Twenty-eight years! Who cares how we did it? We won. Top four here we come!
First half, we struggled. Both these teams play better on the break but Chelsea were set up to play that way and we found ourselves with the kind of possession that we struggle with, getting slower and narrower as the half wore on, looking toothless.
A mistake at the back and we looked like we would struggle to get back on terms. Then, from nowhere, Christian Eriksen produced a goal so spectacular it defied the laws of the universe and the game flipped in a moment.
We came out in the second half and, for twenty minutes, dominated. Eriksen was thankfully central and Dele playing further forward, with Son wider.Two beautifully taken goals by Dele and then we had the composure and confidence to see out the game.
Lloris – 6
Yes, Hugo had another rush of blood and another misjudgement. It could so easily have been costly but it wasn’t and he handled well and made some good stops.
Sanchez – 6
Also arguably at fault for the goal and his ‘air block’ late on could have let Kante in for a second, but he was quick and effective otherwise.
Vertonghen – 7
I don’t think it was a red card on Hazard! Other than that he was superb. Some spectacular interceptions but mostly he doesn’t do spectacular – his organisation and reading of the game make his work look almost routine.
Davies – 5
When you play four at the back, especially against a team playing five, especially against a team whose attacking thrust comes from two wide players on the left and two on the right, you are going to be stretched. You have to have the four narrow and in touch, sacrificing wide space to major threats, and yet get out there quickly. Davies didn’t have a good game but part of the space he yielded (for the goal for instance) was structural.
Trippier – 6
Trippier worked hard, especially in the fruitless first half.
Dier – 7
Dier put himself about and was disruptive to the Chelsea midfield throughout. They say it’s a dream factory and certainly one of his ‘Hollywood’ passes finally came off -though, to be honest, a ball like that should never produce the result that Dele’s touch afforded. It was, however, a case of someone looking for Dele and Dele looking for something and making those runs he hasn’t often made this year. So, more power to Eric – well done!
Dembele – 6
Lamela – 6
A major feature of this game was Lamela bringing a South American flavour to a London local derby. He was combative and aggressive throughout, treading a fine line with arms and lunges, even on the edge of his own box. When we struggled in the first half, it offered a kind of buoyancy as he worked relentlessly to make something happen. In the end, he didn’t really have an impact on the outcome.
Dele – 8
There are several things he is exceptional at. He made one of his last year’s late runs into the area, coming along the line to signal to the ball player and then timing his run through. The second thing is quick feet and a sublime touch. Both goals featured this. He was certainly ‘up for the game’ throughout. We’ve all criticised him at times this year but I could not be more delighted that he answered those who have slagged him off, not too many of whom, I hope, were ever from within our own camp.
Eriksen – 9
He won the game by making our team feel they could come out in the second half and make a real fist of it. That shot for his goal was one of the most exciting you’re ever likely to see. His touch for the pass that set up the third was sublime (and he was rightly giving Sonny a hard time for not laying the ball off … even after we’d scored it!). They gave him too much space throughout the first half – you can’t do that with a player who already seems to have more time on the ball and the ability to see opportunities and the technique to seize them.
Son – 6
Made a strong run for the third goal and then got lucky with an assist when he should have already passed to at least two other players with golden opportunities in the course of the move. He is more threatening coming in from wide and, although he shouldn’t carry the can for this, he was part of the problem in the first half as Spurs got bogged down trying to play through packed central areas.
Miracles are now on the programme as Harry Kane got off his physio couch in double quick time and played. So did Wanyama and Sissoko.
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