5 Things Learned: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Chelsea | Premier League
Spurs condemned Chelsea to another defeat, in convincing 2-0 win
Goals from Oliver Skipp and Harry Kane were enough to see off a poor Chelsea side, as Spurs defeated their London rivals 2-0 in a fiery derby on Sunday afternoon.
Chelsea started the game well and controlled the early proceedings without creating any meaningful chances.
Tottenham grew into the match and came close to breaking the deadlock, after Pierre Emile Hojberg’s shot deflected off a Chelsea defender and onto the post with Kepa Arrizabalaga stranded.
The blues fought back and took a few pot shots courtesy of Joao Felix and Enzo Fernandez, before Raheem Sterling created his sides best opening, testing Fraser Forster with a curling effort who could only spill the ball back into his box before Tottenham cleared their lines.
The first half was low on moments of attacking quality, but jam packed full of fiery incidents in what was a typically feisty London derby. Tensions eventually boiled over at the end of the half, after a challenge from Havertz on Richarlison led to a mass melee with Emerson Royal and Hakim Ziyech in the thick of things. Ziyech was initially sent off for his shove on Emerson, but it was quickly rescinded after VAR intervened.
Spurs did not take long to get going in the second half, and were in front inside a minute of the restart. Spurs worked the ball out to Emerson Royal, who’s initial shot was saved and cleared only as far as Oliver Skipp, who duly slammed his half volley over Kepa and in via the crossbar to send his supporters into raptures.
Chelsea pushed back in search of an equaliser, but again struggled to create any good goal scoring opportunities, before Harry Kane eventually sealed the win for Spurs late on. A Tottenham corner was flicked on by Eric Dier, who found Harry Kane free at the back post who hooked in his effort to condemn the blues to their first defeat in nine against their bitter rivals.
Here are five things Absolute Chelsea learned from Sunday’s loss in the capital.
1) Pressure on Potter mounts
Another defeat for Chelsea means inevitably the heat will turn up on their struggling head coach Graham Potter. The hierarchy at the club have stuck with their man so far, but a loss to bitter rivals Spurs will be a difficult defeat to overcome for many around Stamford Bridge. The major problem for Graham Potter is that his side do not look capable of winning games at the moment. Chelsea are lacking identity in the way they are playing football, and it is difficult to see the direction the club are trying to go in on the field. It is also hard to see which players have actively improved under Potter thus far and the longer this goes on, the more difficult it will be to justify his position.
With another grudge match against Leeds looming next weekend, followed by a huge Champions league tie against Borussia Dortmund at Stamford Bridge, Graham Potter must start picking up results or at least show signs of improvement, if he is to tame the increasingly unhappy fanbase.
2) Chelsea still lacking firepower in attack
Another game, another blunt attacking performance from Chelsea. Kai Havertz returned in attack after being dropped for the match against Southampton, yet it was more of the same from him and his attacking colleagues in blue against Spurs. Whether Chelsea create chances like they did against Dortmund or not doesn’t seem to matter, Chelsea cannot buy a goal at the moment. Beyond a decent opening for Raheem Sterling in the first half, Chelsea never really looked like creating a goal scoring opportunity. What is worrying for the blues is that they cannot get goals from other avenues either. Goals are not coming from set pieces and long shots don’t seem to threaten either. Of all of Graham Potters issues at Chelsea, the lack of goals and goal threat is emerging as the biggest, and by a distance.
3) Injury Woes Continue
Chelsea’s lengthy injury list has been a major talking point throughout their season thus far, and with many long term absentees returning over recent weeks, it seemed as though the mini crisis was over. Yet Chelsea again find themselves without a key player, losing veteran defender Thiago Silva early into the first half after Harry Kane awkwardly fell onto his leg. Aged 38, Silva has arguably been Chelsea’s best player this season, and had gone on his longest run without an injury. Ironically Chelsea rested Silva for the defeat against Southampton in order to preserve him for the coming weeks, however they now face a nervy wait to see how long Silva will be missing, with an important Champions league tie with Borussia Dortmund looming.
4) European football slipping away
With another defeat in the league, it means Chelsea have only picked up three points from their last five league matches, and they now sit fourteen points behind fourth placed Spurs. Chelsea are not showing signs of improvement on the pitch, but the rather gaping lack of points is becoming an increasingly unignorably large issue for the blues. A fourteen point gap to Spurs seems insurmountable at this point, but if Chelsea don’t start picking up wins sooner or later they will struggle to catch any of the teams above them. With Fulham, Brighton and Brentford showing no signs of slowing down, and Newcastle and Liverpool both in much better form, all European places may start to slip away rather quickly, unless Chelsea can unrest this slump rapidly, as unfortunately, numbers don’t lie.
5)Aubameyang and Fofana due a chance?
With the rest of Chelsea’s attackers struggling, there is an increasingly compelling case to give Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and/or David Datro Fofana minutes up front. The loss of promising youngster Armando Broja to a long term injury has been unfortunate, but Chelsea still have strikers in their squad which they continue to leave unused. Kai Havertz is clearly struggling to play as a natural striker, and clearly struggles with the physicality of the role, so it is becoming increasingly peculiar that Chelsea operate without a natural striker. Aubameyang may not be part of Graham Potters long term plans, but his natural goal scoring instincts are what Chelsea are sorely missing right now. Fofana, also played well in his half against Southampton. Maybe it is time Potter gave them a chance, as other attackers are not doing enough at present to keep them out of the side.