Tottenham Hotspur 1-4 Chelsea (7 Nov, 2023) Game Analysis

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Tottenham Hotspur’s hopes of returning to the top of the Premier League were dashed in extraordinary fashion as they lost 4-1 at home to Chelsea on Monday in a frenetic London derby that they finished with nine men.

A hat-trick from Nicolas Jackson secured a triumphant return to Spurs for Mauricio Pochettino as he achieved the biggest result of his short Chelsea tenure, although few could have imagined how this would be achieved on a stunning night in north London.

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Previously unbeaten Tottenham took the lead after six minutes thanks to Dejan Kulusevski’s deflected shot and minutes later a second goal from Son Heung-Min was disallowed for offside.

But in scenes reminiscent of the infamous Battle of the Bridge in 2016, when Chelsea upset the title hopes of Pochettino’s Tottenham side, the hosts’ evening unraveled.

Cristian Romero was sent off after a VAR check for a dangerous tackle that resulted in a penalty scored by Cole Palmer, after which Spurs lost two players to injury.

Destiny Udogie received a second yellow card ten minutes after half-time, leaving the hosts trying to hold on to a point.

Chelsea finally made their numerical advantage count when Jackson put them ahead from close range in the 75th minute – the goal standing after another VAR check for offside.

Tottenham had an equalizer from substitute Eric Dier which was ruled out for offside and Son saw an injury-time effort saved by Robert Sanchez before Jackson rounded it off with two extra-time tries for the delighted Chelsea fans.

A first league defeat for Australian Ange Postecoglou leaves Spurs in second place with 26 points from eleven games, one behind champions Manchester City. Chelsea’s fourth win of the season moved them to 10th place with 15 points.

Tottenham enjoyed their best start to a top-flight season since 1960, with Postecoglou becoming the first manager to go unbeaten in his first ten Premier League games.

Michael Oliver shows a red card to Tottenham’s Destiny Udogie during their Premier League match against Chelsea.

When Pape Matar gave Sarr Kulusevski a ball and the Swede’s shot deflected off Levi Colwill, wrong-footing Sánchez and rolling into the net, the stadium was turned upside down.

Chelsea initially looked for shadows and breathed a sigh of relief when Son’s effort was ruled out for offside, but then Tottenham’s world began to collapse around them.

The spark was a petulant kick from Romero at Colwill that went unpunished in the build-up to a Raheem Sterling goal that was ruled out for handball after another VAR check.

Minutes later, Chelsea had the ball in the net again when Moises Caicedo drilled a low shot inside the post after a frantic struggle, although it was again ruled out for offside.

However, the VAR check ended when referee Michael Oliver looked at an on-pitch monitor and awarded a penalty before showing Romero a red card for a wild tackle on his Argentina teammate Enzo Fernandez in the build-up.

After seven minutes of baffling confusion, Palmer stepped up to power his penalty home via the post, despite the best efforts of Spurs’ excellent keeper Guglielmo Vicario.

Things got worse for Tottenham when James Maddison rolled his ankle and was unable to continue before Micky Van de Ven’s hamstring gave way as he chased down a counter-attack.

With four of their starting lineups no longer on the field. Spurs survived twelve minutes of injury time in the first half, but the wind was completely taken out of their sails.

Only ten minutes into the second half when Udogie was sent off for an ill-timed tackle on Sterling.

Chelsea bombarded Tottenham’s goal but the home fans turned up the volume and roared with every tackle and clearance.

Spurs made two more changes within the hour, with Sarr and Kulusevski replaced by Rodrigo Bentancur and Oliver Skipp. This meant that the home side were now missing seven of the players who started the incident-filled derby.

Jackson finally broke Tottenham’s resistance with a tap-in from Sterling’s pass and the Senegalese forward rubbed salt in the home side’s wounds with two more goals at the death.

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