Willian Brace Powers Chelsea Past 10-Man Tottenham; Heung-Min Son Sent off

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistDecember 22, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 22: Willian of Chelsea celebrates after scoring his sides second goal  with Cesar Azpilicueta and team mates during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea FC at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on December 22, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Chelsea tightened their grip on fourth place in the Premier League by beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 on Sunday.

Willian scored both goals scored to help Frank Lampard's Blues beat former manager Jose Mourinho in north London. Chelsea's second goal came from the penalty spot after VAR overturned referee Anthony Taylor and ruled Tottenham goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga had fouled Marcos Alonso.

Spurs were reduced to 10 men in the second half when VAR judged Heung-Min Son's clash with Antonio Rudiger worthy of a red card for the Tottenham striker. The game was then marred when members of the home crowd were warned about alleged racist behaviour toward Rudiger, as well as an object being thrown his way, per BBC Sport.

The result means Chelsea are now six points above Spurs in the race to qualify for next season's UEFA Champions League.

Lampard landed the first blow in the tactical scrap against his former boss by surprising Mourinho with a fluid 3-4-3 lineup. Alonso came in at left wing-back and Fikayo Tomori as a third centre-back, while midfield playmaker Jorginho dropped to the bench.

Meanwhile, Willian and Mason Mount rotated positions freely behind striker Tammy Abraham. The hosts were obviously caught cold by the lineup:

Liam Twomey @liam_twomey

I think it's safe to say Mourinho didn't prepare to face Chelsea in this 3-4-3. Spurs struggling to pick up runners #thfc #cfc

Nizaar Kinsella @NizaarKinsella

Mason Mount playing with much more freedom to roam in this system. He looks dangerous and is getting on the ball a lot. #CFC #TOTCHE

Chelsea made the most of the element of surprise to boss possession and pose a considerable threat. N'Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic controlled passing in the middle, while Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta stayed wide to help stretch the pitch.

Willian was allowed to pick the ball up in dangerous pockets between the midfield and forward lines. Spurs were left to rue the freedom the Brazilian enjoyed when he curled in the opener on 12 minutes:

Spurs finally sparked into action in the 28th minute when Harry Kane blazed over from inside the area. The striker teed up Son soon after, but the South Korea international skied his effort.

Those missed chances proved costly when Chelsea were awarded a penalty on the stroke of halftime. Taylor had initially ruled for a foul against Alonso after the Spaniard collided with Gazzaniga, despite replays showing the stopper had inexplicably lunged in with a high boot.

A lengthy VAR review corrected Taylor's initial decision and left Willian to convert from 12 yards:

Mourinho didn't waste time changing things, introducing Christian Eriksen for the second half. He also moved Lucas Moura and Serge Aurier higher up the pitch to help push Chelsea's wing-backs into retreat.

Those changes made things more competitive, but Tottenham's comeback bid was damaged when Son was sent off just after the hour mark. A VAR review deemed a red card was worthy after Son appeared to lift his foot and kick upwards toward Rudiger after clashing with the Chelsea centre-back.

Spurs attempted to rebalance by swapping Danny Rose for Jan Vertonghen and Tanguy Ndombele for Moura. Eric Dier dropped into defence, and the Tottenham shape became something more akin to 4-4-2.

Ugly scenes followed, though, with Rudiger informing Azpilicueta of racial abuse from the stands, and the skipper then reported it to Taylor. An object also appeared to be thrown at the defender, per BBC Sport.

Spurs made several announcements over the stadium tannoy admonishing the alleged racist behaviour from some in attendance.

Play resumed and Chelsea saw out the result, narrowly missing out on a third goal after several slick breaks. Ultimately, Lampard had outwitted Mourinho, getting the big calls right in terms of both formation and personnel.


What's Next?

Spurs host Brighton & Hove Albion on Boxing Day, while Chelsea are also in action against Southampton at Stamford Bridge.