After their Champions League defeat against RB Leipzig last week, Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho said that leading his team into the tie had been like going to a fight with a gun that had no bullets. At Stamford Bridge, Spurs and Mourinho didn’t just turn up for their crucial clash with Chelsea without bullets. This time, there was no sign of the gun, either.
In fact, there was precious little sign of anything from Spurs. This was their chance to complete the turnaround that Mourinho has effected since his arrival in north London in November and leap above Chelsea into the top four. But this looked like a team that has run out of steam as well as players. The scoreline flatters them. They were comprehensively beaten.
Chelsea’s 2-1 victory represented a second successive victory for Frank Lampard over his old boss and the second time in a few days that Mourinho has been bested by a much younger manager. Julian Nagelsmann masterminded Leipzig’s victory at Spurs last week. It happens increasingly often now that Mourinho is made to look like a manager out of his time.
Olivier Giroud stepped up when Chelsea needed him to play a starring role in a 2-0 win against bitter rivals Tottenham
The French striker was on hand to fire low and hard into the near post after Ross Barkley’s initial striker had struck the bar
Things got even sweeter for Chelsea when Marcos Alonso drilled in from long range soon after the restart for the second half
Alonso was one of changes made by boss Frank Lampard as he returned to a back three with wing-backs to face Tottenham
Tottenham thought they were to be down to 10 when VAR checked Giovani Lo Celso’s accidental stamp on Cesar Azpilicueta
It proved to be a difficult afternoon for Jose Mourinho as he took his injury-hit Tottenham side to his old club and top four rival
Chelsea’s win, courtesy of two fine goals by Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso, arrested a run of four games without a victory and moved them four points clear of Spurs in the race for fourth.
It was a big at a critical stage of the season and Lampard will hope it will breathe fresh life into his side as Spurs struggle more and more without Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.
Mourinho raised eyebrows by leaving Dele Alli out of the starting line-up after his tantrum when he was substituted against Leipzig and Spurs lacked any spark going forward. They were lucky they ended the game with 11 men, too.
Giovani Lo Celso should have been sent off for a stamp on Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta but VAR initially decided it was not worthy of a red card. Bizarrely, VAR headquarters at Stockley Park then admitted that the VAR, David Coote, had got the decision wrong and that it should have been a red card after all. There is nothing wrong with the system. It is just the people who operate it that need to be changed.
There was a real intensity from the first whistle as Lo Celso was given particular attention from Chelsea’s Reece James (right)
Lucas Moura was leading the line for Tottenham again in the absence of both Harry Kane and Son Heung-min through injury
Mourinho (left) was looking to avenge the defeat inflicted on him by Frank Lampard (right) and Chelsea earlier in the season
MATCH FACTS, RATINGS AND LIVE LEAGUE TABLE
Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Caballero 7; Azpilicueta 7, Christensen 6, Rudiger 7; James 6, Jorginho 7, Kovacic 6, Marcos Alonso 7.5; Barkley 6.5 (Willian 77, 6), Mount 7.5; Giroud 7 (Abraham 72, 6).
Subs not used: Arrizabalaga, Loftus-Cheek, Zouma, Emerson Palmieri, Gilmour.
Goals: Giroud (15), Alonso (48)
Manager: Frank Lampard
Tottenham Hotspur (3-5-2): Lloris 6; Davinson Sanchez 6, Alderweireld 6, Vertonghen 6; Tanganga 6, Ndombele 3 (Lamela 62, 5), Winks 5, Davies 5; Lo Celso 4, Lucas Moura 5; Bergwijn 5 (Alli 78, 6).
Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Dier, Skipp, Fernandes.
Goals: Rudiger OG (89)
Booked: Winks, Lo Celso
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland) 6
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Chelsea had dominated early possession but it was Spurs who created the first scoring opportunity. Jorginho, the master of the short, simple pass, dithered on the edge of his own box and gave the ball away. It was worked to Lucas Moura, who sidestepped one defender and then unleashed a low drive that Willy Caballero pushed away.
Chelsea hit back. Hugo Lloris had to dive sharply to his right to stop a low strike from Mason Mount arrowing inside his near post and then Ross Barkley whistled a shot across goal from the edge of the area that Lloris was relieved to see fly just wide.
After quarter of an hour, Chelsea made their pressure count. Spurs allowed Olivier Giroud to run behind their defence on to a long ball forward. His shot was well saved by Giroud and when Ross Barkley smashed the rebound against the bar, it seemed the visitors may have escaped.
But the second rebound fell to Giroud and this time Lloris could not stop his fierce left foot shot. It was the Frenchman’s first Premier League start since November and his first goal since last April.
Ten minutes before the break, Spurs briefly shook off their inertia and began to press for an equaliser. Azpilicueta made a fine block to deny Lucas Moura and Caballero had to stretch to tip over a looping header from Davinson Sanchez.
But his plans to get revenge unravelled inside 15 minutes when Giroud managed to open the scoring at Stamford Bridge
Andreas Christensen sported a protective face mask as he worked to marshal Chelsea’s backline in the early exchanges
It proved to be a frustrating game for Tottenham’s Harry Winks (right) as he was the first player to be booked in the game
Tottenham’s bluntness in attack was compounded when Alonso surged forward and fired into the corner from long distance
Spurs fans, grouped in the away section at the Shed End, thought they had scored when Japhet Tanganga ran on to a raking pass from Alderweireld. He miscontrolled the ball on the volley but Caballero had come racing out of his goal and was caught wrong-footed. It seemed for a moment as though Tanganga would only need to tap the ball into the net but it had too much pace and he could not quite reach it before it ran wide.
Three minutes after the interval, though, Chelsea went further ahead. They broke down the right and moved the ball across the face of the Spurs box, Mount spreading it on to Barkley and Barkley moving it on to Alonso. Alonso met it as sweetly as anyone could and the ball sped unerringly beyond the outstretched left hand of Lloris.
Tottenham were fortunate that Giovani Lo Celso was allowed to stay on the pitch soon afterwards when he appeared to stamp on Azpilicueta as he lay on the turf. Lampard gestured towards Mike Riley that Lo Celso had deliberately trodden on the Chelsea skipper but the incident was checked by VAR and Lo Celso was allowed to continue.
Chelsea nearly went further ahead when Mount tricked his marker on the right and played in a perfect cross for substitute Tammy Abraham. Abraham tried to guide it past Lloris but the France goalkeeper got down quickly to smother it. A few minutes later, another Lo Celso foul, this time on Mount, gave Chelsea a free kick on the edge of the box. Alonso curled it over the wall but it cannoned off the face of the crossbar.
Spurs pulled a goal back two minutes from time when substitute Erik Lamela’s shot hit Antonio Rudiger’s trailing leg. The deflection wrong-footed Caballero and trickled inside his near post but Spurs did not deserve anything from the game and time ran out before they could threaten Chelsea any further.
Hugo Lloris could only wince having been beaten twice as Tottenham’s hopes of a top four finish were dented by a rival
It proved an uncomfortable introduction off the bench for Tammy Abraham as he slid in and collided with one of the posts