Tottenham v Chelsea: Premier League – live | Premier League
Sterling’s intelligence is the key, in spinning off Reece James’ pass, and then Jackson’s run is intelligent, and he cannot miss from there. Vicario was left wholly unprotected by the high line. That’s a big goal for the striker…there’s a VAR check for luck but that will stand. They took rather too long over that.
72 min: Tom Stock gets in touch, and perhaps needs to get into the spirit of things: “It’s a bit weird to say that Spurs’ championship challenge is over if they lose this game – by that theory no one is going to have a title challenge. Of course you need to make a story but this is an over the top line to take.”
As I said before, the person who is enjoying this most is Pep Guardiola.
71 min: Jeers as Gallagher clanks the ball out of play. Pochettino looks like he’s about to lose the plot himself.
70 min: Vicario goes down, at an opportune time. Drinks are taken on, and Pochettino has his arms round Gallagher and Mudryk. Vicario, after a check, can carry on, and to nobody’s surprise. Time wasted, thoughts gathered, it’s Chelsea who have to worry.
68 min: Cucurella suddenly has the freedom of the Tottenham half but Vicario has him in his sights, and as the Spaniard bears down, and cuts inside, the Italian smothers him and Skipp cuts across to clear to huge cheers. The goalkeeper has been brilliant.
68 min: Tottenham pushing up and playing offside, with Poch furious that Disasi and Mudryk fall for the trap. One day, perhaps this day, it’s all going to come off for Mudryk.
66 min: Hojberg smashes behind from a James cross. Chelsea take the corner short and keep working the ball. Mudryk clatters one into the stands. This is such a test for that forward line.
64 min: Chelsea need to clear their heads here. Vicario, who has been outstanding, plays what we used to know as “rush goalie” in running out and smashing the ball into the sky.
63 min: Richard Hirst: “Spurs down to six of their starting XI after about 55 minutes – pretty good going.” It’s now four.
62 min: Harold Harold gets in touch: “If it was anyone else than Chelsea, I’d be confident that a team facing nine men would win comfortably from this position. But Chelsea’s finishing, with the occasional exception of Cole Palmer, is just *dreadful*… They seem determined to be offside as often as possible and to be wasteful when actually onside.”
Yes, so much pressure on Chelsea now. The Tottenham Stadium is ringing with defiance, too.
61 min: Two more Spurs subs: Bentancur and Skipp on for Kulusevski and Sarr. Ange is going defensive…
59 min: Is facing nine men harder than facing ten? Chelsea are going to find out in the next 30 minutes. Vicario steps out to become an extra outfield player and soon enough has to watch a James shot fly wide.
58 min: Another Jackson chance, another Vicario save, and then Murdryk forces yet another one. An offside call quells the danger for now.
57 min: Chelsea sub: Mudryk replaces Fernandez. Poch has a plan.
56 min: Now Jackson misses a sitter. The ball landing on his head, only requiring the easiest of touches, and yet…Hojberg celebrates like a rugby union forward when the opposition’s scrum gives up a penalty.
All that spirit is surely crushed when Chelsea break three on two and then Udogie, having made an interception, lunges in, and that’s a clear second yellow.
53 min: Spurs chasing hard, pressing pressing pressing. Perhaps this is the way to play with 10. The crowd are loving it. Tottenham’s risk-taking values at their finest. Danny Blanchflower would approve…Vicario though is forced to make a save from a Sterling shot. The Italian palms clear. Then Bissouma shoots on goal…and now Chelsea break…
51 min: Son is isolated as Porro hoiks the ball long. Disasi has read the run well. This is still a real test for that Chelsea defence. Thiago Silva has remained notably cool.
49 min: There’s mistakes in Chelsea, too. Disasi almost lets Sarr rob him and play in Son, and then the ball whips straight down the other end as Gallagher launches an attack. Spurs playing on the counter but still wishing to commit players forward. They beat Luton with 10 men just last month so that will hold few fears.
48 min: Alexandra Ashton also gets in touch: “For the first 15 minutes I started to believe we could have a title tilt, playing Chelsea off the park. So much for that: Romero suspended for 3 matches is a massive miss, and VdV for possibly months is even worse. If Maddison came off due to injury as well that’s 3 of our most crucial players gone, and a squad in tatters.”
47 min: Cole Palmer, who took it to Tottenham from the start, wallops a shot wide. He’s become an important Chelsea player very quickly.
