Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino grabbed three points in a 4-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on his return to the home of his former employers this evening.
Nicolas Jackson bagged a late hat-trick for the Blues to cap off a dramatic game that saw Spurs reduced to nine men.
Ange Postecoglou’s side saw their unbeaten run come to an abrupt end despite taking the lead in what turned out to be a remarkable first-half encounter.
A fluid counter found Dejan Kulusevski in acres of space on the right, and the Swede cut inside to unleash an effort that deflected off Levi Colwill to beat the wrong-footed Robert Sanchez.
Tottenham had Chelsea on the ropes in the opening exchanges, terrorising the Blues backline with free-flowing attacking football.
However, they were nearly pegged back almost immediately, with Pochettino’s men searching for an immediate reply.
Tottenham had Guglielmo Vicario’s lightning-sharp reflexes to thank for denying Jackson before a spate of disallowed goals and VAR stoppages sent the first half into a spiral of controversy and chaos.
Heung-min Son’s goal from a fantastic Spurs move was ruled out for a marginal offside before Raheem Sterling was adjudged to have handled the ball after pulling Chelsea level.
Destiny Udogie and Cristian Romero were spared red cards for late challenges, but things began to turn sour for the hosts as the first half progressed.
There was a major stoppage when Moises Caicedo’s strike was ruled out for offside, but VAR had spotted Romero’s reckless challenge on Enzo Fernandez in the build-up, resulting in a red card.
Having netted two penalties for the Blues, Cole Palmer once again stepped up to the plate and rifled his effort off the post past the outstretched Vicario to ensure Chelsea went into the interval level.
Tottenham had already lost both of their starting central defenders thanks to a Micky van de Ven injury, and things were made considerably worse when Udogie was shown a second yellow for a foul on Sterling.
Despite going down to nine, Postecoglou’s side maintained a ridiculously high line that caught Chelsea offside on several occasions, but it was only a matter of time before the visitors took the lead.
Jackson’s lacklustre header from point-blank range was cleared off the line by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, and Vicario played as a sweeper keeper to mop up through balls that beat the high line.
However, Chelsea were relentless in attack, and Vicario was powerless to keep Jackson out as he raced ahead of the defence to sweep in Sterling’s square ball.
After going behind, Tottenham had a licence to roll the dice, and there was momentary euphoria in the stands when Eric Dier volleyed in following a free-kick.
But VAR stepped in to disallow its fourth goal of the evening.
Son was unable to beat Sanchez deep inside stoppage time, and any hopes of an unlikely comeback vanished as Jackson proceeded to complete his first Premier League hat-trick in stoppage time.
Guglielmo Vicario (7/10) – Despite conceding four, he can be proud of his performance, making several saves and clearances to keep his side in the game until the eventual capitulation.
Pedro Porro (5/10) – Was lively down the right flank and also put in an impressive shift defensively.
Cristian Romero (3/10) – Too aggressive in his tackles and was rightly sent off for a vicious challenge on Fernandez.
Micky van de Ven (4/10) – Was pivotal to Tottenham’s build-up play per usual and was unfortunate to pick up an injury in the first half.
Destiny Udogie (3/10) – Had a shaky start to the game and was lucky to survive a red card challenge early on. Picked up his second booking and was sent off in the second half.
Pape Matar Sarr (6/10) – Had an impressive game. Got stuck in, won his duels and helped recycle the ball.
Yves Bissouma (5/10) – Did his best to hold down the fort in the middle of the park but had his work cut out after his side went down to nine men.
Dejan Kulusevski (6/10) – Gave his side the early lead but was anonymous after, largely due to his side’s significant numerical deficit.
James Maddison (4/10) – The midfield maestro was instrumental in Tottenham’s opening goal but picked up a knock in the first half.
Brennan Johnson (4/10) – Started the game brightly but was collateral damage in Postecouglou’s tactical switch after the red card.
Heung-min Son (4/10) – Had an electric start to the game and scored early on but was thwarted by the offside flag.
Eric Dier (3/10)
Emerson Royal (4/10)
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (5/10)
Rodrigo Bentancur (3/10)
Oliver Skipp (3/10)
Robert Sanchez (5/10) – Didn’t really have much to do but was spared by the offside flag and VAR twice.
Levi Colwill (5/10) – Unfortunate to concede an own goal and could have done better with his passes. Was replaced at the interval after picking up a yellow on the stroke of half-time.
Thiago Silva (6/10) – A much-needed calm and experienced figure at the heart of Chelsea’s defence in a fiercely contested showdown.
Axel Disasi (5/10) – Was caught napping at times. Lacked situational awareness which was worrying. Looked shaky when Spurs attacked despite the advantage.
Reece James (7/10) – Didn’t look like a player grappling with injury problems. Caused Tottenham a lot of problems and made himself a concrete threat down the right flank.
Enzo Fernandez (7/10) – Was on the end of the dangerous tackle from Romero. Orchestrated Chelsea’s play but picked up a knock late on.
Moises Caicedo (7/10) – Played a pivotal role in Chelsea’s midfield battle, helping his side win the ball high up the pitch to force turnovers.
Conor Gallagher (7/10) – Another impressive performance from the Englishman, showing tenacity in the middle of the park and had an assist to show for his efforts.
Raheem Sterling (7/10) – Was always probing and looked dangerous every time he got on the ball, but his decision-making was abysmal at times.
Nicolas Jackson (9/10) – Bagged a late hat trick but was guilty of missing several chances. Was lacklustre in his finishing at times and still needs to improve.
Cole Palmer (7/10) – One of the better performers in a Chelsea shirt. Pulled the Blues level from the penalty spot and cushioned his impressive performance with an assist.
Marc Cucurella (5/10)
Mykhaylo Mudryk (3/10)
Lesley Ugochukwu (5/10)
Malo Gusto (4/10)
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