Chelsea weathered an early Tottenham storm and reaped the rewards after the break with several of their veteran stars earning huge marks in North London.
Tottenham took the game to Chelsea in the first half when opting to deploy the high press and go man-to-man with the Blues’ three-man backline. Son Heung-min saw an effort on goal saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga after the Spaniard – deputising for the injured Edouard Mendy – showed bravery to dive at the forward’s feet.
The hosts were the dominate side for large periods prior to the break. But for all their pressure, Chelsea’s resilient defence served up just a single effort on goal as the first half ended goalless.
The introduction of N’Golo Kante at half time helped Chelsea wrest control of the midfield and the Blues soon took the lead. Thiago Silva headed a Marcos Alonso corner home after getting the better of Dele Alli.
One soon became two when Kante’s deflected shot off Eric Dier dribbled over the line after striking the post. Antonio Rudiger then added insult to injury in stoppage time when sweeping home Timo Werner’s cut-back to make it 3-0.
Hugo Lloris: Not required to make a save before the break with Chelsea struggling to come to terms with Spurs’ high tempo. Smart reaction stop to deny a powerful Alonso volley straight after half time. Could do little about either Blues goal and was on hand to prevent their lead growing in the latter stages. 6/10
Emerson Royal: Superb last-ditch block to deny Mount as Chelsea countered at speed. Guilty of a lapse in concentration when allowing Alonso to ghost in behind for his opportunity. 6/10
Cristian Romero: Manful contributions in the air to keep Lukaku in check. Given a real indication of what the Premier League is all about when Chelsea roared back after half time. Nevertheless, an encouraging performance from the new signing. 7/10
Eric Dier: Combined well with Romero to ensure Lukaku’s impact was minimal in the first half. Vital goal-line block to deny Alonso with Chelsea threatening to take complete control after the break. Could do nothing about Kante’s deflected shot for Chelsea’s second. 6/10
Sergio Reguilon: Marauded forward and at the heart of a fantastic opportunity mid-way through the first half. But rather than going alone, opted to square to Lo Celso and saw his cross intercepted by Rudiger as the 2v1 came to nothing. 6/10
Tanguy Ndombele: Classy moments in possession before the break. Kante’s introduction turned the game on its head with Nuno sacrificing Ndombele for Skipp in an attempt to stop the bleeding. 6/10
Franck Kessie could solve Spurs midfield problem
Kessie could be available for a cut-price in January.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg: Quick into the tackle and won the majority of his battles in the early stages. Fought hard when Chelsea roared back after the break. 7/10
Giovani Lo Celso: Did not lack for effort with Nuno’s words to press hard clearly ringing in his ears. Struggled to find an end product early but set Son through on goal for the South Korean’s opportunity. Replaced by Gil around the hour mark. 5/10
Dele Alli: Didn’t do enough to challenge Silva for the Brazilian’s opener. Guilty of getting pinned and barely got off the ground. 5/10
"It's a brilliant header!" 💥
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 19, 2021
Harry Kane: Linked up play well when dropping deep to give his centre-backs an extra option. Did his part in pressuring Chelsea’s centre-backs in the first half with Spurs the side on top. Clever interplay with Son after Chelsea went two goals up but saw his central strike comfortably pouched by Kepa. 6/10
Son Heung-min: Very lively start on his return from injury when Spurs sought to catch Chelsea cold. Shifted in field for much of the half with his pace and mobility causing Silva greater problems than Kane might have. 7/10
Oliver Skipp (On for Ndombele, 62m): Looked to advance the play when in possession, though, as many others have found, cracking Chelsea’s defensive code is an almighty task. 6/10
Bryan Gil (On for Lo Celso, 62m): A handful of lively moments but otherwise kept quiet as Tottenham ran out of steam. 5/10
Davinson Sanchez (Of for Romero 83m): N/A
Kepa Arrizabalaga: Spilled a Kane shot into the danger area and fortunate a Spurs forward wasn’t on hand to capitalise. Brave to put his body on the line when smothering a Son strike at point-blank range. 7/10
Andreas Christensen: Did not waver under early Spurs pressure. Positive in possession and always looked to split the lines with his passes forward. 8/10
Thiago Silva: Relied on his vast experience to see Chelsea through a difficult opening half hour. Superb vision to pick out Alonso after the break in what could’ve been a goal of the season contender. Too big and strong for Alli when guiding his header beyond Lloris to open the scoring. 10/10 (Man of the match)
⚽️ Chelsea’s oldest scorers in PL:
Didier Drogba – 37y & 49d v Leicester, Apr 2015
THIAGO SILVA – 36y & 362d v Tottenham, Sept 2021
Gianfranco Zola – 36y & 290d v Everton, Apr 2003 pic.twitter.com/wTHcKAnL0e
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) September 19, 2021
Antonio Rudiger: The least troubled of Chelsea’s centre-backs going up against Lo Celso, though still had to be alert to keep the scores level. For all Tottenham’s pressure prior to the break, Rudiger and co. limited their counterparts to just a single short on target. Rubbed salt in Spurs’ wounds in injury time when expertly sweeping home Werner’s cut-back. 9/10
Cesar Azpilicueta: Non-existent going forward in the first half but as with all Blues players, stuck to his task and reaped the rewards in the second half. Almost nabbed an assists for Alonso’s effort cleared off the line by Dier. 8/10
Jorginho: Overrun by Tottenham’s midfield trio in the first half but stuck to his task and battled hard as Chelsea grew into the game. Recylced possession well in the final half hour to stop Spurs from gaining momentum. 6/10
Mateo Kovacic: Struggled to cope with Spurs after Nuno’s side flew out of the traps. Improved display after stopping the flow after Kante’s introduction. 6/10
Marcos Alonso: Stifled going forward by Tottenham’s vibrant start but got through more than his fair share of defensive work. Got his head to several Spurs corners to ease the pressure on his centre-halves. Greater license to roam after half-time and became a constant menace in the opposite box. On the end of a sublime Silva pass after the break and saw his powerful first-time volley beaten away by Lloris. Saw another volley blocked on the line moments later by Dier. 9/10
Mason Mount: Always available on the break but lacked his usual incisiveness. Perhaps guilty of forcing it to Lukaku when going alone looked the optimal option. Hooked at half-time for Kante as Tuchel sought greater control in the middle. 4/10
Kai Havertz: Miscued early volley from inside the area that would’ve been a real sucker-punch. The quietest Blues player on the pitch in the first half and replaced by Werner after his second half display saw little improvement. 5/10
Romelu Lukaku: Starved of service and kept in check by Romero and Dier in the air. Passed back to Mount in a rare breakway chance after the Englishman’s poor pass forced Lukaku to check his stride. Showed unselfishness when sliding Werner in on goal but the German could not convert. 6/10
N’Golo Kante (On for Mount, 46m): Immediately helped Chelsea wrest control of the midfield. Notched a rare goal when his long-distance strike deflected off Dier to leave Lloris standing and staring as the ball cannonned in off the post. 9/10
Timo Werner (On for Havertz, 70m): Spurned a glorious chance when put through by Lukaku. Booked for a wild lunge moments later, though did notch an assist for Rudiger’s goal. 6/10