Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League – Stamford Bridge – Report
Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Stamford Bridge once again served as Tottenham’s proverbial graveyard as Antonio Conte’s side were comfortably brushed aside thanks to second-half goals from Hakim Ziyech and Thiago Silva.
This was the fourth meeting between the bitter rivals this season and the fourth time Chelsea have come out on top. Despite heading across the capital unbeaten in the Premier League since his appointment, Conte was fully aware of the task ahead of his side: “We have to know very well that we are playing against a really strong team,” the Italian explained.
“Don’t forget, Chelsea won the Champions League last season and, in the last two games, they have beaten us.
“We want to go and try to play our game, and, after these two games, to learn something more and to be more prepared to play against Chelsea. We know they are an important team, and they are good, but we want to play well and get the best possible result.”
Spurs had started sluggishly when the sides had met at the Bridge three weeks previous, and they were almost behind early again. Romelu Lukaku blazing over from twelve yards after Mason Mount had fashioned an opening from the right.
Thiago nodded over, while Hugo Lloris fisted away from Ziyech as the hosts pinned Spurs back. Steven Bergwijn, the Lilywhites outlet, cut a forlorn and lonely figure as the North Londoners struggled to find a foothold.
Kepa saved comfortably from Harry Winks after Harry Kane had provided an opening. Meanwhile, VAR suggested there was nothing to see after Matt Doherty came together with Malang Sar – the Chelsea man painfully turning his ankle in the action.
Despite enjoying plenty of the ball, Chelsea lacked direction as Tottenham absorbed and contained their minimal threat.
Spurs thought they opened the scoring when Kane shrugged off Thiago before dispatching low beyond Kepa. Referee, Paul Tierney ruling the Spurs man’s challenge was over-exuberant – Chelsea relieved.
But Tottenham’s resolve was broken within two second-half minutes, Callum Hudson-Odoi did remarkably well to wriggle clear before finding Ziyech. The Moroccan beating Lloris with a terrific curling effort.
With the bit between their teeth, Chelsea swarmed forward in a bid to kill the contest. Lloris saved brilliantly from Ziyech. However, the game was up for Spurs. Thiago arrived to glance Mount’s free-kick beyond Lloris. A familiar feeling unravelling for the North Londoners in this part of the capital.
It was beginning to look like a damage limitation exercise for Spurs. Lloris thwarted Lukaku, then blocked from Mount after the busy Ziyich had played him in. The size of Conte’s task becoming ever more apparent by the minute.
Kepa sprung to his left to keep out Kane’s late goalbound header. But a lifeline for Tottenham wasn’t forthcoming at their traditional unhappiest of hunting grounds. They remain in seventh place, a point behind Arsenal, but with a game in hand.
Tottenham Hotspur return to action on Saturday, February 5 when Brighton & Hove Albion at the visitors to N17 for an Emirates FA Cup fourth-round tie (8pm).
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Azpilicueta (Capt), Thiago Silva, Rüdiger, Sarr, Kovacic, Jorginho (Kanté 73′), Ziyech (Saúl 90+1′), Mount, Hudson-Odoi (Alonso 87′), Lukaku Subs not used: Pulisic, Werner, Bettinelli (GK), Chalobah, Barkley, Havertz
Booked: Thiago Silva (foul), Jorginho (foul)
Goals: Hakim Ziyech 47′, Thiago Silva 54′
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (Capt), Tanganga (Skipp 57′), Sanchez, Dier, Davies, Doherty, Hojbjerg, Winks (Bryan 89′), Sessegnon (Lucas 56′), Bergwijn, Kane Subs not used: Gollini (GK), Rodon, Reguilon, Royal, White, Scarlett
Booked: Japhet Tanganga (foul)
Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistants: Lee Betts and Constantine Hatzidakis
Fourth Official: Andy Madley
VAR: Darren England
Assistant VAR: Adam Nunn