Chelsea go seven points clear after second-half rout of Spurs
Jose Mourinho extends unbeaten Premier League home record to 75
Eden Hazard celebrates after scoring Chelsea’s second goal from the penalty spot during the Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images
Chelsea 4 Tottenham Hotspur 0: Samuel Eto’o came of age and substitute Demba Ba scored twice as Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea beat Tottenham 4-0 to move seven points clear at the top of the Premier League.
Cameroon striker Eto’o, whose age was questioned recently in unguarded comments made by Mourinho, celebrates his 33rd birthday on Monday and stood crooked at the corner flag, as if using it as an old man’s stick, following his goal.
Demba Ba, another much-derided Chelsea striker, then scored twice in his late cameo after replacing Eto’o.
The victory extended Mourinho’s unbeaten Premier League home record to 75 games and took Chelsea seven points clear of Arsenal and Liverpool and nine ahead of Manchester City, the Portuguese’s title favourites.
Eto’o was a late inclusion after Fernando Torres withdrew following the warm-up and broke the deadlock after after being gifted the ball by a hapless Jan Vertonghen before he was fouled by Younes Kaboul for a spot-kick four minutes later which appeared soft.
The France defender was shown a straight red card for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity and Eden Hazard sent Hugo Lloris the wrong way with Chelsea’s second goal in five minutes before Ba’s late double added to Spurs’ humiliation.
Mourinho felt the result virtually guaranteed the Blues a top-four finish.
“What I can say now clearly is that it is very, very difficult if we don’t get a top-four position,” the Portuguese said.
“We were 10 points from them (Spurs) and they were the biggest threat to the top four. Thirteen points (for Spurs to make up) with nine matches to go, I think is almost impossible.
“I can say now objective number one in the Premier League is in our pocket. Now our next objective is top three because that gives us (automatic) qualification to the Champions League.”
Again playing down his side’s title chances, though, he pointed out: “If Manchester City wins the three matches they have in hand – and they can – we are second and not first.”
Mourinho felt Eto’o was always going to score after being handed a starting berth when Fernando Torres got injured in the warm-up.
“I told him before the game, ‘you are going to score for sure’ because he was supposed to be on the bench,” the former Inter Milan and Real Madrid boss said.
“Fernando was supposed to start the game. A couple of minutes before the game, he was not able to play and I thought ‘this is your destiny’.”
He added: “Samuel is so clever in the way he reads the game. After 1-0, the game had no mystery.
“I’m not saying they gave up, but I think they felt like they were in trouble. In the first half they had a lot of the ball. I think they are a team with great control of ball possession but they don’t hurt people. The second half was comfortable for us.”