelu Lukaku, who skied his effort from inside the penalty area. By the third minute, another opportunity arrived for the opener as Callum Hudson-Odoi found his way onto a cross by Hakim Ziyech – albeit a weak header with minimal contact.
Despite the misses, Chelsea were playing at a high tempo from the opening whistle and had their first shot on target by the 11th minute through Hakim Ziyech. Two minutes later, Harry Winks tested Kepa Arrizabalaga at the other end, with the Chelsea goalkeeper only needing to make a simple save to deny the Spurs midfielder.
The visitors were happy to sit back in the first half whilst Chelsea sat comfortable on the ball, patient for the right opportunity to pounce.
On the 31st minute, Mason Mount’s cross should’ve found a determined Romelu Lukaku for the first goal of the game. However, the Belgian missed the ball, which is a perfect summary of how things are currently faring Chelsea’s record signing.
Six minutes later, Tottenham looked lively in a counterattack led by Ryan Sessengon. The 21-year-old however scuffed his shot on goal, with the ball bobbling way wide of Arrizabalaga’s far post.
Moments later, Harry Kane at the ball in the back of the net and looked to be celebrating a Spurs opener. In what seemed like deja-vu for the England international, the goal was disallowed for a foul on Thiago Silva in the build-up. The decision was one of many talking points in the first half, which also included a potential red card for Matt Doherty earlier on in the game.
Following an action packed 45 minutes, Paul Tierney blew up his whistle for half-time with the two teams locked in at 0-0.
The majority of the first half was controlled by the hosts who looked the most dangerous of the two teams. Just two minutes after the break, The Blues were ahead through a magical Hakim Ziyech strike that left Hugo Lloris stranded with no chance of denial.
The Moroccan was in inspired form whilst showing no signs of slowing down. Just moments after his opener Ziyech tested Lloris again, with the Frenchman equal to his powerful effort on this occasion.
Whatever Thomas Tuchel said to his side at half-time proved successful as Chelsea certainly found their groove in the opening minutes of the second half. On the 52nd minute, Mason Mount fired just over the crossbar with an attempt on his weaker foot. The Blues were looking to capitalise on their momentum and double their lead.
Three minutes later, Chelsea found that extra security as Thiago Silva headed past Lloris to put the hosts 2-0 to the good.
There were later notable attempts on target at either end from Steven Bergwijn, Hakim Ziyech and Romelu Lukaku, which were all comfortably saved. The Blues remained in control of the game, giving Spurs limited opportunities to bite back.
In fact, Tottenham’s best chance arrived in the 85th minute through Harry Kane. The striker made good enough contact with his head but was denied by Arrizabalaga, who made a superb reflex save.
As the full-time whistle blew, Chelsea did the same as they’ve already done twice this month, powering past Spurs with a clean sheet for extra measure.
After the Whistle:
It almost seems as if Chelsea are always able to get the job done against Spurs, regardless of their poor form in the Premier League.
Following a series of score draws, The Blues have struggled at home in the league in recent weeks. Despite often taking the lead, Tuchel’s side have been criticised for failing to see the job out – which wasn’t the case in yesterday’s game.
With a two-week break upcoming, Chelsea will take the time to rest and recover from what has been a hectic schedule since August. Their next game will take place on February 5th, as The Blues host Plymouth Argyle in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Tottenham will also be in FA Cup action on the same day, facing Premier League opposition Brighton in north London.
Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur.
- Ziyech (47’).
- Silva (55’)
BBC Sports Player of the Match:
Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea).
Chelsea (4-3-3): Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta ©, Rüdiger, Silva, Sarr; Mount, Jorginho (73’), Kovačić; Ziyech (90+1’), Lukaku, Hudson-Odoi (87’).
- Subs: Kanté (73’), Alonso (87’), Saúl (90+’).
Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Lloris ©, Tanganga (56’), Dier, Sánchez, Davies; Doherty, Winks (89’), Højbjerg, Sessegnon (56’); Kane, Bergwijn.
- Subs: Skipp (56’), Moura (56’), Gil (89’).
Chelsea (65%) vs Tottenham Hotspur (35%).
Chelsea (15) vs Tottenham Hotspur (6).
Shots on Target:
Chelsea (7) vs Tottenham Hotspur (3).
Chelsea (10) vs Tottenham Hotspur (3).
Chelsea (17) vs Tottenham Hotspur (14).
- (credit | BBC Sport).
- (credit | Sky Sports Football).