History was made on Monday night as Chelsea’s dramatic comeback draw against title hopefuls Tottenham Hotspur confirmed Leicester City as Premier League champions.
Spurs needed to win this match in order to keep their title hopes alive, after Leicester drew 1-1 at the Old Trafford against Manchester United on Sunday. Mauricio Pochettino’s men got off to a flying start as Harry Kane and Son Heung-min gave Spurs a 2-0 lead in the first half. However, the home side slowly clawed their way back into the game, with Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard scoring the two goals to level up the match and hand the trophy to Leicester City.
Asmir Begovic (6/10): Had the perfect chance to stake his claim for the no.1 spot at Chelsea. Although he conceded two goals in the first half, he came back strongly after the break. Made three crucial saves during the game.
Cesar Azpilicueta (5.5/10): Struggled to keep pace with Tottenham’s attacks down the wings in the first half.
John Terry (5.5/10): It was his first game after coming back from injury and that was reflected in his performance. He played Harry Kane on side in the first goal and was caught ball-watching as Eriksen played Son through on goal for Spurs’s second.
Gary Cahill (7/10): Had a decent game after coming back from his injury. Was authoritative in the air and even managed to get on the scoresheet from a Willian corner.
Branislav Ivanovic (6/10): This was the Serbian’s first game at right-back for a while and Ivanovic looked like he was chasing the game throughout. Was lucky not to see two yellow cards in the game for his rash tackling.
John Obi Mikel (5.5/10): Had an okay game in the middle, making four tackles throughout the match, but was partially at fault for committing to a tackle in the build up to Tottenham’s second goal.
Nemanja Matic (5/10): Looked out of sorts in the match. Matic has been one of the biggest disappointments for Chelsea this season and continued in the same vein in the Spurs game.
Cesc Fabregas (6.5/10): Was a lively figure during the game, playing three key passes and creating a few chances in both the halves. He also helped out in retrieving the ball, making five successful tackles.
Pedro (5/10): Looked a bit lively early on, but disappeared after a rash tackle from Kyle Walker. He got dispossessed thrice before being subbed for Hazard.
Willian (7/10): As always, was one of the most consistent performers for Chelsea. He did get booked at the end for being involved in a bust-up with Danny Rose, but he created a few chances and played two key passes. Chelsea’s first goal came from his corner.
Diego Costa (6.5/10): Was an invisible figure in the first half, but came back strongly towards the end of the second. His intricate linkup play with Hazard set up the equaliser for Chelsea.
Eden Hazard (8/10): Deserves a special mention in this match, although he came on as a substitute. Looked lively throughout the second half and linked up very well with Costa to score an outstanding equaliser.
Tottenham Hotspur FC
Hugo Lloris (6.5/10): Had a good game overall, making three good saves and claiming the ball four times.
Danny Rose (7.5/10): Han an action-packed game, making three successful tackles, two successful dribbles, and winning two aerial duels. Got booked at the end for a bust-up with Willian.
Jan Vertonghen (6.5/10): Was a picture of calm in a match that was emotionally charged. Managed to break up a number of bust-ups, and also kept his defence in shape.
Toby Alderweireld (6/10): Was consistent throughout the match, playing beside Vertonghen. However, he made the one little mistake of losing Cahill, which led to Chelsea’s first goal.
Kyle Walker (5.5/10): Played with a lot of heart, but little intelligence. His tendency to get sucked into tackles cost the away side as he was caught out of position when Hazard scored the equalising goal.
Eric Dier (6.5/10): Put in a solid display in the defensive midfield role, making five successful tackles and winning two aerial duels in the match.
Mousa Dembele (7/10): Put in a good shift during the match as he constantly kept troubling Mikel and Matic. However, his eye-gouging incident with Costa has potentially earned him sanctions from the FA.
Christian Eriksen (7/10): Ran the show for Tottenham in the final third. Played two key passes, one of which was the assist for Son’s goal.
Erik Lamela (7/10): Constantly kept troubling Ivanovic down the left flank. His precision passing opened up the Chelsea defence many times. He even provided the assist for the opening goal by Kane.
Son Heung-min (6.5/10): Got the second goal for Spurs in the first half, but had little impact otherwise. He even got dispossessed thrice.
Harry Kane (8/10): Kane is a man in form and showed his composure in front of goal when he rounded Begovic to give Spurs the lead. The England international is edging towards the Golden Boot.
The Chelsea boss found himself caught in a melee after the final whistle as Diego Costa, Danny Rose and Michael Vorm appeared to clash outside the tunnel following the ill-tempered derby. Hiddink fell down among all the pushing and shoving, which seemed to anger the Chelsea players further. However, the Dutchman gave little importance to the matter in his post match press conference, instead revealing that he got an emotional call from a grateful Claudio Ranieri.
“A few minutes after the final whistle, after the judo, I got a call from Ranieri,” said Hiddink [via Sky Sports]. “His voice was trembling a bit. I don’t know if he was crying. He said five times thanks.”
When asked about all the brawls that took place during the match, Pochettino indicated that this was a normal thing for a high profile derby, and that the players’ emotion was obviously running high.
“In football we want to win and sometimes situations like tonight happen. I think there is nothing to say, nothing to blame, how they [Chelsea] take the game shows big respect for us. That makes us feel proud,” said Pochettino [via The Guardian].
The tables have turned on Chelsea
For the first time, Tottenham Hotspur will fight it out in the Champions League while Chelsea face a season without any European action. The defending champions have fallen to unthinkable depths this season, despite their marginal improvement in the second half of the season. However, one positive for them for the next season is that they can solely concentrate one winning the Premier League instead of being distracted by European action.
Although they failed to win the title, these are very happy days for Tottenham Hotspur. They will get to go back to the Champions League next season, which would be a significant financial boost. It will also help them retain their best players from this seaosn. Pochettino’s side are the youngest team it the league and if they learnt their lessons from this season, they could be serious contenders for the Premier League in the coming years.
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