Christmas came early for Chelsea fans as the Blues managed a 2-0 win over arch rivals Spurs, hanging onto their fourth place spot as they headed into the festive period. The game had everything: VAR drama, a winning penalty and a red card. But most importantly, Frank Lampard came out victorious with Chelsea earning a much-needed three points against ex boss Jose Moruinho.
The boys in blue had a good game all round, putting in a fearless performance in one of their most important games of the season. Here are five things that stood out during that memorable match in North London…
Willian’s Still Got it
Of course, the first mention on our list goes to a well-deserving Brazalian. Not only did the 31-year-old find the back of the net just 12 minutes in, but he also scored the winning penalty in the latter stages of the first half. The Brazlian international, who was bought by Mourinho back in 2013, showed a desirable amount of worth ethic and energy throughout the match. His first goal came from a clever, quick one-two with Mateo Kovacic, putting the Blues ahead as the winger made the most of an early corner. Willian then got on the scoresheet once more – shooting right from the penalty spot with Paulo Gazzaniga going the wrong way. He was constantly going forward and finding acres of space alongside Mason Mount, with both of the attacking midfielders arguably the two best players on the pitch.
Frank Lampard: Tactical Masterclass
Not only did the players on the field put on a superb perform, but we must also give credit to the main man in charge: Mr Frank Lampard. The Chelsea boss went with a 3-4-3 formation ahead of the clash, with Alonso making his first league appearance since October. This selection definitely raised a few eyebrows before kick-off – however it completely threw off Mourinho, with his players unable to adapt to the surprising line-up. On Sunday, the Chelsea boss got the tactics spot on – securing his second win against Mourinho in his managerial career.
As always, the Chelsea midfield was one of the proudest talking points of the game with both N’Golo Kante and Kovacic putting in a spectacular performance. The midfielders controlled the game yet again with Kovacic displaying his leadership skills from the offset. Although Lampard brought off the Croatian with just over 20 minutes to go, he was replaced by the equally-talented Jorginho – proving the Blues’ strong selection in the centre of the park. Kante also had a tidy and energetic performance – but that was just a normal day in the office for the French international.
Solid Back Three
Although Chelsea’s defence has been questioned in recent times, the performance by Fikayo Tomori, Kurt Zouma and Antonio Rudiger was worth mentioning during their 2-0 win against Spurs. The relationship between the back three worked wonders, denying the Tottenham attack with any given opportunity despite the Lilywhites failing to pose much of a threat. It was a relief to see Tomori back in the squad, working alongside Zouma and Rudiger with Alonso and Azpilicueta playing their part on the wings.
Racism Is Still a Huge Problem in the Modern Game
Despite such a tireless performance from the Blues, the game was unfortunately overshadowed by the accounts of racism that took place during the 90 minutes. Yes, a London derby is known for its heated encounters – but a problem like racism deserves no place on the football pitch. In the second half of the game, alleged racist remarks were made towards Rudiger after Heung-Min Son was sent off for violent conduct on the defender. Tottenham have since released a statement on the incident, stressing the urge to tackle the problem and the Chelsea’s centre-back has also shared his views on the issue via social media. It’s a pity to end this list on such a sour note – but it’s important to address this problem in the hope that the issue will be solved sooner rather than later.