Tottenham prepared well and pleasantly surprised. It didn’t help, Chelsea are power
If you watch the opening matches of Tottenham, not knowing that Jose Mourinho has already left, there was almost no chance of guessing about it. The scheme changed, but the tactics remained the same: rejection of high pressure, rare counterattacks and a lack of creative players on the field. Tottenham won matches in which they were no better than their opponents, and when they lost to Crystal Palace, they looked hopeless. Therefore, before the most difficult match with Chelsea, there were many questions for the team and the coach.
compared to the game against Zenit in the Champions League, it cost minimal rotation. James and Ziyech remained in the reserve, Silva and Havertz appeared at the start. Azpilicueta moved from the right center to the wingback position, which he was also used to.
In the first minutes, the hosts were surprised by the boldness of the plan. With the attacking midfield trio, Espirito Santo did not give up the territory and the ball. Tottenham put pressure on the goalkeeper and owned the ball more than 60% of the time. Chelsea failed to cope with this starting pressure, the score on shots in the first five minutes – 4-0. However, after a few minutes, the game pattern changed.
Tottenham’s very bold positions – personal pressure from central defenders, high positions of Emerson and Regilon to close wingbacks – created not only pressure on guests, but also opportunities for counterattacks. Because of this disclosure, after each selection at their own penalty, the guests found themselves in a winning situation.
In the 15th minute, Chelsea even managed to carry out a three-on-two attack, which was spoiled by Mount with an unsuccessful pass to Lukaku. It still ended with a blow, but not as dangerous as it could. There were no such bright moments anymore, but Tottenham’s dominance was over. After the fifth minute and before the whistle for the break, the score was 6: 2 in favor of Chelsea.
The result of the first half – Tottenham’s best 45 minutes of the new season (and some of the best in the last year), an unexpectedly daring play reminiscent of the classic matches under Pochettino. And against this background, the impressive confidence of the guests, who with powerful counterattacks extinguished the bulk and more or less transferred the game into a familiar closed scenario.
But this was not enough for Tuchel. During the break, he released Kante instead of Mount. The substitution had a serious impact on the game: now the guests without the ball were lined up according to the 3-5-2 scheme, and this changed the balance in the center. Previously, Tottenham got an advantage due to the fact that Kane and Lo Celso moved to the center, now he was no longer there.
At the same time, the guests’ pressure improved. With the transition to 3-5-2, the personal orientations became more obvious: Havertz and Lukaku against central defenders, Alonso and Azpilicueta against Emerson and Regilon, in midfield, too, each with each. A powerful claim to take control of the game. But this is not enough: Chelsea also scored at the beginning of the half.
Silva’s goal was not some tricky piece, it just outplayed Allie in the air. And the blow itself turned out to be very accurate, under the far post.
This goal put Espiritu Santa in a difficult situation. He prepared well for the match, Tottenham played great, perhaps at the limit of their capabilities – but with one substitution Tuchel changed his style of play, and now he also had to recoup. And Tottenham failed.
Seven minutes after the first goal and before the second, the hosts never shot on goal and gave only three passes in the final third of the field. By comparison, Chelsea have three hits and 13 passes.
Kante’s goal was accidental, Lloris was confused by a rebound, but the situation itself was typical: Kovacic and Rudiger took the ball away from someone else’s penalty area. The team that was leading the score was in the attack.
Although there was still more than half an hour to play, Kante’s goal actually ended the match. Chelsea were in control of the game, and when Tuchel released Werner instead of Mount, it became even more difficult for the hosts. The style of the guests became more primitive, but more vertical: Lukaku pulled himself together under the passes from the depths, pushed back the defenders with his back, and Werner, meanwhile, made jerks behind his back. One of these episodes ended with the release of Werner one-on-one (just with a pass to Lukaku). Once again, Werner had to score after a pass to Kante. In general, that attack lasted endlessly: the ball rushed around the penalty area, Lloris flew from corner to corner. Alonso delivered the last blow when the goalkeeper had already been won back, but hit Lukaku.
Chelsea were lucky with the second goal, but when the score was 2-0, the guests had to score several times. Therefore, the final defeat is more of a case. Espirito Santo deserves compliments for a thoughtfully bold starting plan, but there was only one team on the field in the second half. Chelsea are very impressive.