Dele at the double. If there was any doubt over the worth of Dele Alli then it was emphatically answered here as he scored two second-half goals, the first one was quite wonderful, to earn Tottenham Hotspur their first win away to Chelsea in 28 years.
This result all but ended, surely, Chelsea’s chances of finishing in the top four and qualifying for the Champions League. Having pulled away from Arsenal, Spurs are now eight points clear of Chelsea with just seven Premier League games to play. Mind the gap, as they say in London.
Alli’s goals came on his 100th Premier League appearance for Spurs and at the end of a week in which he did not start either of England’s friendly internationals amid concerns that his starting place at the World Cup is under threat.
This was a resounding response from the 21-year-old with Spurs also having the boost of Harry Kane – just three weeks after suffering ankle ligament damage – making his return to action as a second-half substitute. Having taken the lead at Stamford Bridge on their last couple of visits, and failing to win, Spurs had the satisfaction of falling behind this time before impressively overturning that deficit to remain the only Premier League side yet to lose in 2018.
Chelsea had been unbeaten in 27 home league matches against Spurs – 30 in all competitions – since a 2-1 defeat in February 1990 but collapsed against their vibrant opponents. Incredibly they have now lost five of their last seven league matches, slipping down the table with manager Antonio Conte set to leave at the end of the season as he found the club. Out of the Champions League.
And yet Chelsea had claimed the advantage through a familiar route having already come close by exploiting the space down Spurs’ left on a couple of occasions. This time Antonio Rudiger surged forward and sent the ball out wide to Victor Moses who had the time and the space – the Chelsea wing-backs overloaded the Spurs defence – to weigh up a cross that tempted Hugo Lloris. Once the Spurs goalkeeper committed he had to reach the ball put it sailed over his finger-tips, distracting Davinson Sanchez and allowing Alvaro Morata to plant a superb header into the net.
It was the striker’s 11th Premier League goal of the season and his seventh header – more than any other player – and, at this stage, Chelsea were picking Spurs off on the counter-attack with Morata, Eden Hazard and their wing-backs Moses and Marcos Alonso prominent. However that soon changed.
Moses also played a role in the next goal although, unfortunately for him, it was claimed by Spurs on the stroke of half-time as his clearance, trying to flick the ball away rather than being more decisive, was intercepted by Davies who exchanged passes with Alli and quickly ferried the ball infield to Christian Eriksen.
The midfielder struck a brilliant right-foot shot from 25 yards that looped and dipped and caught out Willy Caballero as it kissed the underside of the crossbar and flew into the net. Caballero, in for the injured Thibaut Courtois, who was nursing a sore hamstring, was flat-footed and had to do better. So there were two goals and, also, two goalkeeping errors.
Spurs had played the more attractive football but Chelsea had been more threatening with Lloris pushing away an Alonso cross-shot and also reacting sharply to adjust and beat out an effort by Willian that deflected off Eriksen’s foot.
Moses was again involved, early in the second-half, as he cut out a Davies’ cross and the ball inadvertently struck his arm. Spurs claimed a penalty, rather than concentrating on trying to score from the rebound, and the ball was cleared by N’Golo Kante before Alli could react.
But the ascendancy had switched. Spurs were far more threatening with Son Heung-min forcing Caballero into a flying one-handed save to his right as the forward attempted to bend a shot around the goalkeeper who tipped it around his post.
Soon though and he was beaten as Eric Dier flighted a long ball between Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta to pick out Alli whose first touch was excellent as he cushioned the pass after it flew over his right shoulder and then first-time lifted it past Caballero. It was a fine finish.
Chelsea were rocking and then they fell further behind with Eriksen picking out Son who burst past Alonso. Caballero blocked his first shot but it squirmed back to Son whose next effort was also deflected, struck Caballero and diverted to Alli who had the composure to check and pick his spot. Two goals in four minutes for Alli and the celebrations were raucous, spilling over in front of the Spurs fans with even Kane, as he warmed up, joining in.
Chelsea desperately tried to respond but there was no answer as the Spurs fans chanted “there’s only one team in London”.