Whipped, battered, destroyed, annihilated or perhaps more appropriately, Kane-d. Words are not enough to describe the humiliation suffered by Chelsea at White Hart Lane on an absolutely electric New Year’s night in North London. Thanks to an unstoppable Harry Kane, Spurs banged in 5 goals past the league leaders.
There were early signs of what was to come when Tottenham started the game brightly. Chelsea seemed vulnerable with the movement of Chadli, Eriksen and Kane.
However, the match seemed to return to the original status quo when the league leaders scored in the 18th minute. Thibaut Courtois initiated a brilliant Chelsea counter-attack when he threw the ball to Hazard who streaked forward. Hazard managed an attempt on goal, hit the post and the ball fell to Oscar whose shot was parried, only for Diego Costa to get the final touch in.
Tottenham began to panic and Chelsea started to grow into the game. Danny Rose, in particular, seemed to be having a hard time dealing with Eden Hazard on the right.
Harry Kane almost single-handedly rewrote the script with a fantastic goal in the 30th minute. Slicing through defenders with ease, the Spurs academy graduate drove the ball into the right corner past a beaten Courtois. White Hart Lane came alive and Spurs regained their lost swagger.
The floodgates had been opened. Within a few minutes, Spurs scored another. A brilliant break by Christian Eriksen from the halfway line led to a shot which hit the post, only for the ball to fall in the way of an on-rushing Danny Rose who smashed it in.
A resurgent Kane then brought more euphoria to the delighted White Hart Lane crowd. Rushing into the box at a speed that you don’t usually associate with the lanky forward, he was brought down by Gary Cahill. Penalty. Andros Townsend converted with ease. Spurs led 3-1 at the break.
Mourinho brought on Ramires for Oscar in a bid to inject more pace and solidity into a haggard Chelsea side. Still, it didn’t help as Tottenham looked the more composed side. Chelsea almost seemed unable to digest the fact that they were two goals down.
Indeed, it was Spurs that scored first in the second half. As early as the 53rd minute, Kane guided the ball into the bottom right corner with supreme precision to increase Tottenham’s lead. Chelsea had no answers. The league leaders had been rattled.
It was up to Eden Hazard to provide the spark that Chelsea needed, and the crafty Belgian duly responded in the 60th minute when he broke free and beat Lloris to bring Chelsea back into the match. He was the lone bright spark for Chelsea on an otherwise hopeless night.
As the match wore on, Tottenham were getting tired and Mauricio Pocchettino attempted to freshen things up by bringing on Paulinho for Townsend. Chelsea seemed to have a mini-revival shortly after their goal and Tottenham were under increasing pressure. Harry Kane though, once again, brought Spurs back to life with a couple of great chances.
Nacer Chadli sealed the match for Spurs in the 77th minute. After an excellent one-two with Kane, he slid the ball past a helpless Courtois in the increasingly familiar bottom right corner.
Terry grabbed a consolation goal in the 86th minute off a Hazard move down the right, but it wasn’t enough to stop Spurs romping off with all three points.
This capped off a perfect day for them. This result, coupled with Arsenal’s defeat to Southampton earlier in the day meant that they are now fifth in the table, one point clear of their North London rivals.
After today’s results, Chelsea and Manchester City are tied at the top with nothing to separate them- equal points, goal difference and goals scored. With such action happening on the first day itself, one can only hope that the year brings more of the same.