Three defeats in a row for Spurs as Jorginho penalty the difference

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea team climb over Everton and Spurs into sixth after derby win

Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier fouls Chelsea’s Timo Werner and concedes a penalty. Photograph:  Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier fouls Chelsea’s Timo Werner and concedes a penalty. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Tottenham 0 Chelsea 1

It is easy to win at Chelsea, José Mourinho had announced on Wednesday, loading up the pressure on Thomas Tuchel, the club’s new manager. Mourinho, himself, had won three Premier League titles there and Carlo Ancelotti and Antonio Conte had one apiece.

Tuchel had an obvious retort after getting the victory to ignite his tenure. It was easy to win here. Chelsea’s goal came from a penalty, rammed home by Jorginho, but their comfort was pronounced for long spells.

Although Spurs almost snatched an 88th-minute equaliser through Carlos Vinícius, it would not have even begun to reflect the balance of an evening when Chelsea not only kept a third clean sheet in three matches under Tuchel, they created the chances to have added to their lead.

The subplots were plentiful and the managerial duel was the most prominent. Tuchel’s dirty secret about liking Spurs as a kid was out – it was the fancy name and Jürgen Klinsmann – and everybody was more concerned with getting further clues as to his Chelsea vision; areas of consistency to swell the sample size for judgment.

The major constant so far has been the back-three shape, although Tuchel lost the class of Thiago Silva to a 35th-minute muscle injury, and it was Mourinho who switched things up. Having started with three central defenders for the past three league games, he reverted to 4-2-3-1 with Serge Aurier reinstated at right-back after his omission for “technical reasons” at Brighton.

The first half was all Chelsea with the movement of Tuchel’s front three catching the eye. He stationed Mason Mount in a deeper central role in between Callum Hudson-Odoi and Timo Werner and with the licence to roam, which he accepted, while Reece James and Marcos Alonso pushed high in the wing-back positions, leaving Spurs’ wide forwards wondering whether to track them.

Chelsea pressed whenever they did not have the ball and for much of the first period, Tuchel could enjoy the neat trick of appearing to have more men on the field. His players had the spaces and options on the ball; Spurs were suffocated. They had nowhere to go.

In the continued absence of the injured Harry Kane, Mourinho dropped Gareth Bale and gave a first Premier League start to Carlos Vinícius in the hope that his team could play off him in the No 9 role. Vinícius could not provide any kind of outlet in the first half. It was not just him. Nobody in a white shirt could make anything happen before the interval. Spurs’ only flicker came from a 42nd-minute Son Heung-min free-kick which Aurier nodded just wide.

The penalty was a mess from Eric Dier’s point of view, his fourth such concession for Spurs and England since football’s restart last June. He jumped into a slide challenge on Werner and, on the ground and with the ball still loose, he stretched again again to swipe it clear. On the second attempt he caught Werner. It was clumsy. Back on penalty duties after three misses this season, Jorginho abandoned his big jump before the connection and just banged it low into the bottom corner.

Tuchel is an animated touchline presence and, twice in the first-half, he howled when Mount failed to supply a decisive action. On the second occasion, Dier leapt in to block his shot.

Spurs had to be better. Their desire was questioned at Brighton and, having sent his players out early for the second half, it was easy to imagine that Mourinho had done the same during the interval.

Tuchel was wary of Spurs’s counterattacking threat, even without Kane – it is how they approach these kind of games – but his strcuture and the way that Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic held the centre of the field meant he did not have to worry too often.

Chelsea continued to look sharper and they had a decent chance on the hour when Mount tore through the middle and played in Werner, who had held his run intelligently. Aurier, though, had read his intentions and chased back to divert the shot over the crossbar.

Where was the creative spark from Spurs? Not from Tanguy Ndombele on this occasion. He could not get on the ball in any dangerous areas and it seemed to sum up Spurs’s disjointed nature when Dier overhit a backpass so badly that Lloris was forced to head away. He only just got the clearance out of Mount’s influence.

Chelsea looked the likelier team to score again, with Lloris punching clear ahead of the substitute, Christian Pulisic; Kovavic prodding wide and Lloris denying Mount after he had darted around Dier.

It was not until the closing stages that Spurs threatened, with the substitute, Erik Lamela, extending Édouard Mendy and Vinícius glancing wide from an Aurier cross. - Guardian

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