Tottenham sank Chelsea, as Chelsea sank their title hopes in May last year, as two simple Dele Alli headers ended Chelsea’s club-record 13-match winning streak.
The Blues were vying to become outright the record holders for the longest Premier League winning run in one season but could only stop at equalling Arsenal’s record from 2001-02 as Alli rose tallest either side of the half-time whistle to dampen Chelsea’s spirits.
It means the Blues fail to extend their lead at the top of the table to eight points after slip-ups by Liverpool and Arsenal earlier in the week, and more concerning for Antonio Conte will be the four goals shipped in the last two games as old habits look to be ominously returning.
Chelsea have not won at White Hart Lane since a 4-2 victory in October 2012, and Tottenham are unbeaten at White Hart Lane this season, so when you combine those facts together it was no surprise most neutrals expected the hosts to win, despite the visitor’s recent run of excellent form.
Matic was brought back into the squad and provided the game’s first chance for Hazard, but the Belgian dragged wide. Another good chance came from a counter-attack by Pedro, but when he and Diego Costa failed to follow the same thought process, the move broke down. Serious words were exchanged as Costa was incensed the ball was not played earlier.
Wanyama and Eriksen both had good chances fizzing narrowly wide of Courtois’ goal, whilst at the other end Luiz had a presentable free-kick opportunity that went just over the ball. Costa too was wayward when he had space to get a shot away 20 yards out.
There were no shots on target as Jonathan Moss indicated two minutes of injury time to be added at the end of the first half, but Tottenham made Chelsea pay for one lapse in concentration. Deep into injury time, Eriksen swung a delicious ball up into Chelsea’s penalty area, and Alli rose tallest between Cahill and Moses, with the latter playing him onside.
Courtois and Chelsea should have known better and were warned moments earlier, where a needless free-kick brought about a yellow card for Gary Cahill and Dier went close from Rose’s set-piece, but on this opportunity there would be no lucky escape.
Could Chelsea hit the ground running in the second half? They tried but yet again Alli delivered an identical header.
Once again Eriksen floated the ball in and rose between Azpilicueta and Moses to power past Courtois, who hardly covered himself in glory by appearing to shy away from making himself as big as possible. It was only Tottenham’s second shot on target but they took them both.
There were still nearly 40 minutes left for Chelsea to mount a comeback but nothing materialised, despite Conte sending on Fabregas and Batshuayi.
Pedro had a chance but his soft header never looked like testing Lloris, whilst at the other end Tottenham were not content to sit back as Kane went close.
Meanwhile his opposite number Diego Costa had a game to forget, with this only the fourth occasion this season in the Premier League where the Spaniard has failed to produce a goal or an assist.
Tottenham saw the game out as Chelsea now re-group for Peterborough on Sunday in the FA Cup.
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Man of the Match
EDEN HAZARD: A remarkably poor showing by every Chelsea member, with Costa completely way-ward by having a furious row with Pedro with the game at 0-0, and Courtois failing to make himself big in either of the two goals. The equally-reliable Moses was also undone on multiple occasions and it was too little too late to inject pace by bringing Fabregas and Batshuayi on when the Blues were already chasing. Chelsea came to defend and it backfired, but at least Hazard tried. 5/10
Conte was not kicking up a fuss: “I saw a game with a great balance. It is not easy to play against Tottenham. But we played with a good personality to create the chances to score a goal, but we could not take them. It is strange for us to concede these goals because we are defending well. We must work hard and be pleased with our position in the table.”
Pochettino was basking in victory: “It is a massive victory, a very important three points to reduce the gap at the top of the table. It was a very tough game, we were playing one of the best teams in Europe, so the value of the victory is massive.”