LONDON — Tottenham Hotspur beat Chelsea 2-0 at White Hart Lane on Wednesday as Spurs ended Chelsea’s incredible winning streak at 13, with the Blues falling one win short of setting the all-time top-flight record for consecutive wins in a single season.
[ RECAP: Spurs 2-0 Chelsea ]
Dele Alli scored two near-identical headers either side of half time to set Spurs on their way and the north London club never looked back and Chelsea never really threatened apart from dangerous counters at the start of both halves.
Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham are now back in the title race as they sit seven points behind leaders Chelsea, while Antonio Conte‘s boys will have to pick themselves and go again with their lead at the top now just five points and the chasing back hunting them down.
What a start to the second half of the season.
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We thought Dele Alli was good last season…
Alli, still just 20 years old, ended Chelsea’s winning streak as his cleverly peeled away behind Chelsea’s center backs twice and beat Victor Moses to head home. Chelsea had not conceded a headed goal in the Premier League all season and Alli outfoxed them twice.
Alli has now scored a brace in each of his last three PL games and seven in his last four games. He is flourishing in a role behind Harry Kane and they’re on the same wavelength. Alli had a slow start to this season with just three goals from his first 15 PL games but now he is on fire and is showing increased maturity and calmness in and around the box which evaded him at times last season.
Earlier this week reports suggested that Real Madrid is lining up a $63 million bid for Alli. His recent form suggests such talk is not only worthy but the fee is also way below his true valuation.
Pochettino said Alli is going nowhere and believes he can become the best attacking midfielder in Europe for the next decade. It’s hard to argue with that and it’s hard to believe that Alli was playing for MK Dons in England’s third-tier just 18 months ago.
SPURS WIN WING-BACK BATTLE
Twice Walker surged at Alonso and twice he cut the ball back to an unmarked Eriksen who whipped in delicious crosses to the back post. Moses was concerned about the onrushing Rose on both goals and left too much space for Alli to get in behind Cesar Azpilicueta and Spurs’ man of the moment capitalized on those defensive mistakes.
In the early stages Alonso and Moses looked better in attack with Walker and Rose reluctant to surge forward. A quiet word from Pochettino midway through the first half saw Walker push up higher on Alonso and he had plenty of joy for the rest of the game.
Chelsea have looked incredibly comfortable with the 3-4-3 formation but Tottenham looked even more snug as the most consistent full backs in the PL stepped up and nullified the main weapon which has seen the Blues take the PL by storm in recent months.
TITLE RACE WELL AND TRULY ON
Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City and even Manchester United celebrated Tottenham’s win almost as fervently as Spurs’ fans on Wednesday.
The title race is back on.
With Chelsea rattling off 13 wins in a row and 16 wins from 19 before their derby defeat on Wednesday at Tottenham, the Blues looked capable of running away with the title this season.
Now, their lead has been cut to five points and Man City are also just seven points behind, while Arsenal is eight points back and Manchester United is 10 points.
Chelsea’s back-to-back games against Liverpool and Arsenal at the end of January and start of February are now looking particularly pivotal in the title race if they drop points against Leicester an Hull before those massive clashes. .
The Premier League title race has been blown wide open by Tottenham’s victory.