Dele Alli celebrates Tottenham’s third goal against Chelsea
Relentless was what Tottenham were. Simply relentless.
Even when they fell behind to Alvaro Morata’s first half goal, there was an assuredeness, a confidence about this Tottenham side of Mauricio Pochettino’s that seemed to say that they always felt they could win this match.
Dele Alli will take the headlines with his two goals in four second half minutes that sealed this game after Christian Eriksen had levelled the scores with a brilliant strike on the strike of half time, but the brutal truth was that Spurs were the better team and those goals only underlined their superiority.
It brought Spurs their first win at Stamford Bridge since February 1990, and it was a result that surely condemns Chelsea to Europa League football next season, and signalled the end, if it had not been already signalled, for Antonio Conte.
Chelsea now lie eight points behind Tottenham in fourth place in the Premier League table and their chances of making the top four are as good as over. That usually proves fatal for any Chelsea manager.
Christian Eriksen celebrates his goal
The fact that they can still win the FA Cup, and have a semi-final looming against Southampton in three weeks time, may save him for the moment. More likely the fact that owner Roman Abramovich has no one lined up to replace the Italian, who was set to go at the end of this unhappy campaign anyway. Knowing the whims of the Russian billionaire, it could even be sooner.
But it is the evidence that Tottenham were so much better that will have resonated with Abramovich. What happened to the team that so determinedly and against the odds won the title last year?
Spurs and Pochettino of course won’t care about that. It was 28 long years ago that Gary Lineker’s late header from Nayim’s cross earned Spurs that 2-1 win.
They had the game tied up far earlier – and they did it with their talisman Harry Kane only on the bench, three weeks after damaging ankle ligaments.
But Alli, after an indifferent campaign for club and country, finally had his moment. And in Eriksen and Moussa Dembele Tottenham had players that Chelsea simply could not handle.
Alli put a header wide early on in a feverish atmosphere at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea going into the game knowing nothing less than a win would do.
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But Chelsea then took over, as Hugo Lloris saved from Willian and Victor Moses. Then though Tottenham’s goalkeeper blundered. As Moses crossed from the right, the Frenchman flapped at the ball – and Morata was clear to nod home.
Willy Caballero then saved Chelsea as he dived at Eriksen’s feet, but Chelsea wasted several good moments, Marcos Alonso passing when he should have shot, and seeing his low cross scrambled clear.
They paid for that in a moment of brilliance in first half injury time – and the game turned. Moses failed to clear out on the right, the ball was moved infield to Eriksen, and the Dane looked up and looped a quite brilliant shot over Caballero and into the far corner. The Argentine maybe could have done better – but the strike was extraordinary.
Chelsea tried to respond, as Andreas Christensen flicked a header just wide, but the warning signs were there, as Caballero had to pull off a brilliant save from Son Heung-Min.
Then Eric Dier fired a long ball out of the Spurs defence, and suddenly Alli was behind Chelsea, taking control with a lovely touch as Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta dithered, and he deftly flicked the ball beyond Caballero.
Four minutes later this time it was Son getting behind Alonso on the right. His cross caused chaos as Christensen failed to clear after Caballero blocked the initial shot – and Alli was in the right place to stab the ball home from six yards out. The heart had been torn out of Chelsea.
Alvaro Morata had put Chelsea ahead
Fabregas and Alonso both missed late chances, but the moment had gone. Spurs had simply been too good.
Chelsea have now won only three league games in 2018, and lost five of their last seven in the league. It is a matter of time now for Antonio. Simply a matter of time.
Chelsea (3-4-3): Caballero 7; Azpilicueta 6, Christensen 6, Rudiger 7; Moses 6 (Giroud 81 6), Kante 7, Fabregas 6, Alonso 6 (Emerson 83 6); Willian 7, Morata 6 (Hudson-Odoi 88 6), Hazard 7.
Goals: Morata 30.
Next Up: West Ham (h) Sun April 8 PL.
Tottenham: (4 2-3-1): Lloris 6; Trippier 6, Vertonghen 7, Sanchez 7, Davies 7; Dembele 7, Dier 7 (Wanyama 81 7); Lamela 7 (Sissoko 87 6), Alli 8, Eriksen 7; Son 7 (Kane 73 6).
Goals: Eriksen 45, Alli 62 + 66.a Next Up: Stoke (a) Sat April 7 PL.
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands).
Read more here: Daily Express :: Sport Feedhappy wheels
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