Gameweek five ended with a London Derby between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. Chelsea left the stadium with 3 points and scoring 3 goals in the second half. Let us look at how Tuchel’s men lined up against Spurs.
Before the match started, the fantastic career and life of Jimmy Greaves was remembered as he passed away few hours before the match. A moment that united both set of fans as Greaves played for both the London clubs but as soon as the whistle blew, there was no looking back.
Slow first half Blues falter in Tottenham Hotspur stadium
The first half ended at 0-0 but Tottenham looked more dangerous than Chelsea. Tuchel used his trademark 3-4-2-1 formation, Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta on the flanks. Mason Mount and Kai Havertz played just behind Romelu Lukaku, the lone striker. At time the front three rotated to make it front two of Havertz and Lukaku supported by Mount. Even though Chelsea had few good chances, Spurs were the more threatening side for most of the first half.
Nuno Espirito Santo made an interesting change in positioning of his players to counter Tuchel’s tactics. Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son swapped their roles, which meant Son was playing as a number 9 and Kane on the left. Tanguy Ndombele was on the right while duo of Delle Alli and Giovani Lo Celso had much more room in midfield. Because of Spurs compact structure, Chelsea had to be compact when off the ball, not allowing Azpilicueta to make runs to launch a counter attack.
As Spurs deployed more men in the center area of the field, winning the ball back in midfield became difficult. Lukaku had to, at times, drop deep and help out. Mason Mount was the one who was launching some counter attacks but in vein as Chelsea could not bring it’s full backs into play.
The interesting point to notice was whenever Chelsea got the ball in Spurs’ half. Kane dropped back while Lo Celso and Son stayed forward, leaving a lot of space in midfield. Chelsea was not able to exploit this space in midfield with both Mount and Havertz forward and Kovacic mostly on the left to provide cover. A change was needed if Chelsea wanted to win the match. Thomas Tuchel noticed this and made the necessary changes after the first half, bringing on Kante for Mason Mount.
European Champions on display in second half blitz
Thomas Tuchel made one change at half-time, N’Golo Kante was brought on for Mason Mount. Kante made his return after the ankle injury at Anfield. With this substitution Chelsea gained full control of the match and dispatched Spurs beautifully.
Kante’s inclusion completely changed the whole complexion of the match and Tuchel’s mastermind was at show again. Kante’s speed, ability to carry the ball forward and also defend was the main difference between both halves. Havertz and Lukaku played up top and Kante was the advanced midfielder on the left side. But Kante did not play as forward as Mount played this meant Chelsea now had an extra man in midfield.
The first goal came from a well taken corner from Marcos Alonso and a spectacular header from Thiago Silva. Silva showed strength to get ahead of Delle Alli and perfectly head the ball past Lloris. The second goal was the result of the perfect substitution. As Kante arrived on the pitch Chelsea were more comfortable pressing high and letting players move forward. On one such occasion, Mateo Kovacic won the ball from a Spurs player a few yards away from the box and squared it to Kante. He takes a go and with help of Dier’s deflection, the ball went past Lloris.
The final goal of the match was assisted by Timo Werner and how important was this for him and fans. It was Rudiger inside the box who made a first time shot into the back of the net. Chelsea played like European Champions and Tuchel showed everyone why he is the best manager in Europe. He was bold to make changes in his structure which completely outclassed Nuno’s Spurs.
Lukaku presence felt despite not scoring against Tottenham
Even though Lukaku was not on the score sheet, his physical presence and ability to hold off defenders played a key role in both the halves. Havertz and Mount had a slow day because of Spurs first half structure, which did not allow them to be more creative and have supply when off the ball. Azpilicueta, despite his age and having to deal with Kane and Delle Alli did well to hold of young Sergio Reguilon.
Marcos Alonso was amazing once again. The trust and faith that Tuchel has in him has surely helped him, world class performances every gameweek. Ben Chilwell has a big task if he wants to get back in the team. The London Derby was dominated by Chelsea defenders, which means even when the forwards are not firing on all cylinders the defenders can step-up and win matches.
Two goals from Thiago Silva and Rudiger and an assist by Marcos Alonso. Kante showed why he is one of the best midfielders in Europe. As soon as he put step on the ground the whole outlook of the match changed. Spurs were outclassed by an amazing Chelsea who now share the top of table with Liverpool.
Kepa returns and rewards faith after cleansheet against Tottenham
Kepa Arrizabalaga was called upon by Thomas Tuchel after Edouard Mendy suffered a injury mid-week against Zenit. It was his first Premier League start this season after the heroics in the Super Cup final. He has had his problems in goal and Mendy has performed exceptionally well to cement his place in playing 11. Any London Derby is a big match and Kepa had a big task at his disposal.
Kepa made some amazing and important saves throughout the match. His ball handling was one of the key aspects of his London Derby performance. But he might not be the first choice when Mendy returns but it was refreshing to see Kepa play an important match and gain some much needed confidence.
Evergreen Thiago Silva proves his worth once more with stellar performance
The London Derby was taken over by Chelsea defenders and one of those was the Brazilian Thiago Silva. He scored the first goal of the night with a perfectly placed header and gave Chelsea the lead early in the second half. His movement and strength in that goal showed exactly he is still one of the best center-backs in the world.
Not only did Thiago Silva score a goal, he was a brick wall in the defense too. In the first their were many instances where the rest of Chelsea defence switched off but Silva didn’t. One such occasion was in the first half when Spurs had a set piece on the left flank. They took the free-kick quickly, which allowed Kane to run behind the defense. The whole Chelsea was switched off but it was Thiago Silva who went shoulder to shoulder with Harry Kane and blocking the shot for a corner.
Thiago Silva, at his peak, was among the best center-backs. Even at his age, Silva is performing at the top level with utmost consistency. His leadership and ability to read the game helps Chelsea remain solid defence whenever the opponent strikes.
Written and Edited by Noah Robson (@noahrobson_)
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Written by Suryansh Somvanshi (@suryanshsomvans)
Edited by Tom Coley (@tomcoley49)
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