Rewind to December 13, 2020 – it was all happiness in North London. The manager of Tottenham Hotspur – Jose Mourinho was in the mood to light a Cigar like Diego Maradona and smoke with a joyous mind because under his managerial regime the Spurs were on top of the Premier League points table and Mourinho, the man on top, was looking down at teams like Liverpool and Manchester City. After one and a half months, the story is totally different in North London.

Before the match, Mourinho unleashed one of his mental games by saying that it is easy to win at Chelsea and pile the pressure on the newly appointed manager of Chelsea Thomas Tuchel. Mourinho pointed out that he had won more than one Premier League title in west London while Carlo Ancelotti and Antonio Conte had each done so once.

But as soon as the match commenced – The Spurs were creatively dismal and the defeat came hard on the heels of those against Liverpool and Brighton when they also contributed little in attacking terms.

One might say that the Spurs were missing Harry Kane, but that cannot hide the fact of Heung-min Son, who, all of a sudden, seemed to have lost his Midas touch and Tanguy Ndombele struggled to get the ball in dangerous areas.

Eric Dier conceded the penalty in clumsy fashion, swiping at the ball from a position on the ground, having jumped into a sliding challenge on Timo Werner before catching the Chelsea forward on what looked like the third attempt.

Jorgonho, back in the spot-kick duties after missing three consecutive ones, scored and the Blues took the lead.

At one point in the second-half, Dier over-hit a back-pass so badly that the goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris, had to head clear from an awkward position and only narrowly avoided sending it straight to Mason Mount.

Dier had been his defensive rock earlier in the season. He looked over-played and lacking confidence here and the rest of the players seemed the same.

The Blues were superior for almost all of the evening in terms of composure and tactics.

Ahead of kick-off, the plan was to start with a 3-4-3 formation but on the pitch, they dropped Mount into a number 10 role with Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi paired as two strikers.

It worked well with Mount dictating the play against a low-confident Spurs backline. His spatial awareness continually allowed him to link the midfield and attack to brutal effect.

Mount interchanged positions with Werner to allow the struggling German forward more space and pull Spurs’ defenders out of position. He was on set-pieces too with a number of short corners to unsettle the Spurs.

Chelsea were forced to play the final 54 minutes without defensive leader Thiago Silva, who exited with what Tuchel deemed a muscle injury to his leg, but still, they were determined and compact.

A late surge by Spurs when Carlos Vinicius, on his first league start, nodded an 88th-minute header wide might have put chills down the spine of Tuchel, but that was it.

“It’s not about my methods. I’m happy with the attitude, the squad, the potential,” Tuchel said after the match.

“They are fine guys, it’s a nice group and they are open. It’s a pleasure to be around them. We have a lot of support in the whole club. It was a quick start but an easy one because I feel very welcome.”

“We defended very actively and brave.”


“They lived it 100 percent with full power and intensity. We never lost the belief, faith, or courage to push high and for that, you have to be brave and we were.”

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