Chelsea 2 Tottenham 1: Match Report, Stats & Goals
Chelsea (4-4-2):Cech; Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry (c), Cole; Essien (Ramires 56), Mikel, Lampard, Malouda (Anelka 72); Torres (Kalou 62), Drogba.
Scorers: Lampard 44, Kalou 88
Booked: Ivanovic 37, Drogba 47
Tottenham (4-4-1-1): Gomes; Kaboul, Dawson (c), Gallas, Corluka (Pienaar 77); Lennon, Modric, Sandro, Bale; Van der Vaart (Jenas 84); Pavlyuchenko (Defoe 57).
Scorers: Sandro 18
Booked: Pavlyuchenko 56
Shots on target: Chelsea 9 Tottenham 1
Corners: Chelsea 5 Tottenham 5
Fouls: Chelsea 13 Tottenham 12
Offsides: Chelsea 0 Tottenham 0
Chelsea made sure they keep up the pressure on Manchester United as they beat Tottenham by 2 goals to 1 and are now three points behind United in the league table. A controversial Frank Lampard goal and a late goal by Salomon Kalou gave Chelsea the much needed win to continue their bid for 2010-11 EPL Championship, this before a superb strike from Sandro which gave Tottenham a lead against the run of play.
This win made two things very clear, first Chelsea are still in the title race and a loss for Manchester United against Arsenal will be a turning point in the race for EPL title. Second, Tottenham are surely out of the Champions league qualification fight with Manchester City and now have fight with Liverpool for the fifth position.
Starting Line up
Carlo Ancelotti had hinted before the start that he might pair Drogba and Torres up-front, and so he did. Torres who scored his first goal for Chelsea against West Ham partnered Drogba up-front in the two man attack, which meant Chelsea were playing a 4-2-2 formation.
John Terry along with Drogba and Mikel were reaching personal milestones themselves with John Terry making his 500th Chelsea appearance, John Mikel Obi his 200th, and Drogba was appearing in the Premier League for the 200th time.
On the Tottenham side, Vedran Corluka deputised at left-back in place of injured Benoit Assou-Ekotto who was ruled out with a hamstring problem. Aaron Lenon returned to his usual right flank position meanwhile former Chelsea player William Gallastook his place in central defence.
Chelsea came into this fixture as the Premier League’s in-form team, having taken 23 points from the last nine games, while in contrast Tottenham had won just one of their last 10 in all competitions, and arrived at Stamford Bridge having not tasted victory here since 1990.
With both sides going in with an attacking line-up it was on the cards that this game will be a electrifying one, with both looking to prove their point. Chelsea knew they had to win this game to garner any hope of EPL title this season, on the other hand Tottenham had to win themselves to put pressure on Manchester City for the last UEFA Champions League spot.
This time it was a sunshine start compared to the last game against West ham at Stamford Bridge, which began with incess rains and thunderstorm.
Harry Redknapp opted for Roman Pavlyuchenko in place of Defoe in the strikers role and it was the same man who had the first chance of the game. After a slip up from Ivanovic saw Russian firing wide off the far post. Torres was looking bright as his crisp movement and passing were causing Corluka quite some problems.
Torres had his first shot of the game which was deflected for a corner. Resulting corner was headed just wide by Branislav Ivanovic. Drogba has been in some good form lately and proved once again how good he can be in taking long range free kick when his 35-yard free-kick bouncing back off the crossbar with Heurelho Gomes beaten. Chances the fell for Florent Malouda and Essein who saw their low shots saved by Gomes.
Chelsea were settling down now and were putting together some good passes and were knocking on Tottenham’s goal. But it turned out the other way round, against the run of play Tottenham took the lead thanks to a spectacular shot by Brazilian Sandro 30 yards out, this after he was fed in by Rafael van der Vaart. It was a fantastic goal a thunderous strike which brought the Stamford Bridge crowd to a pin drop silence.
Chelsea knew that they had to get a goal soon enough to bring Tottenham under pressure. And Chelsea nearly had an equaliser when Torres teed in Essien with a nice cross which Essien headed towards goal only to be parried away by Tottenham goalkeeper Gomes. Torres then had a opportunity to score his second goal when his awkward header stooped high over the bar, this after a corner from Malouda was flicked on by Drogba at the near post, but the ball fell awkwardly for Torres.
It looked as if the Tottenham would head into the second half with a 1-0 lead as the first half whistle grew nearer. But then came the most controversial moment of the match, Frank Lampard’s long range shot was spilled by Gomes and the ball rolled under him and into the goal. Gomes scrambled to retrieve the ball, replays suggested that the entire ball did not cross the line and the assistant referee was no where near when this happened.
Some replays suggested the ball had not crossed the line, others suggested it may have done, but the goal was awarded and Chelsea were deservedly level right on half-time.
And this how the first half ended.
Second half began and both teams looked a bit tired with very few chances on both ends. But as the game went on chances started to come and it was Chelsea who had a decent chance to go in the lead, another powerful drive from Drogba was palmed away by Gomes.
Malouda then has a low shot saved easily by Gomes. Carlo Ancelotti then brought on his first change, Ramires coming in for Essien. which meant Chelsea switched to 4-3-3 in search of goal. Soon Tottenham made their change with Defoe coming in for Pavlyuchenko. Both sides searched for a winning goal and were trying hard to breach each others defence but yeilded no fruits.
Soon Torres was substituted with Salomon Kalou who nearly made it 2-1 for Chelsea with his first touch, Drogba sent in another booming free kick which was parried away by Gomes and it fell awkwardly for Kalou who saw his shot fly high over the cross bar off his hips.
As the game neared its end, crowd grew impatient as they knew that only a win can keep up their hopes of a title challenge. Chelsea soon had penalty a shout which was frisked away by the referee, Kaboul brought down Malouda in the box as he went for the ball. It seemed as a penalty but with no effect.
Few chances fell to Lampard and John Terry but none were close enough to give Chelsea the lead. With just two minutes plus added time left, the game seemed to be heading for a draw but Chelsea weren’t giving up so easily. Drogba battled his way into the area holding off a pair of challenges before attempting to pull the trigger and mishitting his effort across goal, where Kalou was waiting to slide home a vital winner.
It was a crucial goal which gave Chelsea three points and are now separted by the same number of points from Manchester United at the top.
No one can write off Chelsea yet, there are few twists in the tale which will soon come into picture. Manchester United play Arsenal today, a win for Arsenal and EPL championship will go down to the wire if not the game where Chelsea visit Old Trafford would surely be the title deicder. But if Man Utd win against Arsenal, Chelsea will still have some hopes as we countdown to the last three games of the season.
Come on CHELSEA!!! KTBFFH.
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