Chelsea lengthy wait for a win against big 6 team, which began in January 2022 has ended as they defeated Tottenham Hot Spurs 4-1, thanks to Nicolas Jackson’s hat-trick
Where to begin! Dejan Kulusevski put Spurs ahead early on, but we were tied at halftime and had a man advantage. Destiny Udogie and Cristian Romero had already escaped with straight red cards for challenges on Raheem Sterling and Levi Colwill before VAR suggested Romero be sent out for a horrible tackle inside the area. The penalty was scored by Cole Palmer.
Sterling (handball), Moises Caicedo (offside), and Jackson (both offside) all had goals disallowed during an almost incomprehensible first 45 – okay, 57 – minutes in which a major judgement seemed to be made every 30 seconds.
Spurs lost two players in first-half injury time and another to a red card early in the second session, with Udogie receiving a second yellow card. We had to wait 75 minutes before breaking down the nine-man barrier, with Jackson scoring from close range.
The drama didn’t end there, as Spurs had a goal disallowed for offside and then came close to equalising twice more. But Jackson made certain that he had the ultimate say, netting two more goals in stoppage time as we exploited the hosts’ high line. It was an exciting conclusion to a furious London derby.
The focus of the pre-match discussion had been Mauricio Pochettino’s return to his previous home, but that was quickly forgotten as the drama began. Thiago Silva and Levi Colwill were back in defence, replacing Benoit Badiashile and Marc Cucurella, with Caicedo replacing Lesley Ugochukwu ahead of them.
Spurs scored first after a stroke of luck on six minutes. Kulusevski cut in from the right wing and went for goal after the ball was moved wide. The ball was deflected by Colwill and ended up in the net, fooling Robert Sanchez.
The Blues were being watched. Pedro Porro had a shot brilliantly saved by Sanchez on the quarter-hour, just after Jackson had been impressively stopped by Guglielmo Vicario with our first notable effort.
Son scored from Johnson’s cross, but the offside flag was raised, and VAR confirmed the call after a lengthy review. Chelsea had no idea it was only the start of one of the busiest half the video assistant referees had ever seen…
Following that came a tick for an overhead two-footed challenge by Udogie, which Sterling was fortunate to avoid. Michael Oliver was not advised by the VAR to view the screen in order to improve his original yellow card.
Sterling burst into the Tottenham box midway through the first half. Porro deflected his initial attempt back into Sterling’s arm and into the direction of our no.7. The force of the second blow beat Vicario, but VAR ruled on handball.
Cristian Romero had booted Levi Colwill off the ball in fury during the buildup to the disallowed goal. His refuge from those in Stockley Park was brief.
It was yet another outstanding piece of theatre. Caicedo arrowed a superb left-footed effort into the bottom corner from 20 yards out after the ball rattled around the perimeter of the area.
The assistant’s flag was raised, however, because Jackson was considered to be interfering with play as the ball zipped past his legs, just an inch ahead of the last defender.
Replays revealed, however, that Romero had badly fouled his countrymen Enzo inside the area shortly before the ball was passed to Caicedo. He had to walk this time, two-footed, high, and forcefully. And that resulted with a Chelsea penalty!
Despite Vicario’s fingers, Palmer stepped up and blasted his attempt off the inside of the post. 1-1
The Blues controlled possession for the remainder of the half, which lasted 57 minutes and featured 35 VAR checks, but the most significant moments involved two more Spurs players being replaced due to injury, James Maddison and Micky van de Ven.
When play resumed, Tottenham maintained their high line, giving us plenty of room in behind to try to exploit. Sterling couldn’t reach Palmer after one such break, but he did recover the loose ball a split second before Udogie scythed him down. Spurs are down to nine men after the second yellow card.
Jackson was immediately denied a header from below the crossbar by replacement Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. James then puffed up his chest and blasted a whisker wide.
As balls over the top were underhit or overhit, the nearlys and what ifs persisted. Marc Cucurella, who came in for Colwill after the break, timed his run well but was stopped by the sprawling Vicario.
Chelsea finally got one correct with 15 minutes remaining! Jackson celebrated in front of the raucous travelling support after James slipped Sterling down the right and his square pass was stroked into the net by Jackson. The lines were close, but Sterling was onside, and the goal stood.
Despite our numerical advantage, we had to endure a few scares until Jackson called the game.
Eric Dier had the ball in the net but was offside; another replacement, Rodrigo Bentancur, mistimed his header from a potential free-kick; and Sanchez came down low in stoppage time to deny Son.
Chelsea broke free from that save and secured the game and the points. Gallagher was the guy exploding into yards of clear space this time, squaring to Jackson to comfortably convert once more.
That was in the fourth minute of extra time; he completed his hat-trick in the seventh! Palmer broke through the exhausted backline, and Jackson knocked Vicario down before sliding the ball into the net. He had an opportunity for a fourth with the final kick after a beautiful cutback from Mykhailo Mudryk, but fired wide.
It didn’t matter! The Blues were justifiably beautiful victors on enemy territory. The lengthy wait for a win against another big six team, which began in January 2022, is ended. And in grand style!
Nicolas Jackson scored a hat-trick as Chelsea won our greatest league game at Tottenham since the epic 6-1 triumph in 1997, but that statistic just scrapes the surface of a wonderful display of football.