By 90Min
February 27, 2019

Chelsea beat Tottenham 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to ease the pressure on under-fire boss Maurizio Sarri.

The game started at a fair lick, but it was the home side who seemed to have the greater cutting edge, and it was they who duly received the first big chance - Gonzalo Higuain striking the post from a deliberately sliced volley with a little more than five minutes on the clock.

And Tottenham's greatest first half chance had the same result, as Harry Winks' speculative long range effort ricocheted off the crossbar. The start of the second period saw Higuain show off his considerable technique again, with a lovely effort clipped over Hugo Lloris and into the net, only for it to be ruled out for offside.

But five minutes later the Blues did legitimately have the ball in the back of the net, as Pedro cut inside past a flailing Toby Alderweireld before smashing it through Lloris' splayed legs. With six minutes to go, a defensive mix up saw Kieran Trippier tip the ball past the surging Frenchman and into the net, allowing the home side to see it out the remaining moments in comfort.

Check out our full breakdown of the game below.


Key Talking Point

For all the pre-match talk surrounding Kepa Arrizabalaga and 'subgate', his replacement Willy Caballero was barely tested. This was down to the stoic off-ball efforts from Maurizio Sarri's side. There was an intensity to the team's press and tackling that hasn't been seen in the league since that win over Manchester City. 

There had been similar signs on Sunday at Wembley, but that was a cup final - the intensity should be there. The test for Sarri's side was to back that up on a different stage, and they passed it with flying colours.


All in all, this felt like a massive night for the Italian, and though some eyebrows were raised at the selection of players like Mateo Kovacic, Marcos Alonso and goalscorer Pedro, every single one of his players stepped up to the plate to produce a totemic team performance.

Consistency is what's needed now.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Caballero (7); Azpilicueta (7), Rudiger (8), Luiz (8), Alonso (7); Kante (8), Jorginho (7), Kovacic (8); Pedro (9), Higuain (8), Hazard (6).

Substitutes: Willian (6), Loftus-Cheek (6), Giroud (6)

STAR MAN - There were question marks over his inclusion, but if there was one player who epitomised the Blues' fighting spirit, it was Pedro. From thrashing in the opener, to the arguably even more impressive goal-saving tackle on Christian Eriksen, which was proceeded by a burst to the halfway line filled with chop-backs and stepovers, he was utterly exceptional.

And it wasn't just the big moments. He was a menace throughout, harrying that rearguard both on and off the ball. It must be said that Higuain, despite some missed chances, also put in his best performance in a Chelsea shirt and N'Golo Kante was, well, N'Golo Kante.


Key Talking Point

There was a creative impetus dearly lacking from almost all of Spurs' play. Eriksen couldn't get himself on the ball and when he did, it was mainly just to play an aimless cross into the box as Harry Kane, and then Fernando Llorente, forlornly watched chances pass them by. 

But, ultimately, it wasn't their attacking inefficiencies that let them down. It was their defensive mix ups. Lloris was let off in the first half when his wayward pass out went straight to Pedro, but he had no such luck with the ball at his own teammates' feet. 

A tough night for Mauricio Pochettino's side, whose north London derby this weekend now takes on a significance they would prefer it not to have.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Lloris (3); Trippier (3), Alderweireld (5), Sanchez (6), Davies (5); Winks (7), Sissoko (6), Eriksen (5); Lamela (5), Son (6), Kane (6).


Substitutes: Llorente (5), Moura (N/A), Rose (N/A)  

STAR MAN - Is there a more terrifying player than Son Heung-min in the Premier League right now? Probably not. Unfortunately, through no real fault of his own, he was restricted to only a couple of moments of electricity and was eventually substituted, so he can't be called the star man.

To be honest, it would be hard to pick out many players from that starting lineup who excelled, so I'll give it to Harry Winks, because he looked the least fazed by their onrushing opponents. Not the most competitive group of nominees you could have for this award.

Looking Ahead

The London derbies don't let up for either team, as Chelsea visit Fulham this weekend before their midweek Europa League last 16 first leg against Dynamo Kyiv. Similarly, for Tottenham it's Arsenal and the north London derby Saturday lunchtime, before their second leg with Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday.

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