Tottenham Spoils Chelsea’s Run at History
Dele Alli, already climbing the ranks of Premier League popularity, perhaps waited for his largest test to display his best effort yet, scoring two goals from headers, enough to give Tottenham the 2-0 victory and bring an end to Chelsea’s 13-match winning streak.
Defense has been the bedrock of the Premier League leader, largely responsible for the side’s success the past three months. Chelsea manager Antonio Conte established his side’s winning run when he switched to a three-man defense.
But Alli found space to score two goals, nearly identical, in each half at White Hart Lane. Christian Eriksen assisted on each of the goals.
The 20-year-old has now scored seven goals in four matches, this time it was enough to hand Chelsea its first loss in north London since they last played Arsenal. It additionally prevented the Blues from earning a league-record 14th successive win in a single season.
“This league is very tough,” Conte was quoted as saying after the loss. “Now it’s important to restart. After 13 wins in a row, it’s difficult to accept defeat.”
Chelsea are still firmly positioned atop the league table by five points over Liverpool. After their fifth successive victory, Spurs are seven points behind third place.
Tottenham’s efforts in the match exposed a leak in the aforementioned three-man defense Conte and Chelsea have relied so heavily upon. After allowing just two goals through 12 matches, Chelsea have conceded four in their last two matches. The Spurs matched Conte’s formations and afforded it few opportunities, while also proving stronger at the back, frustrating Chelsea’s front line.
The Blues seemed more poised to score while on the counterattack during the first half, however, Tottenham executed on a brief, but brutal, error from Chelsea just before halftime. It was Alli who made the breakthrough.
Left unmarked between Victor Moses and César Azpilicueta, snaked his way towards a cross from Eriksen and nodded the ball past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
It was almost deja vu in the 54th minute when Eriksen, again, found Alli with space between Moses and Azpilicueta. Alli once again found the target from near the back post with his header.
“I didn’t get on the ball as much as I would have liked to,” Alli said after the match.
Turns out, he got it just as much as he needed.
On the day before Tottenham were set to square off against the league’s leaders, Coach Mauricio Pochettino described Alli as the “most important player to emerge in English football in recent years.”