Tottenham 2 Chelsea 4: Lessons learned as Blues extend their run
Tottenham 2 Chelsea 4: What lessons did we learn as Roberto Di Matteo's men impressed on their way to victory?
Mata makes his mark
In an effort to replicate the success of Barcelona, Roberto Di Matteo has looked to the creative talents of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata this term. The latter of the trio certainly played his part in this London derby at White Hart Lane, as the momentum swung between the two sides. After Gary Cahill’s unstoppable volley handed Di Matteo’s side the lead, Mata had a fantastic opportunity to make it 2-0 in the 38th minute. Following Brad Friedel’s save from an initial shot, the ball ricocheted back to the 24-year old, but he could only hammer a shot over the bar, with the goal gaping. He would not make the same mistake twice though as the pint-sized Spaniard helped mastermind a turnaround for the table-topping visitors and further outline how crucial his presence is. On 66 minutes, he slotted an effort past the helpless Friedel, after William Gallas could only head straight to the winger, who was lurking on the edge of the area. Moments later, Hazard’s outstanding assist helped Mata double his personal tally, as a great run and finish made it 3-2. That wasn’t the end of his contribution though as he slid the ball across the box in stoppage-time for substitute Daniel Sturridge to easily tap home. Incredibly this meant that he has now scored three and assisted five in the last four games for Chelsea. The Blues made it 22 points out of a possible 24 in the current league campaign and picked up their first win at this ground since August 2005.
Defoe shows his class
With the Tottenham squad possessing just two senior strikers, the role played by Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe has become even more crucial. Tasked with the lone striker role in a 4-2-3-1 formation, the former West Ham striker illustrated his ability to play in this position. With 19 minutes gone, the 30-year-old forced Petr Cech to make a good save, with a last-ditch defensive tackle denying Clint Dempsey a tap-in. He was unlucky not to be given a penalty 10 minutes later, with Gary Cahill appearing to have a handful of the striker’s shirt as he attempted to turn. As the first half entered stoppage time, the forward’s curling strike looked set to find the back of net, only for Ashley Cole to head clear. A deserved goal came eight minutes into the second half though as Defoe demonstrated a predatory instinct to turn home Aaron Lennon’s scuffed cross – it was his 200th career goal. It also meant that no Premier League side has scored more goals in the 15 minutes following half-time, with five notched by Andre Villas-Boas’ side.
Chelsea defenders play their part
Prior to the start of play at White Hart Lane, the Blues had the best defensive record in the Premier League, with only four goals conceded and a quartet of clean sheets. They once again proved their worth in this London derby, as they made a vital contribution in both of the penalty boxes. With 17 minutes gone, the deadlock was broken as Hazard’s half-cleared corner only found Cahill, who lashed home an unstoppable volley past the despairing dive of Friedel. Six of Chelsea’s Premier League goals this season have now come from defenders; more than any other side in the division. Moments later, a last-ditch tackle prevented Clint Dempsey from leveling the scores, after Jermain Defoe’s effort was only parried by skipper Petr Cech. They seemed to switch off with just two minutes on the clock in the second period as Gallas ghosted in to nod home and make it 1-1. Branislav Ivanovic made a crucial block soon after to preserve this scoreline for the visitors, as the ball dropped kindly for Glyfi Sigurdsson. Keeper Petr Cech also showed his class to ensure the three points went to Di Matteo’s team, as he pulled off saves from Sigurdsson, Walker and Adebayor. In the absence of John Terry, question marks were raised about how the back four would cope, but they proved they are more-than-capable.