William The Tottenham Conqueror (Sky Sports)
Chelsea 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1
Chelsea snatched a dramatic 2-1 victory over Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Saturday thanks to William Gallas' spectacular injury-time winner.
After missing a gilt-edged chance just seconds beforehand, Michael Essien put the home side ahead after 14 minutes. Chelsea looked to be cruising before Jermaine Jenas levelled on the stroke of half time, and, as Spurs seemed on the verge of earning a valuable draw, William Gallas struck a memorable winner to seal another three points for the champions.
Martin Jol's men have not beaten The Blues for 16 years, but had Jenas done better with a late chance when one-on-one with Petr Cech, the men from White Hart Lane could have been celebrating a famous victory rather than mourning yet another West London defeat.
After a minute of applause in memory of recently departed Chelsea legend Peter Osgood, the game got underway on a re-laid pitch which looked to be in absolutely immaculate condition.
Although Chelsea were by far the more positive side in the opening skirmishes, Spurs looked quite assured at the back, with Michael Dawson reacting quickly to snuff out any danger when Hernan Crespo lurked dangerously on the edge of the box.
Spurs then began creating chances of their own and Mido's wayward snapshot pre-empted a period of sustained pressure that saw the Chelsea defence start to look stretched.
Their good early work should have been undone after ten minutes, however, when Shaun Wright-Phillips burst down the wing after being picked out by a Cech clearance. Paul Robinson did well to block the shot, but when the rebound fell to Essien, he could only guide his finish wide of the gaping goal.
He atoned four minutes later, however, when he opened the scoring after more good work from Wright-Phillips. After intercepting Michael Carrick's ill-judged pass to Young-pyo Lee, the England man pulled the ball back into the area, where a clever step-over from Crespo left the way clear for Essien to turn the ball past a helpless Robinson.
Robert Huth hammered in a right-footed piledriver from 35 yards which bounced to safety via Robinson's chest as Chelsea gave the impression that they were merely cruising, while Spurs' lack of width served to cripple any attacking ambition that they may have harboured.
Cole was unlucky to see his shot drift wide after Crespo had played him in on the counter-attack, but Stamford Bridge was rocked on the stroke of half-time when Spurs pulled level through Jenas.
After a needless foul by Wright-Phillips, Carrick drifted a right-footed free-kick towards the edge of the area, where Dawson headed down after rising above Huth. Jenas' quicksilver reactions got him to the ball ahead of Gallas, stabbing home from six yards to give Spurs an unlikely equaliser.
The second-half began much in the same style as the first, with the goal fortifying Tottenham's belief that they might be able to nick something from their West London rivals. Cole tested Robinson from the edge of the area, but the England keeper dealt with the shot comfortably.
Gallas popped one at Robinson from range as both teams started playing some attractive football. Ledley King had a nervous moment when he almost put through his own net under pressure from Crespo and Robinson then had to be at his very best to deny John Terry's header from the resulting corner.
Jose Mourinho introduced Damien Duff and Didier Drogba in a bid to get a grip on the game, but the move backfired as the impetus passed to a Spurs side who looked to filter all their attacking play through the highly impressive Robbie Keane.
They should have taken the lead with 12 minutes remaining when Ledley King clipped a superb ball over Gallas and into the vacant left back channel. Jenas' first touch was equally outstanding, but he then hit his shot straight at Cech when, had he guided it either side, he would surely have put the visitors ahead.
Drogba had a late chance to nick it, but Robinson proved his world class credentials, pushing the volley onto his left-hand upright. Despite their brave performance for 90 minutes, Spurs were then sunk with a cruel stoppage-time winner from Gallas.
The French defender cut inside from an advanced position on the left wing before unleashing an unstoppable right-footed thunderbolt which left Robinson with absolutely no chance.
|Chelsea||Team Name||Tottenham Hotspur|
|9||Shots on Target||3|
|3||Shots off Target||1|
Cech, Gallas, Huth, Ferreira, Terry J. Cole (Duff
68), Essien (Maniche 77), Lampard, Makelele, Wright-Phillips (Drogba 68), Crespo
Subs Not Used Cudicini, Del Horno
Booked Duff, Drogba
Goals Essien 14, Gallas 90
Robinson, Dawson, King, Lee, Stalteri, Carrick,
Davids, Jenas, Tainio, Keane, (Defoe 83)
Subs Not Used Cerny, Gardner, Lennon, Murphy
Goals Jenas 45