Match Review: Chelsea vs. Tottenham The “Vincible” Blues
Match Review: Chelsea vs. Tottenham
The “Vincible” Blues
Stamford Bridge | November 26th, 2016
The 3-4-3 cannot be contained; one can only hope to suppress it. That would be the more optimistic view of this game. In reality, at no point in the game did Chelsea look invincible. After the match against Middlesbrough, I thought to myself, “This team works hard on the pitch even if we are not fluid. As long as we can outwork the opposition we will most likely win.” Well, if the Middlesbrough win was the result of hard work, this was a result of some luck mixed with some Tottenham hoodoo plus some Pedro brilliance. Tottenham outworked Chelsea today and this should come as no surprise to anyone who watched Pochettino’s men against Manchester City.
The other-other team in London can be quite intense and hard to contain and so it was as Christian Eriksen let loose a fantastic effort from outside of the box to beat Courtois. This was in the 11th minute and Tottenham had Chelsea exactly where they wanted them. The Blues failed to string together any cohesive attacking efforts due to the high press of Tottenham effectively nullifying any possessive or attacking threat through Matić or Kanté. Chelsea were left hoofing the ball up to the wing backs or attacking players, but this was Tottenham’s cup of tea as they pressed/marked Marcos Alonso into oblivion.
If anything, Tottenham should be criticized for not making much of this effort count perhaps due to poor decision making in key areas. They were made to pay for it. From nowhere, against the run of play, Pedro came alight with brilliance shifting feet on the edge of Tottenham’s box to open up room for a right-footed curler – which was placed to perfection – beating the immense Hugo Lloris hands down. It was Matić with the assist in what seemed like the first time Chelsea worked the ball forward through the midfield. What a time to get the equalizer too, just before half time.
If this was finally Chelsea’s toughest test, they were just about passing it now and needed to come out stronger after the break because even at 1-1, the game seemed to be against us. Chelsea did just that as Kanté had a shot early on, but it lacked a certain “Eriksenness” about it and it went straight to Lloris. Apart from that, Tottenham still seemed to have their way in the midfield, still had Alonso in a daze, and still managed to terrorize our defence. Eventually though Chelsea looked more recognizable and transitioned into a counter attack led by Hazard who released Diego Costa. Costa did brilliantly to move the ball wide to the goal line and pull it back across the 6 yard box to the in-rushing Moses who’s in-step shot ricocheted off Lloris and Jan Vertonghen and into the net. Suddenly, Chelsea, who were very much second best, were in front.
For some minutes after that, Chelsea seemed to take the initiative and it was Tottenham who were on the back foot. After some brilliant build up play, Victor Moses pulled the ball back for Marcos Alonso who was left unmarked around the penalty spot only for the young Spaniard to blaze his shot over the net. Throughout this game, Marcos Alonso was exposed, it was no coincidence as well, Tottenham intentionally capitalized on that side of the field perceiving Marcos Alonso to be the most vulnerable of the two wingbacks. Kyle Walker was a nightmare for Alonso to deal with.
All jokes aside this game was crying for quality and composure from Alonso in pivotal moments, like when he had the ball at the goal line and had many options to chose from in the box yet instead pulled the ball back for nobody, putting us on the back foot again. Thankfully though, Chelsea were not left to rue these missed chances. Antonio Conte immediately moved to close up shop, pulling out Hazard, Moses and Pedro for Willian, Ivanović and Oscar respectively. From then on we were happy to let Tottenham have the ball and save a few heart-in-mouth moments like Nkoudou making light work of Ivanović and Azpilicueta, or Harry Kane man-handling Azpilicueta, Tottenham failed to really force the issue.
We escaped with this one, but we as a fan base know that championship contender teams need ugly wins and so we are happy with how far our squad has come. It should also not be overlooked that we came from behind to win this one. The last time we were behind in the league we lost 3-0 to Arsenal and the last time we were behind in a cup tie we lost 2-1 to West Ham. We should celebrate what is now obvious: our winning mentality is back. Next week this mentality will again be tested by none other than Pep Guardiola because of the brilliant manager he is and with the squad he has. Expect nothing but a tough match.
Diego Costa continues to defy expectations by not picking up a yellow card, which makes him available against Manchester City. Antonio Conte’s hugs are the remedy to a tumultuous mind and I wrote a short poem about it:
Stretch your arms wide,
Wrap it around the world,
Let your love and warmth heal us all,
World peace in the arms of the Godfather.
Hazard has not hit the high he was on before the international break, but if he tells me he’s been saving himself for City, I’ll take it. So go on Hazard, show up like we know you can. Finally, I wonder what Antonio is thinking now that it is obvious that the 3-4-3 can be breached. We will need a back up plan, an alternative route to victory, and neither Willian, Oscar nor Ivanović look good enough for that task just yet. Expect a long week of preparation at Surrey and until next week, as usual, may your weekends be long and your beers be cold. See you at the Etihad for our next toughest test.
KEEP THE BLUE FLAG FLYING HIGH #KTBFFH.
*Wyd is an acronym for “what you doin”
About the Author
Barnabas Gwaza, @BarnabasTGS
Barnabas displays brave commitment to the Blue side by fighting rival fans valiantly on Facebook. He is most known for winning the London Is Blue Jersey give away and by those standards he has achieved success in life. He now enjoys retirement creating content for his favourite podcast while in school.