Jackson strike helps Chelsea overcome lacklustre Spurs

Chelsea dealt a huge blow to Tottenham’s top-four hopes and boosted their own chances of European qualification with a 2-0 victory over their London rivals at Stamford Bridge.

The hosts, missing 14 first-team players due to injury, went in front through Trevoh Chalobah’s towering header from Conor Gallagher’s free-kick in the first half as Spurs’ set-piece frailties were exposed again following their defeat to Arsenal.

Ange Postecoglou was visibly incensed with his side’s poor display in the first period and Chelsea doubled their lead in the 72nd minute, despite some Spurs improvement, when Nicolas Jackson headed home after Cole Palmer’s free-kick came back off the crossbar.

The victory ensures Mauricio Pochettino has completed the double over his former side following Chelsea’s 4-1 win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in November and puts them only two points behind Newcastle in eighth. Spurs, meanwhile, remain seven points off fourth-placed Aston Villa, now with only one game in hand.

Player ratings

Chelsea: Petrovic (7), Gilchrist (7), Chalobah (8), Badiashile (8), Cucurella (8), Caicedo (8), Gallagher (8), Palmer (7), Madueke (8), Mudryk (7), Jackson (8).

Subs: Casadei (7), Acheampong (7), Tauriainen (n/a).

Tottenham: Vicario (6), Porro (6), Romero (6), Van de Ven (7), Royal (5), Bissouma (5), Sarr (6), Johnson (5), Kulusevski (5), Son (5), Richarlison (5).

Subs: Maddison (6), Hojbjerg (6), Bentancur (6), Gil (6), Lo Celso (6).

Player of the match: Trevoh Chalobah

How Chelsea powered to victory

Spurs were fortunate not to fall behind as early as the fifth minute, when the dangerous Mykhailo Mudryk played in Jackson, whose low effort was brilliantly cleared off the line by Micky van de Ven, with Palmer unable to turn home the loose ball.

Team news

  • Alfie Gilchrist started at right-back for Chelsea in their only change, with Thiago Silva and Axel Disasi joining their lengthy injury list.
  • Spurs made five changes from the 3-2 loss to Arsenal, with James Maddison among those dropped and Richarlison starting for the first time since February.

As Chelsea continued to tear through Spurs, Postecoglou, normally a figure of calm on the touchline, became increasingly furious, raging at the concession of a free-kick by Emerson Royal from which his side’s much-discussed set-piece frailties were again exposed.

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Trevor Chalobah put Chelsea in front in the first half

Chalobah did superbly to direct his towering header over Guglielmo Vicario and into the net from Gallagher’s delivery, but the defender was unmarked, with Marc Cucurella blocking Brennan Johnson and VAR deeming the goal fair after a lengthy check.

Postecoglou remained animated on the touchline, berating his players during breaks in play, but Spurs did improve as the half wore on and should have levelled when Cristian Romero headed wide from close range at the far post. Pape Sarr sent another chance just wide.

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Cristian Romero missed a golden chance for Spurs

Spurs pinned Chelsea back at the start of the second half but struggled to carve out chances, not even mustering a shot on target until just after the hour-mark, when Pedro Porro’s diagonal effort was parried away by Djordje Petrovic.

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Nicolas Jackson headed in Chelsea’s second goal

Chelsea remained a threat on the break but it was from another set-piece that they got their second goal, Palmer’s superb free-kick crashing back off the underside of the bar, with Jackson reacting quickest to loop a header into the net.

Johnson spurned an immediate chance to pull a goal back at the other end, but Spurs never really looked likely to rally after that, with Postecoglou’s first-half rage replaced by a look of resignation as his side suffered a third consecutive defeat, leaving their top-four hopes hanging by a thread.

Poch: We showed football is not about big names

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Mauricio Pochettino reflects on Chelsea’s win over Tottenham and admits the result has given him happiness for the first time this season

Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino told Sky Sports:

“People believe that because a player is a name, he should play, even if he is not in form or at his best.

“I think the team, from the beginning of the season, suffered too many problems, that sometimes the names were there, but not in our best form.

“We never really got the belief that we needed to play in this way. There were too many individual targets or objectives before the team.

“Today was an easy team selection for us, but at the same time we showed to everyone that football is not about names. It’s about being competitive, about behaving like a team.

“Even if you have big players, big names, if they don’t play like today, trying to help the team in a defensive situation or when we have the ball to believe in every single offensive action we can score, then it’s impossible because the Premier League is so competitive.”

Postecoglou: Our mindset wasn’t right

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Ange Postecoglou loses his cool with his Tottenham team in an explosive touchline rant against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge

Spurs head coach Ange Postecoglou:

“It wasn’t a great night. We didn’t have the mindset that I expect us to have, so that’s on me, I’ve got to take responsibility for that.

“Ultimately I’m the one that’s putting them out there and preparing them for it. We were so far off it I’ve got to look at myself and see how I’m preparing this team for it.”

He added: “We didn’t really reach the levels we needed to get a result here tonight. It’s fair to say we didn’t play anywhere near the levels to get something out of the game and probably didn’t deserve it.”

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Tottenham boss Postecoglou was left frustrated with his team’s performance and insisted that he takes full responsibility for their defeat to Chelsea

Spurs’ set-piece woes – Opta stats

  • Tottenham have now conceded 14 set-piece goals in the Premier League this season. Only Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United, Luton and Burnley have conceded more.
  • Chelsea have won eight of their last 10 home Premier League games (D1 L1), after winning just one of the 14 before that (D7 L6).
  • Tottenham have lost each of their last three Premier League games, as many defeats as they suffered in their previous 16 in the competition (W10 D3).
  • Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino is the first manager to complete a Premier League double over Tottenham having previously managed them in the competition.
  • Tottenham have kept just one clean sheet in their last 17 Premier League games, while their total of just six shut-outs in the competition this season is their lowest tally since 2006/07 (six in 38 games).

Chelsea’s remaining fixtures

May 5: West Ham (H) – Premier League, kick-off 2pm

May 11: Nottingham Forest (A) – Premier League, kick-off 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports

May 15: Brighton (A) – Premier League, kick-off 7.45pm

May 19: Bournemouth (H) – Premier League, kick-off 4pm

Tottenham’s remaining fixtures

May 5: Liverpool (A) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports

May 11: Burnley (H) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm

May 14: Man City (H) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports

May 19: Sheffield United (A) – Premier League, kick-off 4pm

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