Some thoughts on our defeat to Chelsea:
As I walked down Wembley walk way, for our first home game of the season (at our interim ground) I had high hopes that we’d put our poor record at the national stadium behind us, with a victory over league champions and bitter rivals Chelsea this afternoon. Despite our 68% ball possession, and our domination of the game which saw us (in my opinion) look the better side for the most part. It just wasn’t to be our day, as Mauricio Pochettino’s side succumbed to a Marcos Alonso brace in what was a cruel 2-1 defeat for our lads. It was always pivotal to start our first game at Wembley off with a positive result, so as to boost our confidence, and the performance from the team was anything but negative, it was just a bitterly disappointing result for the fans to stomach after having been the better team for the majority of the game. It was a great atmosphere in the ground, the Spurs supporters waiving their flags buoyantly as the players took to the field, with last Sunday’s victory over Newcastle still fresh in the mind. The blues may have lacked in creativity for periods of the game, but they gave us a real fright early on. When an unmarked Morata from with in the box, nodded wide Azpilicueta’s cross inside the first few minutes of the game, to the surprise of all who expected him to put Chelsea ahead. That was one of few times Chelsea really threatened inside the first half, (barring their goal) as our lads attacked the blues defence persistently. Our 13 attempts on goal justifying our dominance inside the first 45, we looked confident in our play as we looked to break down a strong Chelsea back three. There was shades of our FA cup semifinal defeat to them back in April, about their first goal of the game. As full back Marcos Alonso gave them the lead out of nothing. As the Spanish international curled a brilliant free kick on the edge of the Spurs box, into the top corner of Lloris’s net leaving our captain helpless.
Our new look side which saw three in the midfield, reacted very well to Chelsea’s opener. The lilywhites continued to dominate possession, creating a host of fine chances including one for Kane, who fired against the inside of Courtois’s post, going into the interval the Spurs players were left pondering how despite all their possession and attacking quality, had they found themselves a goal down! Our luck didn’t improve in the second half, we continued creating chances, notably Eriksen’s fine effort on goal shortly after the restart. But it was that decisiveness in front of goal which was just giving the visitors the edge. What we really craved was pace, our side desperately lacked in it. Had we have had someone with pace who could beat a couple of players down the flank (like Wilfred Zaha) I think it would have been a completely different scoreline, especially with the vast space of the Wembley pitch. I’m really hoping we sign that type of player before the window closes, though I also would like to see pace be injected down the flanks via that of promising academy wingers Anthony Georgiou and Keanan Bennetts. As Pochettino’s side went desperately in search of the equaliser, there were warning signs from Conte’s men when Willian fired an effort against the post on 74 minutes.
Then just as the game was nearing an end, a huge slice of luck drew us level. Chelsea substitute Michy Batshuayi heading the ball in to his own net from Eriksen’s free kick, sending the Spurs fans into delirium. Playing Chelsea at Wembley in recent years has rarely ended well, and just five minutes after Spurs’ equaliser, the west London club stunned the Spurs fans with a cruel late winner. It was that man again Marcos Alonso who fired past Lloris down the left, to put a sad end to our first home game of the season in a game which so easily could have gone the other way. A bitterly disappointing result for the lads, this quote from captain Hugo Lloris epitomises the game perfectly: “I’m very disappointed with the result, obviously, but in terms of the performance, what else can we do? It was a great performance.” Chelsea were very good in areas, though I still think we looked the better side, the magnificence of David Luiz in the midfield and the excellence of Alonso down the left ensured a disappointing introduction to life at Wembley. There’s plenty of positives and encouragement to take from today’s game, and I’m already looking forward to our encounter with Burnley next Sunday. COYS