Thomas Tuchel is delighted. That’s a fine statement victory in only his third match as Chelsea boss. His team climb over Everton and Spurs into sixth, four points off the Champions League spots; Spurs slip to eighth. Chelsea were much the better side, though they made hard work of it in the end, failing to convert all that dominance into more than one goal. Spurs showed a bit of desire in the last ten minutes, and might have snatched something, but were punished for their overall lack of ambition. Much for Mourinho to think about; it’s probably for the best that the stadium was empty this evening.
FULL TIME: Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Chelsea
Chelsea hold on, Jorginho’s first-half penalty the difference. It’s yet another win over their London rivals, who have now lost their last three matches on the bounce.
90 min +3: Hojbjerg, Son and Moura combine crisply down the inside-right channel. The ball is teed up for Son, on the edge of the box. He leans back and sends his one and only half-chance of the match over the bar. That’s the best football Spurs have played all evening. Why leave it so long?
90 min +2: Spurs have possession, but only in the middle of the park. No opportunity to launch a Hail Mary.
90 min +1: Lamela bustles in from the right and curls towards the far post. James is well positioned to clear, with a hopeful Hojbjerg rushing in.
90 min: Werner, just inside the Spurs box on the left, curls powerfully towards the top right. It looks a decent effort, but it’s blocked bravely by Dier. There will be three extra minutes.
89 min: Dier floats a dismal effort wide left of goal. Mendy not forced into work. What a waste.
88 min: Azpilicueta shoves Son to the floor, and this is a free kick in a dangerous position, 30 yards out, right of centre. Azpilicueta is booked for his cynicism.
87 min: Aurier crosses from the right. It’s a sensational ball to the far post. Vinicius rises, six yards out … but sends his header wide of the bottom-left corner. That’s an awful miss. Despite it all, Spurs should be level.
86 min: Moura spins past Jorginho into space and launches high in the stand. Mourinho applauds.
84 min: Mount swings it in. Hojbjerg makes up for his transgression by heading it clear.
83 min: Pulisic cuts in from the right and is dragged back by Hojbjerg. A free kick 30 yards from goal, right of centre.
81 min: Lamela performs a little ballet along the byline to the right of the Chelsea goal. He’s eventually closed down. But Spurs come again, through Moura down the left. Kante is concerned enough to clatter into him, earning a yellow. Are Chelsea getting a little nervous?
79 min: But this is nice. Lamela dribbles right to left, 25 yards out, and curls powerfully towards the bottom left. Mendy is forced to fingertip around the post. Nothing comes of the corner, apart from a yellow card for Pulisic, for a foul during the move before Lamela’s shot.
78 min: As Spurs toil, a reminder that Gareth Bale is on the bench.
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77 min: A wee set-to between Lamela and Rudiger. Some light wrestling, followed by a bit of theatrical frowning, nothing more. The referee reminds both players that they’re grown adults, and we play on.
76 min: Werner slips a ball down the inside-left channel for Mount, who aims low and hard towards the bottom right. Lloris parries clear. Spurs are living dangerously.
74 min: Rudiger sprays a pass down the left. He finds Werner, whose shot is blocked. James picks up the rebound and shoots. Blocked. Finally Pulisic has a go. A third block.
72 min: Son earns a corner off Rudiger down the right. He takes it short, and quickly. Lamela crosses; Christensen heads clear. A reminder that, for all Chelsea’s dominance, parity is still well within reach for Spurs.
71 min: It’s Pulisic’s turn to drive down the middle at speed. He’s got Werner to his left, but delays the pass, and instead of sending his team-mate clear in the box, is upended fairly by Davies.
69 min: Here’s Justin Kavanagh re my half-time ‘jobby’ count: “it’s not often indeed, Scott. And I reckon if Mourhino continues producing this jobby, he’ll soon be out of a jobby. There, I’ve doubled your daily Scrabble score.” To this end, Jose sends on Moura and Lamela in place of Ndombele and Bergwijn.
68 min: Kovacic strides down the middle with extreme prejudice. He’s got Werner and Mount either side, but opts to go himself. He bobbles a shot wide left. Wonderful run, dismal finish. Ultimately very poor.
66 min: Some heroics in the Spurs goal from Lloris. First off, a header off his own line, Dier nearly chipping his own keeper with an absurdly strong looping backpass. Great improvisation. Then Mount swings one in from the right, Lloris punching clear under extreme pressure, just in time as well, from Pulisic, who was extending to poke home.
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64 min: Werner works his way down the left and fizzes an extremely tempting cross through the six-yard box. Nobody in Chelsea blue has taken a gamble, though. James retrieves the ball on the right, and tees up Alonso, who lashes wildly over the bar from the edge of the box.
63 min: Hojbjerg breaks the monotony by clattering into Jorginho, earning himself a pointless booking.
60 min: One corner leads to another. From the second, the ball drops to Rudiger at the far post. He chests down. Dier blocks again, less painfully this time. The flag goes up for offside anyway. “I’m just wondering if the phrase ‘valid journalistic reasons’ has ever been seen within a country mile of the Fiver.” Some harsh but ultimately fair analysis from Daniel Strauss.
