"Spurs have got to improve in the final third" - Three things learnt from Tottenham 1-2 Chelsea
Tottenham welcomed to Chelsea in the first Premier League game to ever be played at Wembley, but they could not do enough to secure a win to start their season and suffered their first home defeat of the campaign, something they avoided throughout 2016/17.
Alvaro Morata had a brilliant chance early on but it was Marcos Alonso who opened the scoring with a brilliant free-kick against the run of play. Spurs continued to dominate but could not find a way through a resilient Chelsea defence.
They did eventually though, as Michy Batshuayi headed into his own net only minutes after entering the field of play as a substitute. Alonso was again the saviour though as he produced another fine finish to end a fine counter attack by putting his side back in front.
Here is what The Boot Room learnt from the game…
Harry Kane is more of a threat than Alvaro Morata
Harry Kane may still never have scored in August, but he had chance after chance come his way and tested Thibaut Courtois and the woodwork on several occasions. At the other end, Morata only had two opportunities come his way. The best chance of the game came his way only minutes in but he skewed his header wide from only yards out unmarked.
Morata is clearly still adapting to life in the Premier League and struggled with the physicality of this tie, limiting his ability to hold the ball up and often not being able to offer an outlet to his Chelsea team. Kane on the other hand looked a threat throughout.
This game was all about the midfield battle
In a tough and physical battle, it all came down to the strong midfield pairings that came face to face as Moussa Dembele and Victor Wanyama faced N’Golo Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko. Four of the Premier League’s strongest and most effective midfielders did battle.
Many would say that by dominating the chances and possession, it was Tottenham that won. In truth though, the tie highlighted how limited they are in attack, compared to the marauding runs of Kante and Bakayoko. Whilst Dembele has great vision, he could not drive his team forward on the counter-attack as Bakayoko did.
Tottenham have got to improve in the final third
With an incredible 68% possession and twice as many shots with 18 compared to Chelsea’s nine, Tottenham really should have won this game. However, by looking at the new expected goals stat, you can see why they didn’t. The measure indicates how many goals each side would be expected to score, valuing the quality and conversion probability of each attempt. In that respect, Spurs had 0.6 compared to Chelsea’s 0.9.
Spurs were hugely reliant on Harry Kane, who has failed to score in the opening two league games for yet another season, and lacked a threat elsewhere. Whilst Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen and the like were creative, they did not look likely to score. Thibaut Courtois made some good saves, he was not particularly challenged.