VAR helps condemn Tottenham to a horror afternoon against a superior Chelsea
Tottenham 0 Chelsea 2
Spurs were double VAR’d – conceding a penalty in the first half and then having Heung-Min Son sent off just past the hour after interventions from the off-field panel.
The task was already a steep one for Jose Mourinho’s men when Son was red-carded for kicking out in frustration after being decked in a tangle with Antonio Rudiger.
The South Korean’s foot rose up into the Chelsea player’s chest and the video reviews pointed to more woe for Spurs on a day they would rather forget.
They had been totally outplayed in the first half and trailed to two Willian strikes – the second of which came after the award of a penalty following the first VAR ruling of the day.
It was rightly given after Paulo Gazzaniga had rushed from his line to flatten Marcus Alonso – his foot raised high against the on-rushing Chelsea wing back. The surprise was that ref Anthony Taylor needed help with what looked a clear-cut decision.
That goal came just before the break, but the Blues were well worth their increased lead because Spurs simply had no answer to the greater urgency and pace from the visitors, whose tireless pressing forced Spurs sideways and backways and trapped them into mistakes.
The first half in particular was a throwback to the very worst years of this fixture for Spurs – the fallow seasons when they never seemed to be able to lay a finger on their west London rivals.
Moussa Sissoko did his best to fight fire with fire and his darting runs offered the best hope for Spurs of making a breakthrough.
Harry Kane and Son both skied over in rare moments of danger created by those forays but it was horrible to watch for Spurs fans.
Willian had set the tone for a chastening afternoon for the master Mourinho against his former pupil Frank Lampard, as Spurs switched off at a short corner. After a quick exchanges of passes with Mateo Kovacic, the Brazilian drilled home a perfect shot into the bottom corner across Gazzaniga.
It summed up the sharper all round play from the visitors, who turned in the sort of performance that makes a top four finish seems much more likely for them than for Spurs, who would actually have leapfrogged Chelsea in the table had they won.
With fans spilling out early, the home manager getting taunted by visiting fans and the stadium PA making grim announcements about some reported racist behaviour in the stands, it was a dire day all round for the well-beaten hosts.
Line up: Gazzaniga – Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Vertonghen (Rose 74) – Sissoko, Alli, Dier (Eriksen h/t) Lucas Moura (Ndombele 74), Kane, Son. Subs not used: Vorm, Rose, Winks, Lo Celso, Foyth.