Chelsea 3-0 Tottenham: Blues Stutter Spurs Hopes Again
After Tottenham Hotspur failed to make their mark against Manchester United, it was take two for Harry Redknapp, going toe-to-toe with a Champions League opposition. The ninety minutes were set to look at whether Tottenham could in fact beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge; the last twenty years said that they couldn’t.
Didier Drogba was the first man intent on keeping this record safe and he looked furious when he was put through on goal to find he was in an offside position. Replays suggest that he was perhaps level but Chelsea were left to soldier on.
Jose Bosingwa once again was presented with the opportunity to show off his attacking prowess and saw his shot ricochet off of the upright. Jermain Defoe was doing the shooting at the other end but must have been caught between two minds firing at the legs of Petr Cech.
Neither Wilson Palacios nor Jermain Jenas had any reservations about their long ranged power efforts, but Cech was equal to Palacios and Jenas fired wide; Tottenham were on top, but were goalless.
Nicolas Anelka, like Bosingwa, shot from a difficult angle on the right hand side and Anelka’s shot, although having a great deal of power, was just the wrong side of the net. With so much of the play coming from the right, Drogba’s cross to the left found the head of Ashley Cole. Cole’s contact on the ball hard and low slid past his former teammate, Carlo Cudicini, in the Tottenham net.
The first half didn’t see too many additional chances, after the goal, for the home side; partly due to Drogba’s decision to spend more time on the floor than generating goalmouth threats. The scoreline could have looked better for the Chelsea faithful, but at half-time the score was 1-0.
The teams lined up the same for the second half as they did for the first. Aaron Lennon, sitting behind the strikers instead of his favoured wide position and it did not appear advantageous for Tottenham. Based on today’s performance, the danger he did create was when either forced wide or coming from a wide position.
Tottenham’s luck went from bad to worse with Ledley King being substituted due to another injury. Alan Hutton was the replacement. Lady luck seemed further from the Spurs fans after Robbie Keane was taken down inside the box by Ricardo Carvalho. Referee Howard Webb waved away the protests although Keane protested and protested after the sliding challenge.
The goals were seemingly only meant for Chelsea, another right sided attack saw Anelka crossed to Drogba who battled hard but fair to get his shot away which Cudicini assumed he put round the post. Lampard, however, was faster than any other Spurs player keeping the ball in when it looked to be out for a corner. The quickest flash of a pass found a sliding Michael Ballack and Cudicini didn’t have a chance after initially saving a good shot from Drogba. Chelsea had been looking to substitute Ballack for Jon Obi Mikel, but will feel fortunate they didn’t. But once the goal came it was time for Ballack to make way.
The scorer of the first goal, in the shape of Ashley Cole, turned provider playing route one football to Drogba whose pace was exceptional for the man with a six-foot-two frame. Vedran Ćorluka did get his tackle in, but only to perfectly send the ball past Cudicini, Drogba then ran round the other side of Cudicini to apply to finish and credit himself with the goal.
Mikel came closer than anybody else to make the game 4-0. His shot accurate but Cudicini seemed to have matched it. Almost calamitously he spilled the ball and it was heading to trickle into the net, Cudicini saved his blushes by getting back to scramble to ball wide. Soloman Kalou was another post smasher but the game finished 3-0 after an incredibly high eight minutes of added time.
Harry Redknapp will be disappointed with the performance of his side and may struggle to find positives out of this game. Chelsea continued their dominance to make six wins out of six and, as a result, are sitting comfortably at the top of the table. Wigan Athletic stand in their way next in the league, can Roberto Martinez prevent seven wins out of seven?