Chelsea 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0
Olivier Giroud returned to Chelsea’s starting line-up and scored his sixth goal of the season to inspire the Blues to a deserved win over Tottenham Hotspur in Saturday’s lunch time kick off at Stamford Bridge. Many had wondered why the France World Cup winner hadn’t featured more during Tammy Abraham’s injury enforced absence, and if there was any doubt as to what the 33 year old still brings to his team, it was all evident in west London.
Olivier Giroud (R) turns to celebrate Chelsea’s opener against Spurs
The former Arsenal man added a different dimension, a pivot for the attacks, and his hold up play bears all the hallmarks of an experienced striker. True he has never been blessed with pace, and that might have been one reason for his past omission by manager Frank Lampard.
Having instigated a 2-0 win over Spurs at the Tottenham Hostpur stadium last December, Lampard completed the double over Jose Mourinho’s side when Marcos Alonso doubled Chelsea’s lead. A late Antonio Rudiger own goal added nerves for Chelsea, but Lampard’s side held on for their first Premier League win in their last five games.
Spurs started brightly and threatened when Lucas Moura worked an opening, interchanging passes with Tanguy Ndombele, but Willy Caballero saved the Brazilian’s low shot to his right. Chelsea responded with a swift counter move. Masson Mount forced a near post save from Hugo Lloris after a sortie from the left. Confidently passing through the midfield, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic combined to make the Blues tick, with Ross Barkley and Giroud providing ample attacking focal points.
Marcos Alonso’s 20 yard strike doubled Chelsea’s lead
Shorn of the attacking prowess of Harry Kane and now Heung-Min Son who fractured his arm in last week-end’s dramatic 3-2 win at Aston Villa, Spurs were reliant of Moura and January signing Steven Bergwijn. However, they proved to be no able stand-ins for their absent lethal strike force duo.
Chelsea took the lead after fifteen minutes. Jorginho fed Giroud, and his initial shot, was parried away by Lloris but back out into the danger area. Barkley’s follow up thumped the post, but there was Giroud who didn’t hesitate from the rebound to smash in the opening goal at Lloris’ near post. VAR checked for a possible offside, but this time the goal was given as Lampard celebrated in his technical area.
Harry Winks and Giovani Lo Celso tried to get Spurs back in the match. Both employ a robust game, both received yellow cards here, and in Lo Celso’s case, he was fortunate to escape punishment after what appeared to be a stamp on Cesar Azpilicueta. A VAR check however ruled otherwise.
Troubling times. Jose Mourinho ponders his lack of strike power
Mid way through the first half, Chelsea went in search of a second. Alonso curled just over bar from a follow up after a free kick. On the substitute’s bench, Dele Alli helplessly looked on as Spurs just couldn’t get going. Then Lo Celso set about trying re-address the balance. It was from his corner that Davinson Sanchez’s flicked header was tipped over the bar by Caballero. Moments later, Sanchez’s long pass out from deep found Japhet Tanganga on the right. His touch took him beyond the advancing Cabellero, but unfortunately for Spurs, beyond the touchline for a goal kick to spare the Blues’ keeper’s blushes.
Three minutes after the re-start, Chelsea doubled their advantage. From a throw in deep on the Blues right, Mount squared to Barkley as a stretched Spurs back line desperately back peddled. Barkley teed up Alonso to his left and without breaking his stride, the Spain defender fired past Lloris from 20 yards. Barkley almost grabbed an immediate Chelsea third, but Lloris tipped his fierce drive over for a corner.
Lampard celebrates a Premier League double over Spurs
On the hour mark, Spurs tried a different approach. Tanguy Ndombele burst through on Caballero’s goal, but the impressive Reece James was strong in his defence to thwart the France midfielder.
Giroud made way for Abraham on 70 minutes to applause of appreciation from the home fans. When Alli was finally introduced for Bergwijn eight minutes later, there was still time for Spurs to try to claw their way back into the game. However, Lloris was being kept busy keeping out Abraham and substitute Willian’s efforts, while an Alonso free kick struck his upright late on.
Erik Lamela’s late deflected shot went in off Antonio Rudiger
When Moura and substitute Erik Lamela combined to finally get Spurs on the score sheet after the Argentine’s shot came off Rudiger for an own goal, it proved to be too little too late for Spurs. It was ten years ago when he was with Inter Milan that Mourinho last won at Stamford Bridge as a visiting manager. That sequence was never really threatened here, as Chelsea consolidated their grip on fourth place, and are now have a four point cushion over fifth placed Spurs.