Four key statistics that defined Chelsea’s pulsating 2-1 victory over arch-rivals Tottenham
Chelsea bounced back from their opening day disappointment as Marcos Alonso’s sensational double was enough to inspire Chelsea to victory in Tottenham’s first home match at Wembley Stadium.
The hosts nearly fell behind after just five minutes when Chelsea’s new signing Alvaro Morata headed wide from a free header, but it didn’t take long for the visitors to get their noses in front when Alonso stepped up from 20-yards to fire a superb free-kick over the wall and into the corner.
Harry Kane and Ben Davies both went close just before the break – with the England international striking the post – whilst Spurs also started the second-half strongest, pushing their opponents back.
And just when it seemed that Chelsea had weathered the Tottenham storm, substitute Michy Batshuayi turned Christian Eriksen’s free-kick into his own net to seemingly earn the hosts a deserved point.
But Alonso had other ideas, and just seconds after being booked he burst onto Pedro’s smart through ball and slotted under Hugo Lloris to ensure the travelling fans took the short distance home ecstatic.
The Boot Room takes a look at four statistics that defined the outcome of a dramatic derby clash.
8 – Alonso at the double as rich vein of form continues
Cometh the hour, cometh the man as far as Chelsea supporters are concerned.
The unlikeliest of sources managed to get the Blues’ Premier League title defence well and truly underway with Marcos Alonso spearheading a huge, morale-boosting victory over their near rivals.
It’s somewhat ironic that, amidst all of the talk of Chelsea needing to bring in more personnel before the transfer window shuts on August 31, it was a man whose position in the side is looking at being strengthened – with Alex Sandro sought after – that was a catalyst for their first win of the campaign.
But if there was ever a message of intent for the forthcoming season, this was it, as a stunning free-kick and a smart low finish underneath Hugo Lloris proved the difference in an exciting derby clash.
These goals took his tally to eight since the beginning of last season – a number that no other Premier League defender can match – but it was his overall play that was equally as impressive on Sunday, winning 100% of his tackles, completing 100% of his take-ons and making six key clearances.
592 – Tottenham fail to make their dominance count
Any loss to a top-six side or a London rival will always be a bitter bill to swallow but Tottenham will rightly feel aggrieved to leave with nothing after putting in a promising and dominant performance.
Chelsea arrived at Wembley with a clear game-plan and they executed it very well, tactically out-thinking their opponents at times, but few will truly feel that Tottenham deserved to lose that game.
And the statistics merely compound their dominance; across the 90 minutes they made 592 passes compared to Chelsea’s 283, had 14 corners to 4 and ended the game with a huge 67.5% of possession, but despite their industry and endeavour they couldn’t find a way through a rigid side.
It’s not like they didn’t come agonisingly close though, with star forward Harry Kane striking the upright with just one of his eight shots of the match, but they couldn’t force the ball into the net.
It’ll be tough to take but there was more than enough encouragement from Maurico Pochettino’s side for them to take it on board and mount another season-long challenge for the Premier League.
15 – Christensen rewards Conte’s faith with ruthless display
As much as Tottenham were wasteful when they did get given a sniff in front of goal, the performances that Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger put in were fairly exceptional.
Rudiger perhaps endured a tougher time to start with, walking a tightrope with an early booking whilst often getting his positioning on Harry Kane wrong, but he grew into the game as it went on.
But the undeniable star-man – aside from the obvious goal-scoring hero Alonso – was the young Christensen, a man who was awarded his Premier League debut in the heart of the Chelsea defence by Antonio Conte and stepped up to the mammoth task on hand, keeping Tottenham at bay well.
The 21-year-old was an immense figure at the back, making nine clearances, four critical blocks, winning two aerial duels and generally just putting his life on the line in a true full-blooded display.
It shows the trust that the Chelsea boss has in him to award him his debut in such a high-profile match and, based on his showing on Sunday, he has an awful lot he can offer at Stamford Bridge.
1 – Wembley woes continue for Pochettino
The main build-up to Tottenham’s season to date was leading up to their Wembley debut in the Premier League, with people wondering whether they could finally turn their dismal form around.
Unfortunately for Pochettino’s side, regardless of how promising the performance was against the reigning champions, it was a case of another game, another defeat at the home of English football.
There were always going to be high standards heading into their first match at their new home following an unbeaten season at White Hart Lane – in that respect, they really didn’t help themselves by being so rampant – and Spurs will now just be wanting that first Wembley victory.
Just one win in their past ten matches there doesn’t particularly make good reading but, with Burnley the next visitors, there’s no better time to register another ‘W’ to kick-start their season.