Chelsea confirmed their finest and worst sides. Tottenham, too, actually. However the primary occasion between Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte was price it.
1) Antonio Conte won’t ever get his one common day of Barclays.
2) Spare a thought for maybe the one particular person who wouldn’t have loved these 90 tetchy, pulsating, needle-fuelled minutes: Mark Clattenburg will need to have hated the long-awaited sequel to the Battle of the Bridge involving a referee who had no “gameplan”. Disgrace on Anthony Taylor.
3) Does anybody else instantly actually miss Erik Lamela?
4) It’s virtually (however crucially completely in no way) a disgrace that Conte and Thomas Tuchel’s sudden blood feud will overshadow the much less headline-worthy, eye-catching side of their duel. The tactical tête-à-tête between two tremendously gifted technicians, teasing out their touchline tussle, was titillating.
It was a Tuchel TKO in spherical one. Chelsea overloaded the midfield, a lot as they needed to nice impact in January’s Carabao semi-final, and Tottenham’s counter-attacking menace collapsed in on itself as Heung-min Son and Dejan Kulusevski dropped again to supply assist.
Conte responded in variety, rejecting the temptation of a half-time quintuple substitution and as a substitute tweaking his system to reflect Chelsea’s, prompting the primary equaliser.
Tuchel realigned his system with a single substitution, changing Jorginho with Cesar Azpilicueta to offer way more width with Reece James freed to play at wing-back – and rating Chelsea’s second.
Conte, creating his personal luck, ended the sport with Harry Kane, Richarlison, Ivan Perisic, Kulusevski and Lucas Moura on the pitch within the mad pursuit of one other leveller. A barely deflected header from a nook that in all probability shouldn’t have been is pretty much as good as any aim and for as soon as the shortage of a definitive winner in a recreation between two bitter rivals felt like essentially the most satisfying potential conclusion.
5) Hopefully Conte versus Tuchel does not less than distract the punditocracy for lengthy sufficient to keep away from any additional tedious dialogue about referees.
Chelsea had complaints surrounding the concession of each Tottenham targets. A foul from Rodrigo Bentancur on Kai Havertz within the build-up to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s strike went unpunished, as did Cristian Romero’s unsolicited act of intercourse masochism on Marc Cucurella.
There in all probability are reputable factors to be made concerning each: the primary foul was missed and VAR couldn’t pull play again that far, whereas Romero’s foul at one nook must have negated the taking of the one from which Kane scored.
However as ever, in case your takeaway from a recreation of that high quality is to get pissy concerning the officers for longer than 5 seconds, you’re watching this sport for the unsuitable causes.
6) Additionally, Chelsea and Tuchel’s protestations are ever so barely undermined by Jorginho deciding to do a drag-back in his personal penalty space and Kane being left unmarked from a second-half stoppage-time nook. It’s troublesome to moderately accuse referees of negligence, complacency or errors with a straight face after defending like that.
7) Within the case of Tuchel – and in that specific literal and figurative post-match warmth – the German will be considerably excused for publicly focusing a lot on Taylor’s efficiency. However the coming days have to be occupied with some introspection as to how Chelsea allowed this recreation to slide from their masterful management.
The primary half particularly was a reminder as to how wonderful this group and coach will be. Chelsea managed the match and bent an exquisite, assured Tottenham facet to its whim.
Their summer time switch window has been far much less heralded than these of many others – Spurs included – however Cucurella, Kalidou Koulibaly and Raheem Sterling have raised the technical degree of this facet significantly compared to their predecessors. The latter two have been instrumental within the creation of the second aim.
With that stated, when essentially the most defensive of these three additions is presently one of the best answer to a seemingly perennial and squad-wide profligacy, that does reasonably underline their most evident drawback.
8) A slight complication in that regard is that Chelsea’s entrance three have been distinctive within the first half in all the things however aim menace. Sterling continuously modified positions with Havertz and Mason Mount, the trio coercing Tottenham’s defenders to give up possession with their power and drive.
It’s concurrently apparent why Romelu Lukaku didn’t match, but additionally why Chelsea deemed him a signing price making. That assault works finest and appears way more fluid with no inflexible centre-forward point of interest, but a kind of gamers goes to have to achieve a presently unexpected degree of goalscoring efficiency to stop the problem from rearing its head each different week.
The highest 5 scorers of Tuchel’s 95-game Chelsea regime are: Mount (19 targets), Havertz (18), Jorginho, Timo Werner and Lukaku (all 14). That speaks significantly deafening volumes.
