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Oct 20

Tottenham 2- 4 Chelsea : Mata rules over wingless Spurs

Chelsea retained their top spot after an enthralling 4-2 win over Spurs at White Hart Lane. In what is easily the game of the season till now, 2 goals and an assist from Mata got the Blues past a stern resilience from Spurs. William Gallas scored again against one of his former London clubs but the Frenchman was responsible for 3 of the Blues’s goals.

old friends meet again….

Chelsea lined up as expected in a 4-2-3-1 with Ramires joining Mikel in the midfield pivot. Mata, Oscar and Hazard played behind Torres. AVB was expected to hit back at his former employers with a plethora of changes and tactical alterations. But the Portuguese was forced into changes by Gareth Bale, as the Welsh winger was allowed absence when his wife went into labor. Dembele was left out of the squad, probably due to his international hangover.

Bale’s absence eases Chelsea midfield

As was clearly visible on the team sheets, Spurs clearly lacked width on the left and their midfield duo of Sandro and Huddlestone were short on pace and fluidity.

The match started as a very tight affair with both sets of central midfielders getting involved early in the game. Chelsea’s duo of Ramires and Mikel were seen sitting deep against Arsenal but today Ramires was getting into much more advanced positions. And as there was no threat from Bale, the Brazilian was able to be his normal energetic self. Gary Cahill gave Chelsea the lead with a stunning strike after Gallas gifted him with a header into the danger zone.

Cahill: A thunderous strike!!!

The combination of Dempsey and Sigurdsson were assigned a role of covering the left flank alternately, but neither of the new signing were able to do a commendable job in attack. Even though they pressurized Ivanovic well and cut out quite a few attacks from the Serb, but Spurs were not able to launch a single attack from the left until the 41st minute.

Dempsey, who kept shifting from centre to left was hugely anonymous and was mostly waiting for the second ball off Defoe’s attacks. Defoe, being a traditional attacking striker often went for solo efforts on goal and did not utilize Dempsey well. AVB might consider the Adebayor- Dempsey in the future which could progress like Rafa’s.

Lennon plays his part

Aaron Lennon had started the game well deep in his half on the right. This was mainly di to the threat of Hazard and Cole on that flank. Lennon did well defensively, but AVB missed his trickery upfront. Tottenham never really utilized the space on the wings until the 24th minute where Lennon beat Cole and delivered a peach of a cross in. Actually, the wings were the ideal place to dominate Chelsea, as Cole is not particularly good at blocking crosses and Ivanovic can be shrugged off down the flank.

The Blues dominated the first 30 minutes of the game, similar to their start of the season. Hazard started on the left, and despite all his pace and trickery was well watched by Walker. Mata and Oscar ran the show really for the Blues and the Brazilian 20 year old star showed immense maturity in shifting positions with the inspired Ramires.

Oscar and Torres

Oscar was seen marking the deepest midfielder against Juventus and Arsenal, and today he was covering Huddlestone for a large part of the match. Torres was influential in such situations, as the Spaniard often took up the role of covering the other free-man Sandro and that left Tottenham’s defense to look for long balls.

In attack, Torres easily slipped of the marking of Caulkar on many occasions and should have buried one of his chances. Again Oscar was influential here, as his presence was pulling out the appallingly poor Gallas.

AVB’s tactical changes

on fine form….

Neither of the coaches made any substitutions at half time, but AVB changed the role of Clint Dempsey in the centre. Dempsey rarely strayed to the wings and was playing in his old Fulham role against. This increased his link up play with Defoe a lot, and started pulling out David Luiz from the back. In fact it was the Brazilian centre back’s foul on Dempsey that led to the first goal and against his poor reading of the American’s position that caused the second.

Chelsea seemed to be fazing out of the game with Spurs steamrolling the League leaders; but the quality of Chelsea mid 3 was undeniable. Walker had been able to cut out the threat of the in-cutting Hazard, and so Mata swapped wings with the Belgian. Mata’s much more direct play from the left caused problems to Walker and Hazard’s perfect through ball to Mata caught out Gallas again.

A spectacular show by the little magician

Spurs even though having improved in the second half, missed their Welsh magician terribly. Sigurdsson was providing width now but the crossing was nonexistent.

When AVB brought on Adebayor the game changed again as the ex- Arsenal and City man caused problems to Cahill in the air. Now Sigurdsson was shifted to the centre in his Swansea role with Defoe going left. This increased Tottenham’s fluidity but again the final ball from the likes of Lennon and Defoe. Lennon particularly was disappointing in his delivery, as the Englishman ran out of ideas in the final third.

AVB did not have the best of days against his former club, but Tottenham actually suffered due to the lack of depth in the squad. A day where AVB’s signings last year, Mata and Cahill, came back to haunt him, shows exactly how good a chance Chelsea have of going all the way this time.

About the author

Abhay Raj

Abhay is one of the editors of this website. He prefers to write only tactical analytical pieces on matches, players and coaches.
Abhay is a huge Arsenal fan, but Mourinho and AVB are his 2 preferred managers. He hates beautiful football and ultra-attacking football( arsenal-esq with both fullbacks attacking simultaneously), and is a huge fan of the defensive/reactive football that mourinho and simeone play

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