Tottenham v Chelsea recap

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On Sunday, Tottenham’s crazy schedule and the draconian handball law briefly united football in sympathy for Jose Mourinho – but 20 minutes into Chelsea’s visit, much of that goodwill had evaporated.

It was easy to understand why Mourinho had rung the changes, but his side’s approach in the opening stages was less fathomable.

Spurs effectively lined-up with a flat back five and seemed to be waiting for Chelsea to score.

Even in the circumstances, it was too passive and too conservative for a side with plenty of star quality but missing Harry Kane and Heung-min Son.

Predictably, Timo Werner broke the deadlock on 19 minutes and it began to look like a long night in store for Mourinho’s overworked side.

But the Chelsea goal sparked Spurs into life and they were the better side for the remainder, having the lion’s share of the chances before Erik Lamela finally equalised seven minutes from time to take the Carabao Cup fourth-round tie to a penalty shootout.

Tottenham’s performance, particularly in the second half, made their slow start all the more hard to comprehend and they were very nearly made to pay for their passiveness.

As it was, Spurs deservedly won on penalties, triumphing 5-4 after Mason Mount fired the decisive spot-kick off the outside of the post.

Given Chelsea had an extra day’s rest and that Spurs play again in just 48 hours, the hosts deserved plenty of credit for the way they battled in a typically feisty London derby, spiced up by a heated exchanged by Mourinho and Frank Lampard in the first half.

The Chelsea boss, meanwhile, will understandably be concerned about the way his side wilted after taking the lead and the evidence of more sloppy defending which gifted Spurs’ a succession of second-half chances.

Werner’s moment of class could open floodgates

For the first time in a Chelsea shirt, Timo Werner offered evidence of the ruthlessness in front of goal that persuaded the Blues to pay shell out nearly £50m this summer.

In a game of relatively few clear chances, particularly for Chelsea, Werner made the difference by stroking into the bottom corner from 20 yards. It felt like a big moment for the German, who has put in a shift across every minute of Chelsea’s first three league matches without finding the net.

Werner tended to score in bursts for Leipzig last season, suggesting he is a confidence player, and an early goal against a London rival could go a long way to helping him settle and begin finding the net regularly – even considering the final result.

He will, though, have been disappointed at missing a chance to double Chelsea’s lead in the second half, firing straight at Hugo Lloris from inside the box.

Reguilon’s redemption

The moment Werner has dreamed of was a nightmare for Tottenham debutant Sergio Reguilon.

In the space of a few seconds, Reguilon twice lost out to Cesar Azpilicueta, who crossed for Werner. It was not the only occasion that Reguilon looked a yard off the pace of English football – yet the £25million signing from Real Madrid was the star of the second half.

Until the introduction of Harry Kane, he was Tottenham’s most threatening player, twice meeting Serge Aurier crosses at the back post, with one effort forcing a smart save from from Edouard Mendy.

His moment of full redemption came seven minutes from time, when he did to Werner what Azpilicueta had done to him and crossed for Lamela’s equaliser. It was no more than both players deserved.

While raw, Reguilon was combative, adventurous and very quick, at one point in the first half racing back to dispossess Callum Hudson-Odoi as Chelsea countered.

The 23-year-old could easily have hidden after his early mistake but instead he showed resolve to make it a debut to remember for the right reasons.

Mendy solid on debut

A penalty shootout on his Chelsea debut handed Edouard Mendy the chance to be an instant hero but the Frenchman didn’t get near a single one of Spurs’ five spot-kicks, which were admittedly impressive.

Instead, his compatriot Lloris was celebrating at the final whistle after Mount sent the decisive spot-kick wide of the post. Before then, Mendy had enjoyed a solid 90 minutes, saving sharply from Lamela and Reguilon, and showing an impressive command of his area.

There was one hairy moment when he fumbled a corner but there was little he could do when his defenders let Lamela free at the back post to equalise.

On this evidence, he looks a confident upgrade on the erratic Kepa but will nonetheless be frustrated at not guessing right when the time came.


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