46 min: Spurs have decided to keep a high line…and Jackson almost escapes through it.
Martin Jachnik gets in touch: “How is Reece James still on the pitch as well? It’s wrestling, a forearm smash to the head. No I don’t want to see that. Football please.”
Half-time sub, and it’s a sensible one: Levi Colwill’s hot head is cooled down as Marc Cucurella’s curls replace him. We go again…
There’s been billions of emails, so thank you.
Kári Tulinius sums it up:
“What on Earth happened? Tottenham are really hopped up, the football team equivalent of Spud’s job interview in Trainspotting. How they went in at halftime still level baffles me.
Ian Sargeant: “Enjoying Heung Min Son’s Mikel Arteta impression.”
Rob Smith: “Pass the lasagna.”
Rob Knap: “I hope you’re getting time and a half tonight. It feels like the game began about two weeks ago. You’re so right about Spurs’ season seemingly coming undone in a matter of minutes, like a clown’s car quickly falling apart. I don’t think I’ve seen a team so visibly lose it so quickly, though Romero is always a candidate for a red (or two).”
As a belated sequel to the Battle of the Bridge it’s been superb. Scenes we don’t want to see but really would like to. Tottenham have been architects of their own downfall in losing discipline but those injuries to Micky van der Ven and James Maddison were ill portents. Ange Postecoglou is flamin’ ragin, too. This game is Chelsea’s for the taking, and somewhere in Manchester, Pep Guardiola’s rather enjoying himself.
45+11 min: Now Reece James is in lumber, and VAR is called in to watch him forearm smashing Udogie. Chelsea on the brink here, too. He escapes a red card.
45+9 min: Tottenham commit numbers forward, and find themselves on the end of Chelsea counter. Emerson Royal makes a desperate tackle. Then Jackson tugs down Sarr and suddenly it goes off again. Colwill’s top has completely been blown as he goes at Sarr and then only Royal pulling him away saves him. Chelsea can’t afford to lose it too.
45+7 min: Sterling, who has been excellent, throws himself to the ground as Royal’s leg nears his. That was dive. Why no yellow card? Why indeed.
45+6 min: Tottenham retain a threat, and Porro almost finds Kulusevski – remember him? – with a lofted cross. It just evades him.
45+5 min: Eric Dier back in the team, and having to make desperate clearances. Hello, darkness, my old friend…Chelsea have been superb, by the way, really holding their discipline while Spurs have self-immolated.
45+3 min: Chelsea are pulling at Tottenham, who have set up a very high line for that makeshift defensive line. Udogie, whose foul started off the madness, seems to have completely lost the plot.
45+2 min: Spurs have managed to fit their usual disaster scenario into 30 short minutes. That title challenge was fun while it lasted but this was a reversion to type in record time. It’s actually hard to forget this game is still level.
45 min: Van der Ven has to be carried off, he’s in agony. And there’s two subs made. Maddison leaves the field, too, with Emerson Royal on, and Hojberg on. That’s both centre-backs and number 10 gone. Utter disaster for Tottenham.
44 min: Maddison is up, and moving and looking happier. We are told there will be 12 minutes of time added on…and, oh no, Van der Ven, chasing Jackson, pulls up and his hamstring has gone. That’s the end of a player who has been so good this season, and he’ll be out for a few weeks yet.
42 min: Worry for Spurs. Maddison goes down with little contact, chasing down the ball with Reece James only in the vague vicinity. Son, meanwhile, is engaging the referee in chat. Good money after bad. Better to speak to his teammates and tell them to calm the hell down.
41 min: Pochettino is enjoying this, and Postecoglou has lost his own head, and been booked. Not such a chilled-out entertainer now. Poch meanwhile is telling his team to keep passing and tire out their opponents.
39 min: Ange Postecoglou has some calming down to do in that dressing room. How does he do it? Get the guitar out? Give it some Go-Betweens or Men At Work? His team have just had their first attack for a while and Pape Sarr tries to shoot from distance.
37 min: Yes, again. Sterling was offside, and Jackson converted well. No controversy this time. No sending off, either.
36 min: Tottenham have themselves to blame here. They’ve completely lost it. And now Porro has injured himself in having a swipe at Conor Gallagher.
Vicario gets both hands to it, and still can’t keep it from going in of the post, the old Teddy Sheringham penalty, in, off and in.
33 min: Immediate Ange sub: off goes Brennan Johnson, on comes Eric Dier.