Chelsea gives title warning with tight win over Spurs
Nov 27 (Gracenote) – Results and standings from the Bundesliga matches on Sunday Sunday, November 27 Hertha Berlin 2 Mainz 1 Schalke 04 3 SV Darmstadt 98 1 Saturday, November 26 Cologne
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The Premier League isn’t won on the nights when things are working for you. No, it isn’t those blissful days when your defense is imperious, most every pass is connecting, your tactics are befuddling your opponents and your strikers stick away the bulk of their chances that ultimately make the difference.
The Premier League is won on the nights when things aren’t working. When you aren’t yourself. When things that normally come naturally are suddenly hard. It’s when all of those things are true and you get a result anyway. When you win anyway. That’s where the edge is gained between those who lift the trophy and all the rest.
Much like the way Chelsea beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 on Saturday to regain first place after a few hours out of it.
Teams have good games and bad ones. Even eventual champions. But what makes them champions is how they cope with the adversity. How they manage to improvise and scrounge up points when it’s a struggle, when the going is hard.
Because for the first half of this London derby between teams aspiring to the title, managed by tactical savants, the Spurs were all over their hosts. They had not won at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League era, not in 26 years. Chelsea, meanwhile, had been in such hot form in Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 formation that they hadn’t changed their lineup in a record six games, won all of those – the home matches by scores of 3-0, 4-0 and 5-0 – and hadn’t conceded in almost 600 minutes.
But the high press deployed by Mauricio Pochettino was so effective that it disrupted Chelsea completely. The Blues struggled to get out of their half, and when they did, they didn’t connect as all passing options were marked and all dribbling avenues closed.
Just five minutes in, Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen scooped a free kick over the wall where it fell for Harry Kane. He slammed it home but was rightly called offside.
In the 11th minute, however, Eriksen opened the scoring and ended Chelsea’s scoreless run. Eriksen’s rocket from outside the box was worthy of that distinction.
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For much of the first half, Chelsea’s line of four deep-seated midfielders struggled to win the ball, putting pressure on the three defenders behind them.
Victor Moses, Nemanja Matic, N’Golo Kanté and Marcos Alonso have failed to win a single tackle vs. Spurs so far./redistrict]