59 min: Mount glides down the middle at top speed. He slips a pass to Werner, just inside the box on the left. Werner opens his body to shoot. Aurier nips in from the back, just in time, to toe-poke out for a corner on the right.
56 min: Chelsea are beginning to rediscover that verve. Kovacic sashays down the middle of the park, one-twos with Mount, and gets a snapshot off. Dier blocks with his trouser arrangement. Ooyah, oof. That’s gotta hurt. He goes down to attend to his special area, but he’s up again soon enough.
54 min: Hudson-Odoi, to the right of the D, drags a low diagonal shot wide left of the post. Not too far away from a second goal that would put Spurs under serious pressure.
53 min: Spurs are snapping at Chelsea’ heels. A little too much here, as Davies clips James. Still, another ref might have allowed play to go on, in which case Vinicius would have latched onto the loose ball and romped into the box from the left.
52 min: Spurs are playing at a significantly higher tempo, albeit for little reward so far. But they have put a stop to Chelsea’s first-half gallop. The visitors haven’t rediscovered their rhythm since the restart.
50 min: Mount spins Alderweireld on the halfway line, and is hacked down for his trouble. A booking for the Spurs defender. No argument.
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48 min: Mendy plays an absurdly risky pass out from the back. Son rolls Jorginho and the ball breaks to Ndombele, in space on the edge of the box. The whistle goes for a pretty generous foul. The Chelsea keeper got away with one there. Spurs are within their rights to be a bit annoyed about that.
47 min: It is now really pelting down at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The pitch is getting pretty sodden. Davies flings a cross in from the left, forcing Alonso to turn the ball behind for a corner. Nothing comes of it, but some promising early signs that Spurs are finally coming out to play.
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Spurs, who surely can’t continue to play as listlessly, get the second half underway. They have to do something. No changes. “I reckon if fans had been in the ground for the last few games, Mourinho’s position would be in serious doubt,” argues Martin Gamage. “Spurs are playing with such a lack of ambition it’s almost breathtaking in its own way.”
Half-time entertainment. It’s not often there are valid journalistic reasons for repeatedly using the word “jobby” while working for a broadsheet newspaper. You’ve got to seize these extremely rare opportunities when they present themselves. A banner day. Don’t die wondering, folks.
HALF TIME: Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Chelsea
There’s just enough time for Mount to line up a shot from the edge of the Spurs box. Dier deflects it into the arms of Lloris, and the whistle goes. This half-time scoreline flatters Spurs. Mourinho, face like thunder, is down the tunnel like a flash. Cue trenchant discussion in the home dressing room?
45 min: Son drives purposefully down the left, but there are no options for him in the middle. He’ll be counting down the days until Kane’s return. Meanwhile the referee will be counting down two added minutes.
44 min: The half is petering out. “José would seem to be saving his players for the League Cup final, but is completely unaware it has been rescheduled from February to April,” quips Gary Byrne.
42 min: A free kick for Spurs out on the right, and a chance for Spurs to worry Chelsea at long last. Son curls it in nicely. Aurier rises above everyone and sends a downward header wide right from eight yards. He should probably have done better, but that’ll give the hosts a little succour. For all Chelsea’s dominance, Spurs came very close to equalising there.
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40 min: Hudson-Odoi’s work down the right wins Chelsea’s fifth corner of the evening. Mount and Hudson-Odoi exchange clever passes, opening up space with Spurs snoozing. Mount’s got time and space in the box, but seriously overcooks a cross that flies over the bar in the rugby-union style. A real let-off for Spurs, who had switched off.
38 min: Chelsea have sure been impressive, but it’s also the case that Spurs have been abysmal so far. A rare occasion where the home side are probably happy the fans are absent. By way of illustration, here’s Guy Hornsby: “This is fun isn’t it. When is José going to realise that Eric Dier isn’t a centre back? It was a brainless challenge in the box. Our back four looks like a bunch of under-11s.”
36 min: A dejected Silva is helped off down the tunnel. He’s replaced by Christensen. “Tottenham Hotspur do know that it’s the team that score more goals that wins the match don’t they?” asks Gary Naylor, of a glory-glory club that certainly used to.
34 min: Everything’s gone to plan for Chelsea so far. But this is an unwelcome sight for them. Silva looks to have pulled something while executing an acrobatic clearance upfield. He’s prone on the turf, wearing the expression of a man who knows his race is run.
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32 min: By contrast, Spurs have achieved next to nothing in attack. There’s very little movement. They pass it around the back awhile, unsure of the next move. Eventually the ball is clanked out of play, allowing Chelsea to come back at them. Mount drags a shot wide right from distance.
30 min: There’s a notable spring in Chelsea’s step. Every task is being carried out at pace. Tuchel hasn’t taken long to establish some non-negotiable ground rules, the first step en route to implementing a new style.