Red cards, blue-on-blue attacks, a 96th-minute equalizer, spectacular, high-energy football, and wonderful, high-octane mayhem characterized Chelsea vs Spurs match.
Manchester United’s fall from grace and Erling Haaland’s dramatic entrance are intriguing storylines. But this (Chelsea vs Tottenham) was the match that really got the season began.
There was nasty behavior and bad blood. Regardless, there was also fantastic football and one of those times that demanded to be observed. Who could anyone ignore this? Chelsea is the better team, but Tottenham has found fresh tenacity under Antonio Conte.
In the game’s final crucial deed, Harry Kane had just leveled for Tottenham. Chelsea were once again cheated by a foul that should have nullified Tottenham’s threat. Tuchel refused to let go of the handshake between the two managers. Threats were made verbally and possibly physically. Coaches from both teams, as well as some of the players, jumped in.
Taylor emerged out of nowhere, accompanied by two flashes of red. Even so, Conte could still be seen exchanging harsh words with one of his former Chelsea players, Cesar Azpilicueta. It took some time for the heat to die down. The FA will, understandably, become involved as well.
The rest of us, on the other hand, will be split between disapproval and enjoyment of the show. Nothing makes this league happier than a management blunder. Their argument, though, should not overshadow the game, which was as exciting and compelling.
Chelsea believed they had won it twice. First, they dominated the first 45 minutes, taking a merited lead, and then Reece James made it 2-1 after 77 minutes. Another source of annoyance will be the fact that it took the Spurs 99 minutes — including stoppage time — to get their message through.
Chelsea had played excellent defense, led by Thiago Silva. They do, however, require a striker to make their possession count. Chelsea were clearly the superior team, but they were always one counter-attack or set-piece away from conceding points. As it turned out.
This was the game that was supposed to be a litmus test for Tottenham’s progress under Conte, and they ultimately passed it. The result was better than the performance, but teams with more fully formed lineups than Spurs will be content with a point at Chelsea.
With so much invested in the Conte revolution, both financially and spiritually, the first half must have been a letdown, but by the final whistle, the away end was singing their manager’s name to the rafters.
However, throughout the better part of an hour, Chelsea were far superior and merited their lead, while Tottenham’s impact on the game was minor.
Marc Cucurella’s Chelsea have an exceptionally aggressive presence, and he did not disappoint when he was chosen to Ben Chilwell on the left. He certainly enjoys a good tackle and made a lot of them. Cristian Romero was knocked to the ground by one, and it wasn’t until Cucurella rushed over to take a short throw-in that the Tottenham man began rolling around grabbing his ankle.
Referee Taylor fell for it and paused the Chelsea counter-attack so Romero could be treated. He remained on the ground, but no physio crossed the white line. It was a foreshadowing of dirtier tricks to come.
Tuchel understood exactly how he intended to attack Tottenham and was amused when N’Golo Kante chose to roll the ball wide rather than through the middle.
He hopped around, cursing openly over the crowd — the first capacity event at Stamford Bridge since the sanctions.
Chelsea, on the other hand, was gaining confidence. In the 18th minute, a Kante through pass that Tuchel approved of reached Raheem Sterling, who smartly offloaded it to Kai Havertz, Chelsea’s false nine won a corner.
Cucurella blasted it in from the left, and it fell to an unprotected Kalidou Koulibaly, who fired a right-foot volley on the slice that spun through the throng and in. Given that he was hired for his no-nonsense defense, it was a nice bonus.
The score remained unchanged until Tottenham’s equalizer. Jorginho lost possession after overcomplicating in his own area, and Son Heung-min ultimately got the ball through to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who beat Edouard Mendy with a low drive.
Chelsea had already been shaken by previous events. Rodrigo Bentancur, on the other hand, committed a rather apparent foul on Havertz that Taylor deemed fair.
Tuchel was enraged even more when Conte’s celebrations encroached on the Chelsea area. Both were booked after they faced off. When James restored Chelsea’s advantage by latching onto Sterling’s pass after a Tottenham move broke down and slamming the ball through Hugo Lloris,
Tuchel’s celebration sent him on a Mourinho-style gallop down the touchline, speeding through Spurs territory. Yes, it was childish, but it was also really entertaining. Now for the second equalizer. It came after Spurs corners that Chelsea claims should have been stopped by a foul by Romero on Cucurella.
They have a valid point. The corner before the goal, Romero tugged the Chelsea player’s long hair sharply, hindering his mobility. It was an obvious foul, yet Taylor also missed it.
So there should not have been another corner, but rather a Chelsea free kick. Ivan Perisic curled it in instead, Kane caught the flick, and James couldn’t stop it at the far post.
High levels of enthusiasm, energy, and tension. I’m not saying it was fair, but weren’t we entertained?