Moses downs Spurs to lead Chelsea back to sum­mit

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS - LON­DON: Chelsea Tot­ten­ham 2 1 UN­LUCKY 13

Chelsea stormed back from be­hind to end Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur’s un­beaten Pre­mier League record with a 2-1 vic­tory yes­ter­day that pro­pelled An­to­nio Conte’s soar­ing side back into top spot. Chelsea had seen Liver­pool and Manch­ester City steal past them ear­lier in the day and fell be­hind in the 11th minute when Chris­tian Erik­sen be­came the first player to score past them in seven games. But Pe­dro Rodriguez’s glo­ri­ous curler and a Vic­tor Moses tap-in ei­ther side of half-time gave Chelsea a sev­enth suc­ces­sive win-their long­est such run within one sea­son since Jan­uary to April 2007. Chelsea, who visit City next week­end, re­stored a one-point ad­van­tage over sec­ond-place Liver­pool and left Lon­don ri­vals Tot­ten­ham seven points be­low them in fifth place. It marked a rot­ten end to a dis­ap­point­ing week for Spurs, who were knocked out of the Cham­pi­ons League by Monaco in mid-week and have won only one of their last 10 fix­tures in all com­pe­ti­tions.

Their run of games with­out vic­tory at Stam­ford Bridge, where their ti­tle chal­lenge last sea­son ended in May, now stands at 30, their last vic­tory there hav­ing come in Fe­bru­ary 1990. Miss­ing Toby Alder­weireld and Danny Rose, Spurs were patched up at the back, where cen­tre-back Kevin Wim­mer filled in at left-back and Eric Dier part­nered Jan Ver­tonghen in the cen­tre.

But the re­turn to a 4-2-3-1 for­ma­tion, af­ter dal­liances with a back three and a 43-2-1 sys­tem, helped them get their press in or­der and they had Chelsea on the back foot in the first half. Af­ter a cou­ple of early threats, in­clud­ing a Harry Kane ef­fort that was chalked off for off­side, Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino’s men took the lead with a fine goal.

Break­ing from mid­field, Dele Alli toed the ball to Erik­sen and from out­side the box the Dane let fly with a vi­cious left-foot shot that soared past Thibaut Courtois’s out­stretched right hand.

It was the first goal Chelsea-un­changed for the sixth game run­ning-had con­ceded in 601 min­utes of foot­ball, since a 3-0 de­feat at Arse­nal on Septem­ber 24. The vis­i­tors were play­ing with an in­ten­sity last seen in their im­pres­sive 2-0 win over Manch­ester City in early Oc­to­ber and their re­dis­cov­ered con­fi­dence was ex­pressed by their will­ing­ness to shoot.

Vic­tor Wanyama, Kane, Erik­sen and Mousa Dem­bele all chanced their arm from range, although only Kane worked Courtois.

The Chelsea goal­keeper also had to save from Kyle Walker af­ter the Eng­land right­back had lifted the ball over Mar­cos Alonso and tried his luck from an an­gle. Chelsea’s ini­tial ef­forts to re­spond, via a David Luiz free-kick and an Eden Haz­ard shot, were com­fort­ably held by Hugo Lloris.

But on the stroke of half-time Pe­dro lev­elled with a mag­nif­i­cent goal, deftly turn­ing and then wrap­ping his right foot around the ball to send it curl­ing in­side the right­hand up­right.

N’Golo Kante sig­nalled Chelsea’s sec­ond­half in­tent by ram­ming a shot at Lloris and within six min­utes of the restart, they were in front. Diego Costa was the ar­chi­tect, work­ing his way to the byline on the left and cross­ing low for Moses, whose shot flicked off Lloris’s right boot, struck Ver­tonghen’s knee and ric­o­cheted into the net. Mar­cos Alonso should have made it 3-1 shortly af­ter, fol­low­ing more byline bur­row­ing by Costa, but from 10 yards out the Spa­niard bal­looned a shot over the bar with his weaker right foot. Kane cre­ated a chance for Erik­sen to equalise, but the Spurs num­ber 10 could only vol­ley straight at Courtois as the last un­beaten team in the divi­sion fi­nally suc­cumbed to de­feat on their 13th out­ing. —AFP

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