Analysing how Pedro tore apart Tottenham's makeshift defence for Chelsea
With Chelsea having conceded for the first time in over 10 hours of football and Tottenham also having had a goal ruled out for offside in a tense and hard fought first half at Stamford Bridge, Antonio Conte desperately needed a moment of magic to boost his team and inspire them into a comeback against their London rivals, who had not won at the Blues’ home ground since Gary Lineker scored the winner in 1990. Then popped up Pedro.
The Spaniard’s excellent ball skills found just enough space for him to take a touch and power the ball into the back of the net past a helpless Hugo Lloris in the Chelsea goal as Eric Dier desperately attempted to close him down on the stroke of half time.
The former Barcelona forward has had a newfound confidence in Antonio Conte’s new system and now has three goals and three assists in his last three games at Stamford Bridge as he finally seems to be finding his feet in London.
With his pace clearly on display, he got at Kevin Wimmer and Jan Vertonghen on the left hand side of Tottenham’s defence in the absence of Danny Rose and his footwork, movement and pace caused confusion which often allowed Victor Moses acres of space to drift in at the far post as he did for Chelsea’s winning goal ten minutes into the second half.
With a 94.1% pass completion ratio, this really was a display of Pedro at his best. Consistently looking to run at the Spurs defence, he ensured that they did not get a moment’s rest and worked well with Moses to ensure that they had double the impact as Chelsea bombed forwards on the counter attack.
However, he didn’t shy away from his defensive responsibilities either. With five of his six tackles being successful, with five coming in his own half, he defied criticisms previously thrown his way that he too often plays in too much of an advanced role and fails to track back. Clearly, he has adapted to Conte’s set up.
Now, the challenge will be for him to maintain this fine run of form. The 29-year-old has rarely had such a run in the first team during his professional career and he is thoroughly enjoying the experience, with Chelsea seemingly looking more and more like title contenders with every passing week. A lot of that is down to performances like this one from Pedro.
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