It’s match day, and more importantly Derby Day, as Chelsea get ready to host their fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspurs at Stamford Bridge. It is an early 12:30pm kick-off (cheers for that Sky) for this crucial game, as both teams are battling for a place in the top four. Tottenham are currently one point behind Chelsea, and could overtake the Blues with a victory. Chelsea have failed to win their last five matches, and this race is undoubtedly wide open. Fans have even started showing their contempt at the lack of results, and Chelsea need a solid performance and three points to remind everyone what they are capable of. The lineups were announced and Frank Lampard kept his faith in Willy Caballero. Giroud, Alonso and Ross Barkley also came back into the side as well, while Michy Batshuayi was dropped after his awful performance against United. It was nice to see Ruben Loftus-Cheek back on the bench as well, though he would not see any minutes in the match. As we edged closer to kick off, the nerves started to kick in – let’s hope the boys in blue can bounce back and get three points.
The first half was underway and the atmosphere at the Bridge showed that the fans were pumped and ready. Chelsea started the game in fine fashion and were rewarded early as Olivier Giroud scored a terrific goal giving the Blues the lead. The goal stemmed from Barkley’s shot hitting off the post initially, and then finished by a fantastic strike from the Frenchman. It was the perfect start for the Blues, and they almost doubled their lead not long after as Marcos Alonso was mere inches from finding the back of the net; an impressive volley, but sailed just over the crossbar. Tottenham were not in the game at all, and it was imperative that Chelsea secure a second goal in order to kill the game off. Spur’s best chance came from a corner, but Willy Caballero made an outstanding save and kept the Blues in front. The whistle blew for half time and marked the end of a brilliant opening 45 minutes for Chelsea. Both teams had a lot of work to do in the second half.
The second half kicked off and was a crucial 45 minutes at the Bridge. Three minutes in and Chelsea doubled their lead through Alonso. It was a lovely team effort- the run from Mason Mount as he laid it off to Barkley, who then teed Marcos Alonso up at the edge of the box as he smashed it home and put the Blues in firm control. Alonso, who was brought back into the side after a long stretch of not seeing any minutes, did not disappoint as he always loves to score against the Spurs. The atmosphere around the grounds was electric. Few moments later, Lo Celso made a horrific challenge on Azpilicueta. The decision went to VAR for a possible red card, but yet again, VAR failed to give the correct decision. It was shocking as the challenge from Lo Celso was a leg breaker. In fact, later on in the game VAR confirmed that Lo Celso should have been sent off. But moving on, Chelsea had more chances to put the nail in coffin, but failed to convert as Tammy was denied by Lloris. Moments later, Alonso hit the cross bar from a free kick. Spurs pulled one goal back in the dying minutes of the game however, when Lamela’s low strike deflected off Rudiger and found its way into the net. Four minutes were awarded for added time, and you could feel the nerves emanating throughout the stadium. Fortunately, the Blues managed to hang on and defeated Spurs for the second time this season. The apprentice had done the double over the master. It was a fantastic performance from the Blues, putting them four points clear of Tottenham in this tight race for top four.
Willy Caballero: 8
Reece James: 7
Andreas Christensen: 9
Mateo Kovacic: 7
Ross Barkley: 7
Mason Mount: 8
Oliver Giroud: 8
Tammy Abraham: 6
Lampard: “Everybody knew they’d made a mistake,” said Frank Lampard. “We obviously have the monitor and can view it. I was waiting for the red card to be shown. Not with real pleasure because it’s just a tackle which endangers a player. That’s what VAR was brought in for, to see things the referees on the pitchside don’t see. And it’s just not good enough.”
The system only works if the players play like they did, if Mount and Barkley are mobile around Giroud, if the back three don’t sit off. He is satisfied with how it worked today.
What’s next for Chelsea ?
That game was one hell of a ride. Frank Lampard’s trust in Giroud paid off as he put on a fantastic display. The entire team put in a satisfactory performance, and Chelsea managed to get the crucial three points in the London Derby. Frank Lampard has now defeated Jose Mourinho three times, and it was beautiful watching him celebrate, whilst on the other touchline Jose was sulking. Chelsea have to keep this up as the race for top four is still very tight and any kind of slip can ruin their chances. They will now prepare for a very tough fixture against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday. Let’s hope the boys can build on the momentum from this game and give us another night to remember.
UP THE CHELS!