Chelsea continued their unbeaten start to the English Premier League season with an entertaining 4-2 win over Tottenham on Saturday. There was no revenge for Andre Villas-Boas as Chelsea produced a performance full of the attacking verve their former coach was hired to implement.
A thrilling London derby was decided by two goals in as many second-half minutes by the brilliant Juan Mata, who shone brightest of all in Chelsea’s sparkling midfield.
Mata also set up Daniel Sturridge in injury time for Chelsea’s fourth. Chelsea had initially taken the lead through Gary Cahill’s volley in the 18th minute before Tottenham rallied in the second half to turn the game on its head through goals from William Gallas and Jermain Defoe.But Chelsea deserved a victory that keeps up their best start to a season since 2005/2006 and leaves them top of the league with 22 points from their first eight matches, while Spurs remain outside the top four.
The first half was defined by two volleys, first with Gylfi Sigurdsson firing wide after a corner in the fourth minute.The second, in the 18th minute, broke the deadlock.After a poor header from Gallas as he tried to clear a corner, the ball fell for Cahill to smash into the roof of the net from just inside the penalty area.
Villas-Boas decided not to make any personnel changes at the break but Tottenham came out for the second half with a completely new attitude. Within a minute of the restart, they were level as they took advantage of sloppy Chelsea defending. Tom Huddlestone’s free-kick appeared to be drifting out of play but Jan Vertonghen superbly kept the ball alive, allowing Gallas to head home his first Spurs goal virtually from the goal-line, although replays showed he may have forced it in with his arm.
Five minutes later, Tottenham took the lead as Defoe scored the 200th goal of his career with a poacher’s finish. Aaron Lennon appeared to be attempting to shoot from the right but Defoe reacted quicker than anyone to expertly turn the ball in. But Mata responded for Chelsea and in style, equalising on 65 minutes when he drilled a shot into the bottom corner after a woeful Gallas clearance.
He gave the visitors the lead when a wonderful (or delicious) first-time Eden Hazard pass put him through and he did the rest in a one-on-one with Friedel. Fernando Torres latched onto a Mata pass but shot wide before the victory was sealed in added time as Sturridge tapped into an empty net after more excellent work from the diminutive Spaniard when he beat Walker at the touchline.
“Tottenham was a good start before playing Manchester United and Shakhtar Dontesk this week,” he said. “Now we have to take advantage of this moment. The next two months will decide the title. It’s always like that in November and in December. You have a lot of games so we have to keep fighting for the title in those two months.“It is still early, but we have started really well. We have won most of the games. “The start was very good as well in the Champions League, where we are top of our group, so we have to keep going and try to translate this momentum into the whole season.” -Juan Mata
- Mata inspires Chelsea, Rooney fires Man United (todayonline.com)
- Mata double downs Spurs (skysports.com)
- Tottenham Hotspur 2 Chelsea 4: match report (telegraph.co.uk)
- Tottenham 2-4 Chelsea Report: ‘Mata’ of Blues (chelseatrueblue.com)
- Chelsea FC: Blues Purple Patch Continues with Win over Spurs at White Hart Lane (bleacherreport.com)