Chelsea’s win at White Hart Lane showed us a couple of things we didn’t know about Chelsea and Tottenham before Saturday’s match. First, Chelsea have created a pain carousel in attack. Round and round, Mata, Oscar, and Hazard go. They never stop changing positions with one another which leaves defenses unable to focus on one player or one side like you can with other teams. They create this whirlwind with their movement. It’s just awesome to see.
I’m curious to know how much this has to do with the plan DiMatteo and management had for Chelsea or if it was just circumstance that forced the had of RDM to encourage his players to move with such fluidity up top. Taking into account other players like Marin and Moses who can play anywhere in attack, it seems like Chelsea have the depth to continue playing this way if Oscar, Hazard, or Mata (HEAVEN FORBID) become injured or are a bit exhausted from running around teams.
Bale missed out on this match due to personal reasons. Dembele also missed out on the clash. These two, I believe, would have made Chelsea’s life more difficult on Saturday. Dembele could have helped break up play and begin attacks. Bale would have pushed Branislav Ivanovic back and have perhaps warranted double-teaming — much like what Aaron Lennon faced on the right side from Ashley Cole and Ramires. Regardless, it became clear to me that Tottenham do not posses enough depth to compete with the likes of Chelsea at the moment. Sure, if Chelsea’s left back, left winger, and a crucial central midfielder were out, they would play differently, but they have enough depth to perhaps cope with that type of adversity. Spurs do not.
In the end, Tottenham were unlucky in this match. They couldn’t finish their changes, and the Chelsea defense, for the most part, handled the Spurs attack for the better part of 90 minutes. Chelsea were more clinical, and more importantly, they were more creative in their pursuit of goals.
Tottenham also brought out a side of Chelsea that we hadn’t seen all season. Chelsea were down on the road to a top-quality opponent. For a few years now, this would have caused the Chelsea players’ to put their heads down and accept defeat. Recent matches against United and Liverpool come to mind. Perhaps, the overall character of the team has switched with their recent achievements. Chelsea got their heads up and started to attack relentlessly. From my perspective, they gained focus instead of accepting defeat. That may have been the most gratifying part of this victory.
I believe Chelsea are terrifyingly close to becoming unstoppable if they continue to play with belief and character. However, football is elastic. Circumstances and attitudes change weekly, monthly, and yearly. It’s all about what you’ve done lately. Lately, Chelsea have been flying on the field.
Off the field is a different story, isn’t it?