The previous three encounters between these two sides at Wembley have resulted in a Chelsea victory, one Capital One Cup final and two FA Cup semi finals. The build up to this fixture was overshadowed by Spurs’ poor form at the national stadium, losing on seven of their nine appearances. Many eyes were on Pochettino’s side to see if they had what it takes to overturn this so called ‘Wembley curse’ and to gain some momentum at their new, temporary home. After losing to Burnley last week Conte’s men were eager to bounce back, receiving a big boost when new signing Bakayoko started his first Premier League game for the club. The Chelsea line up appeared to be very defensive, with seven of the eleven men occupying a defensive role in the side such as David Luiz who played in midfield. There was also a big boost for Tottenham who saw Victor Wanyama and Kieran Trippier introduced to first team action after their injuries.
Chelsea started the game with a strong mentality, catching the Spurs midfield on multiple occasions and intercepting the ball frequently in Tottenham’s third of the pitch. Within the first five minutes of the game Chelsea could have been ahead through summer signing Alvaro Morata, who misplaced his header just wide of the goal. As the minutes ticked by Spurs slowly started to get hold of the game, seeing much more of the ball and creating chances in front of goal for the likes of Moussa Dembele. Half way through the first half and it was a trailing leg from Dele Alli on the edge of the box which resulted in a Chelsea free kick. Similar to how Spurs conceded the first goal in the FA Cup semi final at Wembley to Chelsea, both Willian and Alonso were over the ball creating a moment of deja vu for Spurs fans. Marcos Alonso, Chelsea’s free kick specialist stepped up and curled the ball right into the corner past Hugo Lloris, nothing Spurs could do about it and it came just at a time as they were building momentum. The rest of the first half saw Spurs continue to pressure Chelsea’s defence with efforts from Christian Eriksen and Ben Davies which were denied by Courtois. Harry Kane did beat the Chelsea keeper however his effort struck the post which build frustration around the stadium.
The second half began exactly how the first half had ended, with Spurs on top. Pochettino’s men continued to create many chances but still couldn’t find the back of the net, which forced an attacking substitution which turned out to change the game. Eric Dier was replaced by Heung-Min Son, this switch opened up the game as Spurs were desperately pressing to find an equaliser. As well as Spurs, Chelsea were also getting multiple chances on the counter attack which proved how important Dier is to this Spurs side, perhaps Wanyama should have made way instead of the Englishman. With just under ten minutes remaining of the match it was Chelsea substitute Batshuayi who headed the ball beyond his own goalkeeper resulting in a Spurs equaliser from a dangerous, curled Christian Eriksen free kick. All of a sudden the fans were bouncing and singing, Spurs had got the equaliser and began to push to find a winner with the stadium on their side. However holes were discovered in this attacking mentality when Chelsea’s counter attack in the 88th minute found Marcos Alonso on the edge of the area who hit a low, hard shot beating Lloris underneath his arm. The Frenchman couldn’t get down to the ball quick enough, Chelsea had yet another victory over Tottenham at Wembley.
Spurs put in a good performance at Wembley and deserved to get a point from the game. There will be many people talking about the ‘Wembley curse’ and the effect that it has on Spurs at their new temporary home, however I believe that a point would have been viewed as a positive result which will give Spurs confidence. The difference between the point and zero points was down to individual errors in the build up to the winning goal. Victor Wanyama, who has been very solid since arriving from Southampton last summer didn’t seem himself today. He was frequently intercepted and muscled off the ball, this could be down to fitness however. Tottenham were unlucky to not come away with a point today, but now face Burnley and Swansea in their next two Premier League home games at Wembley, a chance to gain some home momentum.
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