There was to be no exhibition in the art of finishing on the day these bitter London rivals united in memory of Jimmy Greaves.
No more goals for Romelu Lukaku who has returned to Chelsea in prolific form, although he went close with a header four minutes from time, saved by Hugo Lloris. Nothing from Harry Kane who spent most of the game on the left of Tottenham’s front three and took more than an hour to produce an effort at goal.
Instead it was Thiago Silva who broke the deadlock with a header from a corner, and N’Golo Kante who claimed the second, helped past Lloris by a heavy deflection from Eric Dier.
Antonio Rudiger added the third in stoppage time at the end of the match, sweeping in from a cross by Timo Werner to complete an emphatic victory for the visitors.
It was the cue for thousands of the Spurs fans to head for the exits. Those who remained jeered their team at the final whistle. After starting the season with three wins they have lost the last two and a home defeat against the Blues from the west of the capital is always hard to take.
Especially on the day when they lost their greatest ever player, Greaves, who scored on his debut for Chelsea against Tottenham before arriving at White Hart Lane via Milan to score 266 goals and become a hero and a legend.
Jubilant away fans taunted their rivals. “Tottenham Hotspur, it’s happened again,’’ they sang as they climbed back to the top of the Premier League.
There were times during a frantic derby when some seemed intimidated by the Greaves factor, as if reluctant to shoot in his deference. Kai Havertz missed his connection with the ball as he attempted to volley a header across goal from Cesar Azpilicueta.
Then Mason Mount sprang dangerously out of defence and traded passes with Romelu Lukaku as he held off Eric Dier. Spurs were outnumbered but Mount’s poor return pass did not present Lukaku with the chance to shoot with his first touch.
Instead, he was forced to roll the ball square, back to Mount and the delay gave Emerson Royal the chance to slide in and block the chance.
At the other end, midway through the first half, Sergio Reguilon was sent sprinting clear by Heung-min Son, but clearly did not fancy the angle on goal because he opted to attempt a cross, searching for Giovani Lo Celso, easily cut out by Rudiger.
Both Lo Celso and Cristian Romero started for Spurs, despite only returning to London on the eve of the game after international duty. They reported to play for Argentina in South America against the club’s wishes and served 10 days of quarantine in Croatia before they were able to return to training.
Even at 2-0 up, with the pressure off, Mateo Kovacic seemed to freeze in front of goal and failed to beat Lloris when he seemed certain to score.
Chelsea seized control at the start of the second half, soon after boss Thomas Tuchel bolstered his midfield, sending on N’Golo Kante for Mount during the interval. Lloris pushed over a sweet volley by Marcos Alonso before the visitors took the lead from a corner, taken by Alonso and converted by Silva, who arrived late and climbed above Dele Alli to head in his first goal of 2021.
Tottenham wobbled, suddenly vulnerable at the back. Dier cleared off the line from Alonso after splendid work on the flanks by Havertz and Azpilicueta. Lloris saved again, this time from a header by Rudiger. But could not resist the pressure.
Lo Celso lost the ball in defence and Kante took aim from distance. Lloris was stranded as the shot crashed into Dier’s left shin and the ball deflected. Swerving across goal, it struck a post, spun across the line, behind the Spurs ‘keeper and into the net.
Kane finally stirred and tested Kepa, starting his first game of the season because Edouard Mendy was still suffering from a knock he picked up late in the Champions League tie against Zenit tomorrow. Chelsea might have scored more. Lloris saved from Silva, Lukaku and Kovacic before Rudiger’s goal.
Man Utd 2-1 West Ham; Brighton Hove and Albion 2-1 Leicester — Daily Mail