Here’s what you need to know about Chelsea’s 2-nil win over 10-man Tottenham Hotspur from Sunday, complete with Bay State Soccer Sentinel analysis and insight:
Two Willian goals give Chelsea a critical road win: The Blues had struggled in their last four road matches, not coming up with a full three points since a 2-1 win over Watford on the trot on November 2. But on this Sunday in North London, everything came up Chelsea blue. Willian — excuse me, the soon-to-be out of contract Willian — came up with two goals for the Blues, the first inside quarter of an hour, and then buried a late penalty in first-half stoppage time. That was enough to give the West Londoners the three points.
Spurs go down to 10 men at the hour mark: Tough break for Tottenham. Son Heung-min was shown a straight red card after he fell to the ground and kicked up into the chest of Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger. Son will miss the next three matches, including Thursday’s Boxing Day tilt against Brighton Hove & Albion.
Alleged racist abuse toward Rudiger reported: In the aftermath of Son’s straight red, television replays caught fans behind the Chelsea goal throwing items on the pitch, but not only that… Rudiger let Blues captain Cesar Azpilicueta know, and he informed Anthony Taylor. It led to three separate announcements at 73’, 83’, and 90+3’ informing supporters that racist abuse is not to be tolerated in football.
Chelsea solidify its hold on fourth: If Tottenham won, it would have leap-frogged the Blues and into the top four. Not so, as Chelsea, now on 32 points, keeps its hold on its position in the top four.
WHEN CHELSEA HAD IT WON
Obviously two goals in the first half helps, and the way Chelsea had denied the ball to Dele Alli and Harry Kane meant Spurs couldn’t get out of first gear. But as soon as the Tottenham went down to 10 men, it was all over save the window dressing.
Willian, Chelsea: The Brazilian had a tough start to the season with only two goals, but his two goals gives Chelsea a vital three points in the search for Champions League football. Not only that, he was all over the place for the Blues, defending and assuring Chelsea would regain the ball when it lost it.
Serge Aurier, Tottenham: The Ivory Coast defender did not have a solid match out on the right for Spurs, as he conceded some poor corners, including the 12th-minute corner that Willian buried with a neat first touch — to get away from Aurier.
Son Heung-min, Tottenham: His straight red card put Tottenham in a spot of bother, and he will miss the next three matches.
LET’S TALK ABOUT STATS, BABY
Chelsea had 56 percent of the football, along with 81 percent passing accuracy
Three of its 13 shots were on target.
Spurs only had one shot on target with five total shots.
WHAT SWEENS REALLY THINKS
It may be premature, but with Willian out of contract at the end of this season, do Chelsea make a move to get something in return for Willian during the upcoming transfer window, or do the Blues try to re-sign him in the summer? If Chelsea elect the latter, it risks letting Willian go on a free should he reject terms.
THEY SAID IT
“I hope it helps the younger players in particular, because some of them were in the Championship last year, some of them are getting new tests that they’ve never had before this season. Some of them have been here before and beaten top six teams, won championships, won trophies over the years. So they have been here before and beaten big teams, so it’s a bit of a mixture.” — Chelsea manager Frank Lampard on the win
WHAT’S ON TAP
Spurs will host Brighton Hove & Albion on Boxing Day, while Chelsea host struggling Southampton.