Goals Tottenham- Kane (26′)
The game started at a fast tempo with both teams showing positive signs early on. Son had a penalty shout early on after a long ball over the top of Chelsea’s defense caused havoc, and led to a tangle between Christensen and Son with the referee and VAR ruling that it wasn’t a foul to Chelsea’s relief. For Chelsea early on Barkley had a long-range shot which hit the side netting.
The first real controversial moment of the game came in the 23rd minute when Kane was played by a long ball over the top of Chelsea’s defense. The English striker took the ball around Kepa and was wiped out. The original decision turned out to be offside but after a tw0 minute VAR check, Kane was ruled onside and therefore a penalty was given. Azpilicueta was the guilty party who played Tottenham onside. Kane slotted their resulting penalty in the net to give Tottenham a 1-0 lead.
Tottenham would be happy that VAR was in action for this game, as the original call was offside.
Chelsea took long to show a response, however, before half-time they rattled the woodwork twice. The first time was through Kante who got onto the end of an Alonso cross and his flick hit the outside post of Gazzaniga’s goal. The second was in injury time when Hudson-Odoi’s deflected cross left Gazzaniga scrambling, but the Argentina International pushed it onto the bar, as Tottenham went in at half-time 1-0 up.
This game called out for a Giroud. Hazard needed a target man to play off as he looked very isolated in the center-forward position in the false nine.
The game was so uneventful in the second half. Kane had a long-range shot midway through the second half that was parried away by Gazzaniga. And the best chance of second half came from a Chelsea corner which was flicked on by Barkley and landed to an unmarked Christensen from close range who went with his wrong foot and consequently missed his chance from close range.
Tottenham was defensively resilient and sharp on the attack. Chelsea was defensively strong on the whole but had zero cutting edge going forward. So it is all to play for in the second leg, but if Chelsea wants to win this game then they need to sign a striker before the return leg to even have a chance.
Match Statistics (Credit- BBC Sport)
Possession (%) 42 58
Shots 6 17
Shots on Target 4 5
Corners 2 7
Fouls 10 6
Manager and Player Ratings)
Gazzaniga- 7 (Made some great saves to keep score at 1-0)
Trippier- 7 (Defensively solid)
Sánchez- 7 (Defensively solid)
Alderweireld- 7 (Defensively solid)
Rose- 7 (Defensively solid)
Winks- 7 (Played well in the midfield)
Sissoko- 6 (Tactically fouled Hazard so many times, but average on the whole)
Eriksen- 5 (Didn’t have a big impact on the game)
Alli- 5 (Average)
Son- 7 (Dangerous on the counter-attack)
Kane- 8 (Most dangerous player on the pitch. Nearly scored a wonderful overhead kick and
Lamela- 5 (Average)
Skip- 5 (Brought on in the last minute)
Llorente- 5 (Brought on in the last minute)
Manager Rating: Mauricio Pochettino- 7- Set up his team to be defensively resilient which they were. But will they regret the fact that they didn’t try to score and kill off the game? Maybe Pochettino set up too defensively.
Kepa- 6 (Brought down Kane for a penalty, but made one good save in the second half from long range Kane shot. Distribution was good)
Alonso- 6 (Delivered good cross for Kante in the first half. Goal saving tackle in the second half. Defensively suspect again.)
Christensen- 6 (Missed a good chance. Good defensively)
Rüdiger- 6 (Good defensively)
Azpilicueta- 4 (At fault for playing Kane onside for penalty. Poor at crossing the ball)
Jorginho- 4 (Didn’t do anything of any note. Plays too safe)
Kante- 9 (Best player on the pitch. Good work-rate. Hit the post. Good defensively and had a few long shots which he got on target)
Barkley- 4 (Shots were poor)
Hudson-Odoi- 6 (Very bright in the first half. Died off in the second half)
Willian- 5 (Average)
Hazard- 6 (Worked hard but isolated. Needed a target man to start from the start)
Pedro- 5 (Didn’t affect the game in any way)
Giroud- 5 (Had little time to impact the game)
Manager Rating: Maurizio Sarri- 6- Picked his best team. Dominated the game. Giroud should have come on a lot earlier, but understandable as he has just returned from injury. Can’t deal with the fact that Chelsea doesn’t have a good enough striker.
What’s next for both teams
Tottenham host Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday at 4:30 pm (UK time). Whilst Chelsea host Newcastle on Saturday in the 5:30 pm (UK time) kick off. Both these two sides face off at Stamford Bridge in the second leg on Thursday the 24th of January.
Check out Chivers and Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris’s Post-match analysis podcast on Sportstalkline.com later this week.
By Danyal Khan