Willian’s double inspired Chelsea back to winning ways as a 2-0 victory over Tottenham saw Frank Lampard haunt Jose Mourinho – but the victory was overshadowed by allegations of racist abuse.
Willian whipped Chelsea into the lead on 12 minutes and doubled his tally when he converted a VAR-awarded penalty on the stroke of half-time, and that was enough as Lampard outwitted his former manager to inflict the Portuguese’s first defeat against a club he used to manage at the 14th attempt.
Spurs imploded in the second half, losing their heads on and off the pitch as Heung-min Son received a straight red card for petulantly lashing out at Antonio Rudiger after another VAR review.
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And things got even uglier for 10-man Spurs as three announcements on the PA system warned supporters against racist chanting after Chelsea defender Rudiger brought alleged abuse to his captain Cesar Azpilicueta and referee Anthony Taylor’s attention.
It was billed as the master versus the apprentice, Lampard testing his wits against the manager under whom he won five major honours at Chelsea, but it was roles reversed as Mourinho found himself on the end of a tactical lesson.
Things were evenly matched early on, but Chelsea pounced on miscommunication and poor Spurs defending as Willian was afforded far too much space to whip in a wonderous opener from a corner by Serge Aurier, who has needlessly gifted the Blues the set-piece after getting his wires crossed with Gazzaniga.
Chelsea quickly seized control of the pace of the game while Spurs steadily grew frustrated with their disjointed performance. It took 27 minutes for the hosts of muster a response of any kind to Chelsea’s opener, but when it came Harry Kane rashly fired over from Moussa Sissoko’s cut-back.
A minute later Kane tried to turn provider as his ball across goal reached Son at the back post, but like his strike partner he fired over the bar.
Spurs frustrations came to a head on 43 minutes when Dele Alli clattered into Mateo Kovacic, sparking an off-the-ball altercation that ended in a melee involving both sets of outfield players. Both midfielders were booked for their roles.
But worse was yet to come for Spurs. A mindless acrobatic clearance from Gazzaniga saw the goalkeeper strike Marcos Alonso in the area and, after a VAR consultation, a penalty was awarded, and Willian clinically punished the Argentine’s rush of blood to the head to double his and Chelsea’s tally.
Mourinho introduced Christian Eriksen at the break but it failed to derail the dominance of Chelsea, who thought they had added a third within 10 minutes of the restart when Tammy Abraham converted a rebound after Gazzaniga spilled Alonso’ drive, but it was ruled out for offside.
Son’s moment of madness ended Spurs’ hopes of overturning the two-goal deficit on 62 minutes, the South Korean given his marching orders after a lengthy VAR review for kicking out at Rudiger.
Spurs frustration in the stands boiled over soon after as objects were thrown onto the field towards goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and Rudiger gestured that he had been subjected to a racist remark following his involvement in Son’s dismissal.
Referee Taylor spoke with both managers in their technical areas before three anti-racism stadium announcements left the sourest of tastes at the end of such an impressive Chelsea performance.
This article was originally published by Sky Sports and reproduced with permission.