Chelsea retake top spot with come from behind win over improved Tottenham
Chelsea 2 Tottenham 1
Published 26/11/2016 | 19:43
Chelsea extended their winning sequence to seven Premier League games, coming from behind once again to extend Tottenham's 26-year wait for victory at Stamford Bridge.
Not since Gary Lineker scored the winner in February 1990 have Spurs won at Chelsea and the visitors suffered their first loss of the season as Antonio Conte's Blues responded from conceding a first Premier League goal in 601 minutes.
Pedro's sublime strike cancelled out Christian Eriksen's superb opener and Victor Moses struck what proved to be the winner in a 2-1 success for Chelsea, who have not lost to Spurs at home in 30 games.
Spurs' worries are about more than just facing Chelsea, though. Mauricio Pochettino's men now have just one win in 10 games in all competitions.
Pochettino was keen to move on from May's implosion at Stamford Bridge, when Spurs conceded a two-goal lead in a bad-tempered contest which confirmed Leicester as champions and afterwards saw both sides disciplined by the Football Association.
Chelsea head coach Conte, likewise, wanted his side to focus on the here and now, not seven months previously or dreaming of future glory.
Tottenham initially responded well to their Champions League elimination, pressing high and forcing Chelsea to retreat.
Harry Kane was proving a nuisance. The striker was fouled for two early free-kicks, the first of which resulted in him finding the net from Eriksen's set-piece, only for the strike to be ruled out for offside. Eric Dier shot over from the second.
Spurs struck when Dele Alli, excellent in the first half, sucked David Luiz out from the centre of Chelsea's three-man defence.
Alli accepted the contact but had already shifted the ball on to Eriksen who fired in a brilliant strike from the edge of the area.
It was the first goal Chelsea had conceded since Arsenal's third in the 40th minute of the Gunners' win on September 24 in a match which prompted Conte to switch to a 3-4-3 formation.
Luiz, so consistently good in Chelsea's winning run, caught Kane late and was booked as Tottenham continued to pile on the pressure.
It was Luiz who had Chelsea's first shot, a free-kick straight at Hugo Lloris after 30 minutes, while Spurs peppered Thibaut Courtois' goal, mainly with strikes from distance, and tested his distribution.
Chelsea eventually found space, but Eden Hazard shot tamely, before Spurs granted Pedro too much room on the edge of the area.
He punished them, turning before netting a fine curling effort.
Conte had watched May's match from afar when Italy boss and described it on Friday as a game of two halves.
His Chelsea were determined to dominate the second here, with N'Golo Kante shooting straight at Lloris before Costa tore down the left channel.
He held off Mousa Dembele and cut the ball back across goal. Moses, free on the right, met it and his shot went in off the covering Jan Vertonghen.
Costa attempted to repeat the trick moments later, this time from the right. Another cutback found Marcos Alonso, but he lifted the ball high over the crossbar from 12 yards.
Eriksen improvised to meet a Kane cross, but Courtois held, and next Alli sliced wildly wide from Kane's pass.
Costa headed wide an Alonso cross and substitute Willian blasted another over as Chelsea beat Spurs again.