Facing Tottenham has become a more difficult task for Chelsea and for every other team in the league over the last few years. Now, our bitter North London rivals even have a proven winner in José Mourinho as their leader, and they might be real contenders for the Premier League title, despite what Mourinho wants everyone to believe. (Ed.note: again with the little horses, José?)
As such, putting a dent to their title hopes yesterday, just as we did back in 2016, would have been great, especially as it would’ve also boosted our own chances of winning the league after a four-year gap. However Spurs were more than ready to play the typical “park the bus” tactics of their head coach, happy to settle for the point on the Stamford Bridge turf.
And so they did, the 0-0 scoreline reflecting how “tight” the game felt to those playing in it, including new Chelsea left back Ben Chilwell — who was a beneficiary of the aforementioned Chelsea win against Spurs in the Battle of Stamford Bridge, which confirmed Leicester City as Premier League champions).
“I spoke to a few of the Tottenham boys and we all felt it was pretty tight. It was on a bit of a knife-edge and needed a bit of brilliance from an individual to go and win the game.”
That missing “bit of brilliance” almost arrived not once, but at least twice for Chelsea. The always diligent Mason Mount came close with a long-distance shot that was pushed wide by the fingertip of Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Then striker Olivier Giroud, a late substitute, just failed to lob the ball over his compatriot in our last good chance of the match.
Still, it was very positive to see Chelsea being able to contain the counter-attacking threat of players like Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min, who have been in lethal form this season. That makes missing out on two points less of a bad deal, to be sure.
“Mason’s strike might have done it but it was a great save. Both teams were tactically pretty good and, as much as we’d have liked to have won the game, it was important not to lose either.
“We’re happy with a clean sheet against a great strikeforce like theirs because we know how good they are. Kane and Son are very clinical going forward and the link-up play between them is very good so we’re happy with nullifying them both.
“When you’re battling up the top, you don’t want to give them points and they don’t want to give you points. We wanted to win but we’ll take the draw – we’ve got to be happy with that.
“I don’t know if it was entertaining to watch but I found it pretty entertaining on the pitch because it was two good teams who were tactically very good on the day. I’d have loved for us to win the game at Stamford Bridge against our rivals but for myself and the rest of the defence, the clean sheet is really important for us moving forward.”
At one point in the match, we were a bit concerned with Chilwell rolling his ankle and needing a bit of extended treatment. Fortunately it was not a major issue, as he was able to continue playing the game.
“I was desperate to carry on and thankfully I ran it off. It’s fine now so I’m just looking forward to recovering and hopefully playing again in midweek.”
The midweek match will see Chelsea travel to Spain to face Sevilla in a match that will most likely decide who finishes first in Group E of the Champions League group stage. When we return to Stamford Bridge the following weekend, we will have 2000 of our closest friends in thes tands as well, for the first time since early March and before the pandemic and the lockdowns.
Chilwell has yet to play in front of fans at the Bridge as a Chelsea player, so he’s certainly looking forward to that.
“Myself and a few of the other players haven’t played at the Bridge with fans so we’re very excited to have them back next week. Hopefully they can give us that little push.”
-Ben Chilwell; Source: Chelsea FC
So we hope.