Chelsea came from behind to seal an encouraging 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge and climb to the top of the Premier League table.
Christian Eriksen had fires Spurs in front in the 11th minute and the away side dominated the first half as the Blues failed to get out the traps.
Pedro’s stunning equaliser just before half-time changed the game and Victor Moses slammed in Chelsea’s winner in the 51st minute to send Antonio Conte’s side into pole position in the table.
Despite being on a great run, the home side were outplayed in the first half as Mauricio Pochettino’s side played with an energy and belief that deserted them in Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League defeat at Wembley. They dominated possession and took the lead through a blockbuster goal from out-of-form Eriksen.
Mousa Dembele broke from midfield and found the Dane with a clever pass, but the attacking midfielder took everyone by surprise with a powerful half volley from 30 yards that flew past Thibaut Courtois and thundered into the top corner. It was a terrific strike and it just added to the nervous atmosphere coming from the home fans at Stamford Bridge.
This fixture had 12 bookings last season and the tempo of this game was suffering due to the stop-start nature of the foul. After Vincent Wanyama pushed Eden Hazard to the ground, David Luiz stepped up with his trademark free-kick style, but his powerful shot from 35 yards was comfortably saved by Hugo Lloris. The French goalkeeper had positioned himself brilliantly and that made the save look a lot easier than it was.
Kyle Walker managed to provide a constant threat on the right wing and his forward nature meant Chelsea couldn’t get their wing-back’s forward. The England international went close to doubling Tottenham’s lead after skipping past Marcus Alonso and poking at goal from a tight angle, but Courtois did well to tip the shot around the post.
The Belgian shot-stopper was called into action again in the 35th minute as Harry Kane spun past N’Golo Kante and smashed a drive at goal from 30 yards, but Courtois would not be beaten again as he tipped the ball over for a corner. Despite Tottenham’s strong start to the game, Chelsea turned the game on its head with a 45th minute equaliser and it was a goal that rivalled Eriksen’s in quality.
Pedro has had a much better season so far compared to an abysmal 2015/16 season and the former Barcelona man pulled off a piece of magic to level the scores. Matic’s pass allowed to Spaniard to control the ball and produce a Cruyff turn away from Wanyama before he curled the ball into the far corner away from Lloris’ despairing dive. The goal proved to be the turning point as Chelsea came out for the second half looking like a different team.
They were slicker with their passes and Diego Costa was involved in the game more, meaning Chelsea were more of an attacking threat. The former Atletico Madrid striker was an integral part of the winning goal as he produced a superb run going past both Wanyama and Dier on the left wing and it was Moses who came in at the back post to rocket in his cross, via deflections of Lloris and Jan Vertonghen.
In truth, Chelsea should have won by a wider margin but Alonso produced an awful miss when he should have grabbed his first Premier League goal. Costa was involved in the build-up again as he raced onto Moses’ pass and pulled the ball back for Alonso who was waiting on the penalty spot, but to the shock of everyone in the stadium, the wing-back blazed well over with his weaker right foot.
The win means Chelsea top the pile ahead of their crunch match with Manchester City next weekend, while Tottenham’s defeat was their first in the league this season.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)