Chelsea return to the top of the table after a hard-fought 2-1 victory against London rivals Tottenham to record their best winning streak since 2010.
The Blues were looking to secure their seventh straight league win but fell behind from a wonderful Eriksen strike, but an equally sensational Pedro goal meant the sides went into the break level-pegging, before Moses scored the winner in the 51st minute.
It means Chelsea return to the top of the table, after temporarily being ousted by Manchester City and Liverpool who both won their earlier games, and continues Chelsea’s excellent form against a Tottenham side looking to bounce back after the mid-week exit from the Champions League.
With the winning formula perfected for six straight games, it was no surprise to see Conte name an unchanged starting XI for the sixth time, but the pace at which the hosts destroyed Everton was not matched here.
Tottenham had much of the possession and were chasing down every second ball, and even had the ball in the net but for Harry Kane mis-timing his run to go offside.
The goal did come in the 11th minute though and it was no less than the visitors deserved. Eriksen was afforded far too much space in the middle of the park and his long-range effort was rifled to perfection past Courtois and into the Chelsea net.
The Blues were struggling to get going, with Tottenham pressing back Chelsea, who had to drop 10 yards deeper than desired, stifling the pace of Alonso and Moses and, worse still with an attacking full-back such as Walker, stifling the creative flair of Eden Hazard.
When the Belgian did get forward, it was from a mistake by Lloris but the winger could not capitalise, otherwise it was all Tottenham, with Kane and Dier testing Courtois more.
Despite the clear dominance in possession and tactics from the visitors, they could not get the second goal it deserved, and Chelsea have that champagne moment to turn the game on its head.
The magic moment came through Pedro just before half-time. The Spaniard was short on options and turned expertly before curling a delicious ball past Lloris. It was a glorious instinctive goal, and no wonder Pedro celebrated by kissing his right foot on either side, such was the natural talent.
That would have altered the half-time team-talk by Conte significantly, and more devilishly, also made Pochettino’s respective team-talk more frustrated.
The frustration became anger in the second half. The Blues, with their bit between teeth after Pedro’s equaliser, came marching out of the blocks. Costa was creating plenty of chances for his team-mates this evening, and when he was afforded space to get his square ball in with no-one dare touching him in the penalty box, Victor Moses made up 82 yards to get on the end of it and side-foot home.
It was a goal of sheer chance, gambling the length of the field that it might end up to him at the back post, and when it did, the Nigerian took his time to side-foot home past Vertonghen on the line. It was no less than the player deserves for his hard work, and clinical Chelsea to their credit made Tottenham pay for their mistakes.
For the next 10 minutes there was no doubting who was superior. Two should have become three and four within minutes, when Costa agin found Alonso on the penalty spot but the left-back’s skied his right-footed shot over. Anyone but the Spaniard and it might have nestled in — right place right time wrong man.
Winks and N’Koudou came on as Pochettino looked to freshen his side up, and it was the latter’s pace which forced Conte to show his own hand, with Ivanovic, Willian and Oscar all coming on in the space of seven minutes.
It still left a quarter of an hour to play but any concerns that Conte had switched to defensive mode too early evaporated with an assured ending and, despite the jitters, Chelsea march on to face another title contender Manchester City next week.
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Man of the Match
VICTOR MOSES: The man is re-born! In the last match against Middlesbrough, despite being part of the defensive set-up, he was Chelsea’s second-highest player on the pitch on average (marginally behind Costa), a real testament to his hard work and attacking prowess, as well as his improving defensive nous. A brilliant example of hard work and sheer graft and the man took his goal, and his side’s winner, expertly. 8/10
Conte was thrilled with the manner of the win: “I am satisfied with the way we fought back. These games are difficult. It was a tough game with a lot of intensity. It’s not easy to go down 1-0 but I am pleased with the performance and reaction. Now it’s important to continue the work.”
Pochettino was philosophical: “If we analyse the game we were better. We competed very well. We are disappointed but we need to be pleased for the performance and the way we competed against a very good team.”
Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had five years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.
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