Tottenham 0-3 Chelsea: Spurs outclassed in second-half showing as Silva, Kante and Rudiger strike in derby

·4-min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

For 45 minutes Chelsea had not been great. But before the game had even hit the hour mark, they had killed it as a contest, silenced the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and turned London blue.

That is what champions do. When required, they have the ability to shift gear and leave rivals in their wake.

Spurs experienced that to painful effect. Up against an opponent on another level, they saw the game taken away from them in the blink of an eye.

It did not require a moment of individual brilliance, rather a collective responsibility to exert their authority.

Thiago Silva’s 49th-minute header put them in front and substitute N’Golo Kante’s shot, which wickedly ricocheted off Eric Dier, ensured Chelsea maintained their unbeaten start to the season and moved level on points with Liverpool and Manchester United at the top of the Premier League table.

Toni Rudiger completed what ended up a routine win when sweeping home a third in stoppage time to prompt a mass exodus and leave the visiting fans to provide the soundtrack to final moments.

Kante’s introduction at half-time was significant – but so was Thomas Tuchel’s ability to change the course of a game midway through.

Of course having players with the ability of the France midfielder to bring on helps. But the German has barely put a foot wrong since taking over at Stamford Bridge in January and it is hard to avoid the thought his team look like title-winners in the making.

They withstood Tottenham’s bold and ambitious start before powering to victory after the break.

A 3-0 score-line ultimately flattered the home side, such was the frequency with which Chelsea opened them up in the later stages. And even in the first half they could point to poor decision-making or quality in the final third when they failed to exploit promising opportunities.

But this is not a Chelsea team to feel sorry for itself. It is one that keeps coming up with fresh solutions.

On a day when Romelu Lukaku did not add to his impressive record of four goals in his previous three games, two centre backs found the back of the net, along with a midfielder more known for shackling opponents than shooting on sight.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Lukaku had every right to feel frustrated with those around him – and he certainly let them know his feelings – as they consistently failed to provide him with the quality of service he demanded. Yet this was still a handsome margin of victory from a team that still seems to be short of reaching its peak.

If only the Belgian had been presented with the opportunities that Kai Havertz squandered in the first half or Timo Werner when replacing his German compatriot.

Meanwhile Hugo Lloris pulled off a spectacular save to deny Marcos Alonso and Dier’s goal-line clearance also prevented wingback from finding the back of the net.

Spurs must have wondered if their promising opening had been a figment of their imagination, when Chelsea had been forced to defend deep in the opening stages – or when Rudiger’s lunge was required to stop Giovanni Lo Celso from opening the scoring.

On a day when both sets of fans joined to commemorate the late, great Jimmy Greaves, the home support had fed off the energetic and adventurous start of their side.

But this is a Chelsea team that is totally at ease when soaking up pressure and hitting the opposition on the break.

An air shot from Havertz should have seen them open the scoring before Lukaku curiously opted to square to Mason Mount when the shot was on for him to test Lloris from distance.

Those moments epitomised Chelsea’s uncertainty in the final third, which is why their transformation after the break was so dramatic.

They had ended the first half failing to register a single shot on target – the first time that had happened in a Premier League game since Tuchel took charge - but Lloris was forced into action immediately after the restart, with Alonso’s spectacular volley prompting a reaction save.

Just moments later Spurs were picking the ball out of the back of the net when Silva broke the deadlock. The Brazilian timed his run perfectly to meet Alonso’s corner and neither Dele Alli nor Dier could get up quickly enough to cut out the danger.

It could have been two shortly after when Dier blocked Alonso’s effort on the line and Rudiger called Lloris into action again.

They were turning the cogs and crushing Spurs’ resolve. A huge amount of fortune led to Kante’s 57th-minute strike, but that is what happens when opponents are increasingly stretched and forced to retreat.

His long-range was on target, but completely changed course after deflecting off Dier to leave Lloris standing.

That was it. Game over. The stadium knew it. This is what Chelsea do – beat you on the pitch and in the head. It was a case of how great the margin of victory would be.

Lukaku looked desperate to add to his account and it felt inevitable there would be more goals – as proved the case in the dying moments. But it was Rudiger who applied the finishing touch, rather than the £97.5million man.

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