Tottenham and Chelsea played out a thoroughly entertaining 1-1 draw in the Premier League’s lunchtime kick off. Gylfi Sigurdsson grabbed a deserved opener for Andre Villas-Boas’s side and the home side could have lead by a superior margin at the break, such was their dominance. That was before a second half fightback saw Chelsea regain parity through their skipper John Terry.
Fernando Torres was harshly sent off after a challenge with Jan Vertonghen, but his all-round performance should give Chelsea supporters a fillip of encouragement. As should the manner in which the team responded after the half-time break.
After a couple of poor performances against Everton and FC Basel, there were questions asked about whether or not Mourinho’s men can challenge on all fronts this season. But the second period at White Hart Lane was arguably as good as Chelsea have played during Mourinho's second stint and a firm reminder that they are still a top, top side.
And it was a turnaround inspired by the man of the moment, Juan Mata. The Spaniard was introduced at half-time and invigorated what looked a toothless and uninspired Chelsea attack.
He linked well with Torres, Oscar and Eden Hazard, giving his team a much more potent threat as Chelsea went in search of the equalizing goal. Mata played a major part in the equalising goal too, as his pin-point delivery found John Terry in acres of space.
The second period was a tactical triumph for Mourinho, as his protege looked on. With Spurs bossing the midfield before the break, the Chelsea boss shifted Ramires into a central position. The Brazilian’s running power, athleticism and industry helped shackle the previously rampant Christian Eriksen and Mousa Dembele. It was a shift that provided a much more stable platform for Chelsea to build their attacks.
Should Mata start in Chelsea's next game?
By contrast,Villas-Boas, a man who is usually a decisive and shrewd tactician, could do little to help stem wave after wave of blue attacks. It was not until the Torres red-card that Spurs managed to re-establish a foothold in the game, and it was an impetus handed to them rather than an impetus earned.
Chelsea supporters should be delighted with their side’s second-half showing. The Blues really had to scrap to get back into this one. There aren’t many teams with the quality, never mind the mental strength, to get back into a game once going behind at White Hart Lane.
With the Premier League title race looking as open as it ever has been, don’t write Chelsea off yet.
Gifs courtesy of Feint Zebra
What do you think? Let me know in the comments section or on Twitter: @MattJFootball