Chelsea visited Tottenham Hotspur Stadium yesterday, in a game which was the first real test for Thomas Tuchel. The German manager got one over Jose Mourinho’s side as the Special One lost two consecutive home games for the first time in his managerial career.
The Blues spent most of the game dominating possession while the white side of London sat back and with a deep defensive line. Eric Dier gifted Chelsea a penalty in the 24th minute by fouling Timo Werner. Jorginho managed to convert it and break the deadlock for the visitors. Tottenham ended the first half in a very disappointing manner, having an xG of just 0.15.
In the second half, Chelsea still continued to dominate Tottenham, but not as much as they did in the first half. Mourinho’s men did try to create chances but they lacked urgency. The likes of Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura were brought on as substitutes, but they could hardly do anything to change the game. Chelsea looked very well-organised and disciplined defensively, which eventually got them the 3 points.
Tottenham started with the 4-2-3-1 formation. Eric Dier returned to the starting XI following his absence in a 1-0 defeat against Brighton. Carlos Vinicius featured as the main striker, trying to fill the gap created by Harry Kane’s injury.
Thomas Tuchel continued with 3-4-3, with the back three of Azpilicueta, Silva and Rudiger. Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic kept their place after impressing in the manager’s first two games. The front three included Timo Werner, Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Tottenham allowing Chelsea too much space
Chelsea were easily able to dominate possession yesterday. Tottenham giving too much space to the players is one of the main reasons. They clearly lacked urgency and failed to have an organised structure, especially in the first half. Chelsea ended the first 45 minutes with 69% possession.
Mourinho’s side looked lethargic off the ball, which is very ironic since the Portuguese manager puts a lot of emphasis on “controlling the game off the ball” in his footballing philosophy. It is pretty clear that Tottenham brought this on themselves by inviting pressure instead nullifying Chelsea’s creators.
Chelsea’s midfield masterclass
In the club’s first three games under Thomas Tuchel, it looks clear that he wants his side’s midfielders to be the main controllers of their play. We also talked about this in our previous piece. Jorginho, in particular, was fantastic, delivering a Man of the Match performance. The Italian midfielder ended the game with a passing accuracy of 92%, also creating two chances and scoring Chelsea’s only goal.
The midfield partnership of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic (nicknamed “Jovacic” by the fans) seems to be working well so far. The two are also not exposed defensively since they have three centre-backs guarding the backline while they do the job of creating. Thomas Tuchel deserves a lot of credit for the way he has been setting up Chelsea so far.
Tottenham miss Harry Kane
Tottenham’s talisman Harry Kane picked up an injury in their defeat against Liverpool last week. The England captain has been in fine form this season. There is no doubt that Tottenham have been relying too much on him this season.
Harry Kane has made 23 goal contributions in the league this season, scoring 12 goals and assisting 11 goals. To make things more interesting, Tottenham have scored 34 goals in the league. This means that the club have scored 67.6% of goals in which Harry Kane has been involved. This sums up how important he has been for Jose Mourinho this season. Furthermore, fans and experts have also claimed Tottenham to be a “one man army” because of too much reliance on the English striker.
With Kane out of the team, Tottenham’s performances this season have mostly looked lacklustre. This can be a serious problem for Mourinho in the long run and he has to fix this before more teams find a way to expose his side.