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A Stunner at Stamford Bridge


I never thought I'd be so thrilled to receive a tie. In a breathtaking match that ended 2-2, Tottenham could have easily fallen 4-0. With so much to unpack, let's start with the Spurs manager, Antonio Conte.

I'm not entirely sure about the end of Conte's Chelsea tenure, but clearly this game meant more to him. The way he shouted into the face of the opposing manager, Thomas Tuchel, set the stadium on fire. Us Tottenham fans love Conte for these displays of passion but we love his tactical mind even more. Tuchel's decision to man-mark Tottenham star Heung-Min Son saw Chelsea dominate in terms of possession and quality chances. Conte's changes were both brave and genius. Very few managers would take off Son, despite his struggles. Not to mention the way he changed the formation with offensive substitutions in a game where most would be focused on not conceding five more times. This match showed why we brought Conte on as manger and why we should back him wholeheartedly.

In terms of players, the performance was shocking to put it nicely. Last season, Spurs fans screamed about how the midfielders refused to play anything other than short passes. Yesterday, they couldn't even do that. At times, we looked like a relegation side as Chelsea seemed to be able to take the ball away at will. The defense didn't impress as Chelsea forward, Kai Havertz forced Hugo Lloris to make a quality save before missing from point-blank range. The flank belonged to Chelsea man, Ruben Loftus-Cheek as time and time again, he gracefully dribbled into dangerous positions. Thankfully for Tottenham, he was inches away from knocking in a header which would have likely put the game out of reach. Furthermore, Mason Mount seemed to be a little off as there were a number a times when he found himself in positions where you would expect a player of his quality to find the back of the neck. The attackers may have been the most disappointing of all. Dejan Kulusevski's performance against Southampton last week may have set our expectations too high as he was comfortably controlled. Son was taken entirely out of the game by Reece James before being taken off the pitch by Conte. Harry Kane did manage to get the winner but I expected the earlier chance from Højbjerg to result in a goal.

On the positive side, I would choose Ivan Perišić as the man of the match. Whether you play with three at the back or four, the wingbacks or fullbacks are so important. Last season, we saw this fact firsthand as countless crosses were off-target and the dangers that occur when the wingback fails to mark the back post. With the exception of the first corner kick, every pass from Perišić seemed dangerous. Defensively speaking, Perišić is levels aboves Ben Davies who looks suspect when playing the fullback role. With all due respect to Ryan Sessegnon, I would be speechless if Perišić isn't the first choice going forward.

Romero's brilliance was on display yet again but I didn't hand him my man of the match because I feel the referee made a massive mistake in the 96th minute. I am a Spurs fan through and through but I have no idea how the pulling of Marc Cucurella's hair didn't result in Romero being sent off. In terms of defending, Romero is undoubtedly a Rolls Royce. However, a Rolls Royce is worthless if it must be park in the garage all day. These sorts of actions could put Tottenham in real trouble if the following game is a top club like Manchester City or Liverpool.

When Richarlison was brought on for Sessegnon, Spurs got a breath of life. Although I should be heaping praise on Richarlison for his performance, I will instead shine a light on two players outside of Tottenham: James Maddison and Pau Torres. These players have been linked with Tottenham at times during this transfer window and, as much as we praise Conte for his adjustments, he can only make those adjustments if he has the proper players. Should we choose to use a back four in the future, I'd much rather have a Torres in place of Eric Dier. Should our midfielders struggle to unlock the opposing defense, Conte could change the game by putting on a player like Maddison.

Taking one last look at this game, Chelsea's dominance will haunt us unless we trounce Wolves. However, we can smile as we think on our mentality which saw us steal a point. Looking forward, I'm interested to see if we switch to a 4-2-4 formation. This would not only prevent Son from being swarmed but could also allow Kane to use his phenomenal passing even more should Conte play Richarlison and create a front four.

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What are your thoughts on the latest London derby? What changes do you want Tottenham to make going forward?

© 2022 Wolfe Rygaard

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