9) The primary-half imbalance was maybe finest summed up by the interval between the seventh and 14th minutes, throughout which no Tottenham participant had a single contact within the opposition half. Chelsea penned their guests in so completely as to isolate and subsequently neuter one of many Premier League’s finest and most fluid entrance strains. Their urgent was ferocious and in stark distinction to the lethargy which underpinned the awkward opening win over Everton. Tottenham have been continuously squeezed off the ball, their gamers by no means given greater than a second to assume earlier than the blue swarm arrived, whereas Chelsea appeared blessed with the requisite time and house to choose their moments.
Arsenal and Tottenham have definitely closed that hole to Chelsea however this was proof – and it completely was wanted if pre-season forecasts are something to go by – that the Blues stay on the rostrum with Manchester Metropolis and Liverpool.
10) However their solely aim in that opening interval was a freakish occasion: an unmarked centre-half’s volley straight from a nook. Congratulations to Koulibaly on his Garth Crooks group of the week debut however Chelsea didn’t make something near sufficient of their clear benefit till nor after his wonderful effort.
The sight of him standing on the sting of the realm with no Tottenham defender inside a couple of yards was undoubtedly slightly jarring but it surely inevitably gave rise to the same old mistaken critiques of zonal marking. Fairly frankly, it’s been round lengthy sufficient, is deployed by greater than sufficient and has confirmed to be a greater sufficient possibility than man-to-man when carried out correctly that folks actually ought to recover from it.
11) Inside minutes of the second half, a primary actual sight of Kane because the striker turned on the ball and slipped Son in for a quarter-chance. Some time later he had his personal alternative when performed by means of by Hojbjerg however his early shot was dragged simply huge. It appeared like it could not be the England captain’s afternoon till his late equaliser.
The half he performed within the build-up to that second aim shouldn’t be ignored. Simply as James was being topped a deserved man of the match for a positive recreation, the Chelsea defender was lured into needlessly fouling Kane in a harmful place.
That free-kick was curled in by Perisic, cleared by Azpilicueta and deflected out for a nook from Yves Bissouma’s volley. That was the supply at which Romero tugged on Cucurella’s hair and Ben Davies compelled a fantastic save out of Edouard Mendy. From the following nook, Kane earned Tottenham a degree that may very well be traced again a few minutes to his expertise in incomes that free-kick.
12) That was probably the one blemish for James, who was in any other case imperious in defence and influential in assault.
Son provided treasured little and isn’t accustomed to being eliminated so quickly in video games of such significance. When James was then switched to play at wing-back he immediately whipped in a wonderful ball for Havertz to someway miss, earlier than ending a positive transfer for the second aim.
He really is a superb participant and it’s an actual disgrace he has to spend his existence on the Erling Haaland v Darwin Nunez undercard in a perennial battle with Trent Alexander-Arnold that neither deserves to be lowered to.
13) Richarlison had seven touches, no pictures, no key passes, no dribbles and no statistical influence of any tangible notice in his 33 minutes. But the Brazilian nonetheless helped change the sport by means of his angle and software, chasing down and discovering beforehand misplaced causes and cajoling that further ounce of power, perception and resolve from his teammates.
He’ll probably by no means match the technical degree of Kane and Son however there’s a nice deal to be stated for a participant who provides one thing distinctive. Richarlison’s work ethic and sheer tenacity could make the distinction. And this type of irritable, fractious recreation suited his model completely completely.
When Conte finds an unpickable lock, Richarlison would be the one he trusts most of the time to run a gap into the bottom so Tottenham can discover an alternate route. There have been indicators of that right here.
14) And this may absolutely be Conte’s final stand by way of not beginning any of his shiny new signings. Richarlison may not essentially have earned himself a spot within the first XI however Ivan Perisic and Bissouma ought to have. Or reasonably, Ryan Sessegnon and both Hojbjerg or Bentancur performed themselves out of 1.
Emerson Royal equally must concern for his place. No Tottenham participant seemed significantly comfy in that first half however he was categorically essentially the most panicked in possession and Matt Doherty may have loved the view.
15) N’Golo Kante, chic earlier than his hamstring harm, deserves a point out. The equally unreliable Ruben Loftus-Cheek might need discovered unlikely salvation in that hybrid proper wing-back function. It requires a sure degree of intelligence to play such a layered place and his midfield background actually does lend itself to these drifting and driving runs from huge.
The psychological power he has wanted to beat obstacles and maximise his bodily and technical capabilities mustn’t go unnoticed. The following stage is to develop his decision-making and closing ball as a result of that was noticeably missing in a group hardly geared up to let the alternatives created by his dribbling go to waste.
16) Body 144-cap England worldwide Karen Carney’s face simply after Graeme Souness stated “I believe we’ve bought our soccer again, as I might get pleasure from soccer, males at it,” and dangle it within the sodding Louvre.