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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 15 October, 2019


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It’s more than just a London derby at White Hart Lane this afternoon.

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Tottenham 2-4 Chelsea

Like having an ex-girlfriend who is happily married around to the house, Andre Villa-Boas welcomes Chelsea through the gates of White Hart Lane for today’s Premier League early kick-off.

Brought in by Roman Abramovich after leading Porto to a UEFA Cup win at the age of 33, AVB was turfed out nine months early. To make matters worse, he had to witness the Pensioners, now with his former assistant Roberto Di Matteo in charge, crowned champions of Europe at the Allianz Arena.

Chelsea have stormed to the top of the table this season, while Spurs, after a mediocre start, are up in fifth at the moment. Kick off in 20 minutes.

We have worked together and (Saturday) we will be competitors and opponents for the first time, but during the game there will not be any good feeling between us” – Roberto Di Matteo

Teams are in…

Tottenham: Friedel, Walker, Gallas, Caulker, Vertonghen, Huddlestone, Sandro, Lennon, Sigurdsson, Dempsey, Defoe. Subs: Lloris, Adebayor, Naughton, Dawson, Falque, Livermore, Townsend.

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Cole, Ramires, Mikel, Oscar, Hazard, Mata, Torres. Subs: Turnbull, Romeu, Lampard, Moses, Sturridge, Azpilicueta, Bertrand.

The home side are without new signing Moussa Dembele, who picked up a hip injury on international duty while Gareth Bale is unavailable as his partner is in labour. Both will be big losses for Spurs but Tom Huddlestone and Gylfi Sigurdsson will be hoping to fill the void. Brad Friedel gets the nod ahead of French No.1 Hugo Lloris, meanwhile.

“He (Bale) had a personal situation, which we had to expect,” Villas-Boas has just told Sky Sports. “He wasn’t in the right frame of mind going in. We are a big club and have excellent options.”

John Terry, who picked up a heavy fine and four-match ban from the FA but retains his captaincy despite being found guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand, is missing for Chelsea. They start Gary Cahill alongside David Luiz at centre-half. Jon Obi Mikel and Ramires will protect the defence with attacking trio Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata, tasked with creating chances for Fernando Torres in attack.

Players emerge from the tunnel, managers have a little hug and we’re seconds from the game’s start.

Spurs earn themselves a free-kick inside the opposing half and Sigurdsson chips the ball into a dangerous area. William Gallas is latches onto the pass but his connection is poor and the attempted shot is scuffed wide.

There’s a lot of dispossessing going on in the centre of the park then Hazard and Torres link up to get the Belgian away down the right. His cut-back is aimed at Torres but Spurs are back in numbers and snuff it out.

The former Lille star tries to slip the same team-mate in seconds later. Friedel is off his line swiftly to smother though.

Snap shot from Oscar fizzes just wide of the Tottenham goal.

Ramires goes on a solo mission – running at several Chelsea players from deep. The Brazilian checks inside 18 yards out from goal, where Huddlestone nicks the ball away. Clint Dempsey tries something similar down the other end but overruns it.

GOAL! Tottenham 0-1 Chelsea (Gary Cahill)

My word. A Chelsea corner is headed to the edge of the box by Gallas, where the defender unleashes a thumping volley by Friedel. For his own safety, probably best that the American stopper wasn’t in the way of that one.

The home team immediately on the attack from the restart. Jermain Defoe fires at Petr Cech and before Dempsey can get to the loose ball, it is swept clear.

Branislav Ivanovic has picked up the first yellow card of the afternoon for a dive.

Chelsea with the majority of possession in the opening half hour and have looked more comfortable so far. Spurs not utilising their wide players while Sigurdsson has been quiet.

Typical. As it that that, Lennon runs at Ashley Cole then gets the cross in. When the ball falls to Icelandic international Sigurdsson at the back post, he drags his shot wide.

Tactical switch by AVB. who has moved Dempsey into a more central role behind Defoe and switched Sigurdsson out to the left wing.

Chelsea really should be two up. Ramires feeds Mata and the Spaniard hits one first time at Friedel. He gets a second crack at it when the save sends the ball straight back out… but he blazes over.

Yellow card for Gallas for a poor challenge on Torres and Spurs have been probing for an equaliser in the last couple of minutes.

From a corner, Dempsey’s goalbound effort gets blocked by the body of Mikel. There’s a stoppage in play now, as Luiz receives treatment after a clash of heads with Steven Caulker.

Booking number 4 goes to Kyle Walker for taking out Ramires as he was about to go on another marauding run.

Half-time: Tottenham 0-1 Chelsea

Mike Dean then shows Ramires a yellow for doing something similar on Lennon. And that’s the end of this half’s action.

Hazard takes on Walker. Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Right, we’re back. No changes on either side so it’s as you are.

GOAL! Tottenham 1-1 Chelsea (William Gallas)

That hasn’t taken long. Spurs are level and it’s former Chelsea defender Gallas who will claim it. Huddlestone’s free-kick is curled to the back post and Vertonghen gets it back across goal, where the former French international gets the slightest of touches with his forehead.

WHL has come alive and since the goal their side could have had another two. First from Defoe, then Sigurdsson. That’s the kind of reponse that Villas-Boas will have been looking for.

GOAL! Tottenham 2-1 Chelsea (Jermain Defoe)

Incredible. Spurs have turned this one around in a matter of minutes. Lennon has a go from 20 yards and Defoe expertly redirects it past Cech.

It’s all happening. Gallas brings down Ashley Cole inside the Spurs area but Dean points to the corner flag. The before it can be taken, Torres and Sandro exchange a couple of shoves and get a talking to by the referee.

Spurs have got their tales up and even Sandro is trying his luck now. Chelsea are rattled and need to regain control by bringing Mata, Oscar and Hazard back into the match.

Jake Livermore is being readied on the Spurs bench and will make his introduction imminently.

GOAL! Tottenham 2-2 Chelsea (Juan Mata)

We’re all-square again. Gallas gets a foot to Oscar’s cross but can only push it out as far as Mata, who doesn’t miss from there. The ex-Valencia schemer drills home for the visitors.

Livermore is on for Huddlestone and Defoe has just been kept out by a brilliant Cech save.

GOAL! Tottenham 2-3 Chelsea (Juan Mata)

The game takes another twist as Mata scores his second of the day. He’s involved in the build-up before producing a clinical finish. That’s six in five for the 24-year-old.

It’s Adebayor on, Dempsey off as Tottenham attempt to mount another comeback.

Defoe, who has been one of Spurs’ best players this afternoon, looks the most likely one to carve out an equaliser. He earns them a free 20 yards out – but Sigurdsson’s effort leaves a lot to be desired.

Daniel Sturridge gets eight minutes to impress as Oscar makes way.

Chances at both ends – Lennon and Sandro for Spurs, and Torres is off target after being put through by Mata.

GOAL! Tottenham 2-4 Chelsea (Daniel Sturridge)

Spurs go close through Walker but the England full-back is at fault for Chelsea’s fourth second later. Instead of putting the ball out of play, he tries to be clever but loses out to Mata. With two players to pick out, the Spaniard rolls the ball to substitute Sturridge for the easiest of finishes.

Full-time: Tottenham 2-4 Chelsea

AVB unable to mastermind a win against his former employers then, in what was a thoroughly-enjoyable game. Other than a period just after half-time, Chelsea were the better side but Spurs did come close and the Sturridge goal puts some gloss on the win.

That’s my lot here. Fenno is liveblogging the 3pm kick-offs, where there are six games, but I’ll be back later for Norwich v Arsenal.

About the author:

Ben Blake