Chelsea started the year with an embarrassing defeat at White Hart Lane, which has left them clinging to their place at the top of the Premier League table by their fingernails. Diego Costa put the Blues ahead, but goals from Harry Kane, Danny Rose and Andros Townsend sent Spurs in ahead at half time. The two sides then traded goals in the second half, with Eden Hazard and John Terry scoring for Chelsea, and Kane and Chadli finding the net for Spurs.
There was very little rotation in the Chelsea team, which could be to blame for the poor performance. This side was the strongest possible Chelsea XI, and they made the best possible start early on in north London. Costa – as so often this season – was the man who opened the scoring, after he tapped in from close range after Oscar’s wayward shot.
The Blues kept pushing, but they couldn’t find an equaliser. Jose Mourinho was enraged when his side were denied a penalty when Jan Vertonghen appeared to handle the ball in the box. Not long after that, the Blues ended up on the back foot. The visitors’ midfield was nowhere to be found as the ever-improving Kane got a run on the defence, and when no one came to close him down he got his shot away which nestled low in the bottom corner.
After that, Spurs sensed that this Chelsea team were vulnerable, and they kept pushing the league leaders. Kane had the beating of Gary Cahill all day, and the defender had to haul him down to stop him late in the first half, giving away a penalty to the hosts. Townsend stepped up to the spot, and sent the ball past Thibaut Courtois, giving Spurs a big first half lead, and a result that would have sent the Blues down to second.
Nemanja Matic, who has been one of Chelsea’s stand out performers this season, had an awful time all game. Kane got around the big Serbian easily in the box, and was able to finish again. After that, the hosts looked like they could go on and record a comfortable victory over their London rivals.
Hazard looked to have got his side back in the game, after he fired home from a Cesc Fabregas pass. That was the Spaniard’s 14th assist of the season, as he edged towards the season record total of 20. Any chances of a comeback were ended by Chadli, who scored after being played in by Kane, who the Chelsea back four just couldn’t get close to.
Terry scored his third goal in four games to make sure his side kept their place at the top of the table, just about. The captain headed into an empty net to make 5-3, which makes them and Manchester City joint Premier League leaders, ramping up the tension ahead of the big clash between those two at Stamford Bridge at the end of this month.
LCN Man of the Match: Eden Hazard