Chelsea dent Spurs’ top four hopes

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  • Post published:May 2, 2024

Chelsea put a dent in Tottenham Hotspur’s top-four hopes in the Premier League following a 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge on Thursday evening.

Chelsea took the lead at Stamford Bridge in the first half thanks to a goal from Trevoh Chalobah, his first since March 2022.

The much-maligned Nicolas Jackson scored his 14th goal of a challenging debut season with the Blues in the closing minutes to seal the victory.

Following their third straight loss, fifth-place Tottenham is now seven points behind fourth-place Aston Villa, following losses to Arsenal and Newcastle.

With four games remaining, Tottenham is the underdog to finish in the Premier League’s top four, while Villa has three games remaining.

For much of Postecoglou’s first season in charge, Tottenham wasted the goodwill that the Australian had built. This was another bitter blow for the team.

After winning 4-1 over his old team in November, Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino celebrated a second victory over them this season while Postecoglou sobs.

Chelsea supporters were displeased with Pochettino when he acknowledged that he was unable to “hide his emotions” for the team he guided to the Champions League final in 2019 and managed for five years.

However, he set such sentiments aside to deliver the outcome they desired, preserving Chelsea’s hopes of finishing in the top eight and ensuring that they would only suffer one loss in 34 league games at home versus Tottenham.

After criticising Tottenham’s careless play in Sunday’s 3-2 loss to Arsenal, Postecoglou made five changes, starting James Maddison out and bringing in Richarlison.

But within five minutes of the game, Chelsea’s manager, in Pochettino’s 400th English football match, ought to have been celebrating a goal.

Cole Palmer managed to scoop up the loose ball from close range after Jackson dashed into the Tottenham area and attempted a shot that slid past Guglielmo Vicario’s clearance off the line but lacked the strength to beat it.

Shortly after, Noni Madueke, a winger for Chelsea, started a strong run and shot just wide from the edge of the box.

Tottenham had given up five goals in their previous two games, four of which had come from set pieces. In the 24th minute, they were penalised for more awful dead-ball marking.

After a free kick from Conor Gallagher bounced into the box, Chalobah was unmarked and powerfully headed the ball over Vicario from 12 yards out.

That brought Postecoglou’s shaky defense’s total of goals allowed from set plays in league games to 22 this season.

Spurs protested to VAR that Chelsea defender Marc Cucurella had prevented Brennan Johnson from marking Chalobah, but their claims were disregarded.

Vicario stopped Mykhailo Mudryk’s deflected drive, and as Chelsea pushed for a second, the Ukraine winger curled just wide.

Spurs, undone by their set-piece shortcomings, came dangerously close to exploiting Chelsea’s defensive weaknesses with a header from Cristian Romero that struck the post after Pedro Porro’s free kick.

By the time the halftime siren went off, Postecoglou appeared more and more agitated, and his reprimanded players responded by playing a more energetic second half.

In Tottenham’s most dangerous moment, Porro’s drive from a tight angle forced Djordje Petrovic to make a stop.

But in the 72nd minute, Chelsea delivered the game-winning blow.

Palmer sent a hard-hitting free-kick off the bar and into Jackson’s goal, who was first to react, heading home from six yards.