Tottenham 2-4 Chelsea: 5 Things We Learned
Tottenham hosted Chelsea in a London derby this afternoon and both sides served up a treat.
With the Blues coming out 4-2 victors, what did we learn about the two teams on the back end of this encounter?
Roberto Di Matteo seems to have perfect control of his personnel, while it should be interesting to see how Andre Villas-Boas picks his players up after an abrupt halt to their winning run.
Huddlestone Not Suited
Tom Huddlestone is a good player and perhaps some of this can be put down to rustiness, but he doesn't exactly look at home in Andre Villas-Boas' fluid 4-3-3 system.
The template imposed by the Portuguese tactician requires mobility, agility and versatility, but Huddlestone doesn't seem to have too much of any of those qualities.
Spurs sorely missed Moussa Dembele today as they failed to gain control of the midfield, making it easier for Chelsea to exert influence in the Spurs' half.
Ramires Can Provide the Much-Needed Link
Speaking of mobility, Ramires isn't short of it.
At certain times this season, Chelsea have looked a little disjointed. Their front four and back six in the 4-2-3-1 formation have been completely separate, creating yards of space between the two distinct sets of players.
This problem ultimately comes down to John Obi Mikel and Frank Lampard's lack of vertical movement, but Ramires is one of the best midfield shutters in the game.
His surging runs and explosive box-to-box play is the vital link Roberto Di Matteo needs between his holding midfield pivot and his front three or four.
Chelsea Are the Real Deal
It has to be said that that was an impressive showing from Chelsea.
Prematch chatter revolved around the perceived easy nature of the Blues' fixture so far, but with wins away at Arsenal and now Tottenham, Roberto Di Matteo won't be facing such accusations any longer.
Going 2-1 down so soon after the half-time break was damaging, but Juan Mata and co. stormed back into contention for a result and look simply imperious for 30 minutes.
This result should be enough to stop punters umming and arring about whether or not the Blues are contenders.
Spurs Need a Bale out
This is not the first time Spurs have played some abject football but kept the score close for long periods of the match.
The gamechanger for Andre Villas-Boas has been the brilliance of Gareth Bale, who finally broke the deadlock against Reading and had a telling impact against QPR.
In a similar situation, without Bale, Spurs imploded to a 4-2 loss after coming from behind to lead the game at one stage.
Moussa Dembele is important, but the Welshman is Spurs' best player and without him they seriously hindered.
Good Luck Marko Marin!
German winger Marko Marin is yet to make an impact on this Chelsea side due to an injury sustained in preseason.
Even if he's fully fit, however, he's not getting anywhere near this side. The midfield triumvirate of Oscar, Juan Mata and Eden hazard is simply immense and if they're as consistent as we think they might be, Marin's role will be limited.
Squad depth is important so Marin will still play a part, but if he thought he was dropping by to take Florent Malouda's place in the starting XI, he now knows that's not the case.