Five alive Spurs beat Chelsea
Written By: Robert Halter
Tottenham Hotspur looked to start the New Year in style with home advantage against the Blues. In the third minute, Nabil Bentaleb tried his luck from range but a low daisy cutter was mowed down by Thibaut Courtois in the Chelsea goal as Spurs tried to press the game early at White Hart Lane. But the Lilywhites lost Ryan Mason, who pulled up with a calf strain and Mousa Dembele took up the cause. On the quarter of the hour mark, Spurs were inventive as Nacer Chadli’s scissors kick was pushed out by Courtois at his near post, after link up play between Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane. Although the Blues went into first gear and forged ahead in the eighteenth minute which started from a long throw out by Courtois which left Eden Hazard to spearhead the attack and as his low strike cannoned off the foot of the far post, Oscar laid the ball on a plate for Diego Costa, who tapped the ball in from a short distance past a stranded Hugo Lloris. On the twenty fourth minute, a Chelsea penalty appeal was turned away after Oscar’s strike in the area touched the hand of Jan Vertonghen and the Blues pushed forward again as Oscar pulled a low strike narrowly wide of the right post, after Costa paved the way through. But it was back to level pegging on twenty nine minutes with a piece of individual brilliance by Harry Kane, after his weaving run ended with his shot driving through the gap of John Terry and Gary Cahill, as the pace and speed of the ball left Courtois helpless, as Kane’s shot nestled into the bottom left corner. Incredibly Spurs turned the game around in the forty fourth minute as from Eriksen’s soaring run, he slid the ball through to Chadli, who beat Courtois to the chase and as the ball went past the Blues keeper and clipped the left post, Danny Rose was the poacher in the box to roll the ball into the net as the Spurs left back scored an uncustomary goal. It took the Lilywhites to greater heights as on the stroke of half time, Chadli hacked down Kane in the area and after referee Phil Dowd awarded a penalty, Andros Townsend hammered the spot kick into the right side of the goal. Before the re-start, Chelsea took off Oscar and brought on Ramires and in the fiftieth minute, Ramires made his first impact on the game by rallying forward before Hazard blazed over. But Spurs were in dreamland, as the Lilywhites went 4-1 up a minute later, when Chadli orchestrated the move for Kane to fine tune the finish, after turning past Nemanja Matic and then driving the ball through Terry’s legs into the right area of the net. Although the Blues pulled a goal back on the hour mark as Federico Fazio gave the ball away to Hazard, who combined with Fabregas and in turn Hazard rammed the ball into the target. Spurs soon made a change by taking off Townsend for Paulinho and after two minutes on the field, Paulinho gave the initiative for Kane to shoot in the area, but the ball brushed past the face of the goal. Blues boss Jose Mourinho was then livid after a challenge by Fazio on Hazard in the area which was not accounted for. Another Chelsea change was made as Willian was replaced by Mohamed Salah. In the seventy fourth minute, Lloris was forced to make a save at full stretch to keep out Cesar Azpilicueta’s fierce low shot, following a back heel by Costa. However it was game up for the Blues in the seventy seventh minute, as Kane masterminded the move which ended with Chadli smashing an unstoppable strike which ricocheted off Terry past a helpless Courtois to put Spurs further ahead. In the eighty third minute, a Ramires shot went fractions wide of the far post, after a ball over the top from Fabregas. But from a Fabregas free kick, Hazard supplied Branislav Ivanovic, who laid the ball off to Terry to score from close range and bring the result back to 5-3, following an infringement by Vertonghen on Hazard. In added time, Fabregas bent the ball towards the top corner, only to be denied by the frame of the goal and Lloris’s finger tips from a high rising ball by Ivanvovic.