BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
WEDNESDAY 3RD DECEMBER, 2014
CHELSEA 3(2) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0(0)
Referee:- Mike Dean
Assistants:- J. Brooks & M. Mullarkey
Fourth official:- C. Foy
Chelsea (4-2-3-1):- Courtois:- Ivanovic, Cahill (sub Zouma, 46), Terry (Capt.), Azpilicueta; Fabregas (sub Mikel, 76), Matic; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Drogba (sub Remy, 67)
Subs not used:- Cech; Luis; Schurrle, Salah
Booked:- Matic (foul on Eriksen)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Chiriches, Fazio, Vertonghen, Davies; Mason (sub Paulinho, 58), Bentaleb; Lennon (sub Chadli, 58), Eriksen, Lamela (sub Soldado, 74); Kane
Subs not used:- Vorm; Kaboul, Dier, Naughton;
Booked:- Chiriches (foul on Hazard)
Let's just scratch this off the fixture list
Spurs made a high octane, high intensity start, and had a couple of good early chances, but they soon faded, and made the errors that gave Chelsea early goals, and full, comfortable control in this game.
I take no pride or pleasure in correctly predicting a 3-0 defeat, and actually hoped for better, after Sunday's win at home to Everton. Any hopes and dreams turned to dust though, as Premier League leaders Chelsea marched with ease past the team they have loved to beat most years since 1990.
Maybe we should just scratch this game off the fixture list, concede the three points and conserve energy for the rest of the programme.
Mauricio Pochettino made just one change to his starting line-up for this game, with Harry Kane chosen as the man up front; Soldado left on the bench, replaced by Erik Lamela, starting on the left of midfield.
Similarly, Chelsea had the one change, which was enforced, as Diego Costa was suspended, giving 36 year old Didier Drogba his place.
Due to the slow access for away fans to the stadium, I missed the first few minutes, but I understand that Spurs made a bright start, with a couple of half chances, including an early header off target by Jan Vertonghen from Chiriches' cross.
Harry Kane had a great chance after 7 minutes. Ryan Mason had put the ball out to Lennon on the right, and Kane met the cross with a header which hit the bar. Four minutes later, Kane had another great chance, making progress down the left channel, before hitting a shot wide across the Chelsea goal-mouth.
After such a bright start, displaying the level of intensity and energy seen on Sunday, Spurs faded with regard to any real chance or penetration, with Chelsea gradually, and significantly taking control of the game, if not possession.
Drogba teed up Fabregas, whose shot was held by Lloris. Then Hazard got the better of Lennon near Spurs' right corner flag, before coming inside, exchanging with Drogba, before scoring with a shot that Lloris got a hand to, but could not stop.
Bentaleb hit a speculative long range shot, after Mason and Lamela had been involved in the build-up, before Spurs fell two behind.
All three Chelsea goals came from Spurs errors. This one was due to a terrible clearance by Lloris, straight to the feet of Hazard, who picked out Drogba. Drogba collected on the inside of Vertonghen, and beat Lloris low to his left.
The bright start meant nothing. We all knew the game was over, and we might as well have gone home at that point.
Chelsea even seemed to play within themselves after that point, and any Spurs chances were not that much of a threat. Eriksen, in a central position, passed to Davies on the left. The left back fed Ryan Mason, whose shot was held by Courtois.
Lloris held a Willian shot at the other end, and had another chance, after Chiriches failed on the right side, with Oscar able to feed his fellow Brazilian, Willian. This shot was held by Lloris.
Gary Cahill was replaced at half time by 20 year old Kurt Zouma, signed in the summer from PSG. Cahill had received a knock, but such was Moruinho's confidence, he felt able to give the young French defender more Premier League minutes than he has had to date.
Good play by Davies, Lennon and finally Kane, gave Eriksen a chance, but he fired wide.
Pochettino then made a double substitution, with Lennon replaced by Chadli, and Mason by Paulinho. Ryan Mason had been mis-placing a number of passes, and perhaps tired more than his team-mates after Sunday's exertions. Paulinho looked bright, and there was plenty of passing by Spurs, but little penetration.
Eriksen, then Lamela tried to tee up Chadli, but Lamela's pass was just over-hit. Lamela failed too often with the ball tonight. Eriksen won a corner on the right, and took it himself. Vertonghen met the ball at the near post, but his header didn't bother Courtois.
Lamela chipped a pass for Chadli, but Courtois collected at the second attempt.
Drogba was replaced by Remy, who didn't take long to get on the score sheet, putting the game well beyond Spurs. Remy received the ball down the inside left position. Vertonghen stumbled and wanted a foul, but Remy was past him and scored with a low shot across Lloris.
Bentaleb lost possession to Willian in midfield, and his ball to Oscar was pushed wide.
Chiriches hit a good cross from the right, and Soldado (who had replaced Lamela) nearly made contact, but a kiss is as good as a mile, and Chelsea cleared.
This must go down as a fairly routine win for Chelsea, who go 6 points clear of challengers, and last season's Champions, Manchester City.
As for Spurs, it's back to mid-table, and the drawing board before Saturday's game at home to Crystal Palace.
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