Until kickoff at Stamford Bridge, it had been an abysmal week for Dele Alli. Dropped from the England squad, facing questions over his form, and publicly called out by Gareth Southgate, the Tottenham playmaker was facing a career-defining moment.
As all great players do, Alli stepped up to the occasion, producing a fantastic display which propelled Spurs to their first ever Premier League win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The Englishman played an integral role in all three of Spurs’ goals and showed glimpses of top form that have rarely been seen this season.
In an effort reminiscent of Harry Kane’s famous curled goal in the north London derby, a couple of seasons ago, Alli chased down what looked like a lost cause in the far corner. His brilliant show of commitment and never-say-die attitude saved the ball from dribbling out for a Chelsea throw.
Moments later, thanks to the 21-year-old’s tireless work, Christian Eriksen collected the ball thirty yards out from goal and struck a long-range thunderbolt past the helpless Willy Caballero, levelling the score right before the interval.
Alli’s vital contribution to the first goal set the tone for a spellbinding second-half display. His perfectly timed run in between the Blues defense was well found by a lofted ball from Eric Dier, and Alli plucked the ball sumptuously out of the air and fired home to make it 2-1.
Just minutes later, after a dangerous run and strike from Heung-min Son, Alli slotted home from close range to double Tottenham’s advantage. It was a scrappy goal that revealed his predatory instincts and composure in tight spaces.
It was a big-time performance from a big-time player and one that could not have come at a better time for the midfielder. After all the criticisms levelled at Alli this year, his hard-earned double could provide him with the confidence boost he needs to excel in the closing months of the season and take Russia by storm.
Crucially, it all but secured Spurs’ Champions League place for next season while likely condemning Chelsea to the Europa League. Thanks to the brilliance of Dele Alli, Tottenham Hotspur looks set to assume the mantle of London’s top club.