Two years ago this weekend, Tottenham Hotspur ended their Stamford Bridge hoodoo with a scintillating performance. Yellow Sports Brian Jeeves was in West London to capture the action…
Spurs end Stamford Bridge hoodoo
Chelsea 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur
Brian Jeeves reporting from Stamford Bridge
TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS, 10,286 days or one week before to Nelson Mandela’s historic release from prison – whatever way you look at it, Tottenham Hotspur ended their lengthy wait for a win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge thanks to a brace from Dele Alli and a Christian Eriksen piledriver.
Having already endured that painfully long wait – Spurs supporters travelled to West London buoyed by an unbeaten league sequence dating back to mid-December, coupled with the surprise news that Harry Kane had passed a late fitness test, taking his place amongst the substitutes.
Alli’s inclusion brought up his one hundredth Premier League appearance for Spurs – The England man becoming only the third player to achieve that particular milestone before his 22nd birthday.
Chelsea chief, Antonio Conte, had injury issues of his own to deal with. Argentine goalkeeper, Willy Caballero, starting in place of the injured Thibaut Courtois, while Cesc Fabregas replaced Tiemoue Bakayoko in the heart of the Blues midfield.
The Blues – who remain the only side to beat Spurs in a Premier League match at their temporary home at Wembley – went into the game keen to complete a unique double, reducing the North Londoners advantage in the race for a Champions League place to just two points.
Unsurprisingly, early exchanges were frantic and somewhat scruffy, with Alli nodding Eriksen’s centre the wrong side of an upright as Spurs created the first opportunity of note. Meanwhile, Hugo Lloris did well to scoop out Willian’s deflected attempt, while an assistants flag cut short Marcos Alonso’s celebrations as Chelsea steadily responded.
Chances were coming at a premium with Willian again testing Lloris during a swift Chelsea raid as the two sides otherwise largely flattered to deceive.
But shortly before the half-hour mark, Chelsea made the breakthrough. Alvaro Morata rose unchallenged to meet Victor Moses’ pinpoint centre – as the game final offered the spark the huge crowd demanded.
Eriksen forced Caballero into an awkward stop as his dipping effort fizzed goalwards. Meanwhile, Alonso was thwarted by Lloris as the Spaniard continued to trouble Spurs probing from the left.
But in first-half stoppage-time Spurs drew level in spectacular fashion. Eriksen simply lashed beyond Caballero from fully 25-yards, much to the delight of the travelling contingent who had spent much of the opening half frustrated by their sides toil.
The scrappy, stretched nature of the contest continued after the interval. Andreas Christensen was a whisker away from a telling contact to while Caballero produced a flying save to keep out Heung-Min Son’s left-footed drive as the sides continued to exchange openings.
But just after the hour Spurs snatched the lead. Jan Vertonghen picked out Alli, who in turn controlled and beat Caballero with a neat finish from twelve yards.
And with Chelsea in disarray, Spurs swiftly took further advantage. Alli was on hand to profit after Son’s initial effort had been blocked. The Spurs support were finally beginning to believe that almost three decades of Stamford Bridge misery were about to end.
Chelsea battled manfully to retrieve the situation in the final stages. But this was Spurs’ afternoon – And as their noisy supporters celebrated wildly, they carried with them the hope that their charges repeat the dose on their bitter rivals, sooner rather than later!
Tottenham Hotspur returns to Premier League action on Saturday, April 7 when they visit the Bet365 Stadium to face Stoke City (3pm).
Chelsea: Willy Caballero, Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso (Emerson 84’), Cesc Fabregas, N’Golo Kante, Alvaro Morata (Callum Hudson-Odoi 88’), Eden Hazard, Victor Moses (Olivier Giroud 80’), Willian, Andreas Christensen, César Azpilicueta (Capt) Subs not used: Eduardo (GK), Daniel Drinkwater, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Gary Cahill
Goals: Alvaro Morata 30’
Tottenham Hotspur: Hugo Lloris (Capt), Kieran Trippier, Jan Vertonghen, Davinson Sanchez, Heung-Min Son (Harry Kane 74’), Erik Lamela (Moussa Sissoko 88’), Eric Dier (Victor Wanyama 80’) , Mousa Dembele, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Ben Davies Subs not used: Michel Vorm (GK), Danny Rose, Serge Aurier, Lucas Moura
Goals: Christian Eriksen 45+1’, Dele Alli 62’, 66’
Referee: Andre Marriner
Assistants: Scott Ledger and Simon Long
Fourth Official: Graham Scott