Chelsea vs Spurs Match Review (5/1/22)
Antonio Conte's return to Stamford bridge left him with a sour taste after Tuchel's blues tore Spurs apart in a game where the score line ,2-0, flattered the opposition.
A Chelsea team which prior to kick off held uncertainty after the revelations of Kante and Thiago Silva catching covid resulting in them becoming unavailable for both legs, were impressed the fans with a fantastic and dominant first half display that earned them two goals through a Havertz goal early on and a hilarious, fortunate own goal from Davies after he had the ball headered into him by his own teammate, Tanganga, from a Zyiech set piece to comically put it in the back of his own net.
The second half while had its fair share of wasted Chelsea opportunities and a small but brief glimpse of life from spurs, was not as eventful as the first half. Nether less, Chelsea were able to dominate Spurs and go into the second leg of the semi-finals next week with a comfortable score line.
An interesting development in Tuchel's tactics from this game was a tweak in his 3-back system to accommodate recent injuries and absentees by using Ziyech as a make-shift right wing-back out of possession to keep his defensive shape, but then in possession Ziyech would be allowed to have the freedom and space of a winger or even a number 10. This change worked a treat against a very poor Spurs team with Ziyech winning a deserved MOTM for his performance, on another night where the chances he created (4 key passes and 2 big chances) are put away he would have been receiving more praise.
Other standouts in the game for Chelsea were Malang Sarr and Saul who had displayed the hard work they put in training to get into the team on the pitch with Sarr looking extremely comfortable partnering Rudiger in a flexible back four and Saul having his best game in a Chelsea shirt by a long mile. His passing was sharp and accurate, something that he has been previously lacking since his arrival, as well as his defensive abilities against some of the best forwards in the Premier League such as Kane, Son and Moura was perfect not putting a foot wrong. For these players their next step should be to consistently perform like this to prove to the coach and fans that this was not a one-off.
It was also an interesting game from Lukaku, starting after his hostage-like apology video with a less than spectacular performance. By no means was it an awful game but not the type of game that will win over the fans after recent events. He did however show positive signs to the home crowd making a point of clapping the home support after the final whistle before running down the tunnel.
Spurs disappointed in the first leg after a relatively successful unbeaten domestic run, Lucas Moura was the only positive for Spurs as he was the only player that attempted to cause problems and look like he actually cared. The problem at Spurs in my opinion right now is that they do not have the quality to match the ambition of their fans and the owners, players like Doherty, Tanganga, Ndombele and Davies are not the type of quality that a team in a super stadium like Spurs' should be playing regularly.
All in all, a dominant display from a weaker Chelsea team on paper, against a strong Spurs side that failed to excite the away fans. The main positives that Chelsea fans can come away from this game with is that Tuchel is able to tinker his tactics if necessary for the success of the team showing again why Tuchel is such a fantastic manager that the club need to back in both the ongoing January window and the upcoming Summer transfer window.