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Victor Moses leads Chelsea to narrow 2-1 victory over Tottenham
For the first time since a 3-0 defeat to Arsenal on September 24, Chelsea allowed a goal. The Blues had maintained an astonishing run of over nine-hundred minutes without conceding in league play, winning six consecutive games on the trot, but Christian Eriksen’s early snap-shot sucked the life out of Stamford Bridge in Tottenham Hotspur’s visit to West London on Saturday night.
Chelsea looked uncomfortable for long periods in the first half, struggling to rediscover the rhythm that had come so naturally to an unchanged team of starters in victories over Manchester United, Everton, Southampton, Hull City, Middlesborough, and Leicester City in the past month and a half.
Yet the Blues showed the true marks of title contenders in a hard-fought comeback victory, with goals from Pedro and Victor Moses turning the ship around for Antonio Conte’s men. As the title race begins to take shape, these narrow victories and passionate comebacks over close title rivals become far more important than the 4-0 and 5-0 victories that Chelsea have notched in spades this year.
The win sends Chelsea back atop the Premier League table and reaffirms the increasingly optimistic tone setting in at Stamford Bridge. While the tempestuous departure of Jose Mourinho left Chelsea ravaged and dispirited last season, Conte has restored a sense of team unity this year that was crucial in beating previously undefeated Tottenham.
Spurs were dominant in the early stages, imposing their creative attacking play on Chelsea in the middle of the park. Mauricio Pochettino’s men opened the scoring just ten minutes in, setting the tone for an exciting affair. Son Heung-Min danced through the middle and poked the ball through to Christian Eriksen, who snatched a quick volley towards the top left corner from the edge of the area. The strike had just enough swerve to evade the outstretched fingertips of Thibaut Courtois and nestle neatly in the back of the net, putting Chelsea on the back foot.
Tottenham had the majority of the chances and possession in the first period, but Chelsea nipped an unexpected equalizer right on the brink of the half when Pedro whipped a beautiful twenty-five-yard strike around Hugo Lloris and into the bottom corner of the net.
The goal sparked a wave of determination from Chelsea, with Conte’s men returning for the second half with renewed vigor. It took only six minutes for Chelsea to complete the turnaround as Costa bulldozed his way down the left and cut the ball across the face of goal for Victor Moses to come streaking in from the right to finish.
In a right wing-back position, Moses has been rejuvenated under Conte this season, finally settling in after loan spells at Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham United. The twenty-five-year-old has enjoyed an extended run in the starting lineup, joining ten other players in a group that are already being dubbed as Conte’s “Undroppables” as Chelsea gear up for a formidable title charge.
Homepage photo credit: @cfcunofficial [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons