Thomas Tuchel got Chelsea’s first victory of the season against a ‘big-six’ side, in his third game in charge, with a 1-0 victory at Tottenham. The away side were dominant in the first half as Spurs offered next to nothing in attack, much like Burnley and Wolves in the previous two games, and should have been more than a Jorginho penalty ahead at the break. Although they came under more pressure in the second half Chelsea played out a fairly impressive victory in the rain for a third successive clean sheet, and another victory over former boss Jose Mourinho.
Edouard Mendy (6) – The big goalkeeper had very little to do in the first half, but almost caused himself problems when first put under pressure by the Tottenham press early after the interval. His passing out from the back put Jorginho under pressure that was only relieved by the referee’s whistle, and while he did not come as close to disaster after that neither did he inspire confidence with the ball at his feet. Good low save from Erik Lamela late on to preserve the lead.
Cesar Azpilicueta (6) – The restored Chelsea captain was not especially noticeable aside from receiving an arm in the face from Carlos Vinicius in the first half, and giving away a dangerous free kick in the closing minutes when blocking off Son Heung-Min just outside the area. Booked.
Thiago Silva (7) – Did well to make two stretching interceptions to prevent Spurs mounting any attacks in the first half, the second of which causing the injury that saw him subbed off in the 35th minute. Chelsea will hope he is not side-lined for long as his presence has a positive effect on the players around him.
Antonio Rudiger (6) – Another man who has found himself back as a regular starter after looking likely to leave a few times under Frank Lampard. He was so untested by the non-existent Tottenham attack before half time that he found time to go on an attacking run with the ball all the way to the opposition penalty area. The three-man back line employed so far by Tuchel probably suits the German and Azpilicueta better than Kurt Zouma which may keep them in the team ahead of him, despite the Frenchman’s much-improved form this season.Embed from Getty Images
Reece James (8) Man of the Match – Strong opening period as the right wing-back with Callum Hudson-Odoi shifted forward, causing Ben Davies all sorts of problems and combining well with the England winger and Mason Mount. Also joined in the high press well to support the front three. Far less influential in the second half from an attacking stand point, although he did get forward on two occasions, once when he was not found in acres of space by Christian Pulisic, and once when a great chance to score inside the area was blocked by Eric Dier in the 75th minute. Solid defensively and overall a very good display in his return to the line-up.
Marcos Alonso (6) – Kept Ben Chilwell on the bench after his goal-scoring return from the wilderness against Burnley, and the game played into his hands in the first half as he had no defending to do at all, although he was less involved than James on the opposite side. Supplied Spurs with the free kick that brought their first meaningful chance early in the second half when he fouled Serge Aurier with his first defensive challenge, the Ivorian full back heading narrowly wide from the cross. Did improve defensively as Spurs pressured more, and did well to cut out a pass and start a counter in the final 10 minutes, but will surely need to maintain a higher level to keep the £45m summer signing out of the side.Embed from Getty Images
Jorginho (7) – The Italian midfielder’s presence in the midfield in a big away game against a rival likely did not raise many celebrations from Chelsea fans before kickoff but, admittedly aided by little defensive work early, he had one of his stronger games in a Chelsea shirt. Looked more dynamic than usual and moved the ball more with more speed and incision than he often does. Scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot in the 24th minute, forgoing his usual hop to power a shot into the bottom corner. Improved in his defensive duties also, winning back possession on a number of occasions.
Mateo Kovacic (7) – Had plenty of freedom in midfield to move the ball well and link up with the attacking players as Chelsea dominated the early stages of the game. Carried the ball forward well without creating anything specific. Went on a driving run mid-way through the second half but, rather than playing in Timo Werner or Pulisic to either side, panicked and poked a disappointing shot wide. Replaced by N’Golo Kante after 73 minutes.
Callum Hudson-Odoi (7) – Continued to make the most of his run in the first team under his new manager, in a more advanced position. Combined well with Mount and James throughout the first half and pressed effectively as part of the same unit plus Werner. Went close with a low shot after the half and probably would have been disappointed to be replaced by Pulisic in the 65th minute.
Mason Mount (8) – Was all over the pitch ready to receive the ball and link the play in the first half. After being dropped for Tuchel’s first game in charge he has proven his worth to the new manager. Pressed well along with the players around him, but wasted a pair of good chances. First, he overhit a cross out of play from a well-worked short corner when Chelsea should have been putting the game out of sight before half time, then hesitated when in a good position in the closing seconds of the half allowing a challenge to come in. Less prominent in the second period as Spurs mounted some resistance but went the closest to adding a second late on when he carried into the box and sent a low shot heading into the far corner that took a good Hugo Lloris save to keep out.Embed from Getty Images
Timo Werner (6) – The German’s low confidence was evident when all of his early touches went wrong, especially in contrast to the slick movement of his teammates. Won the penalty that led to the winner as Dier proved to be the clumsier of the two in a battle for a loose ball in the box, but was clever to use his speed to get in front of the Spurs defender’s attempted clearance to draw the foul. Looked slightly more confident thereafter, but did not trouble the scoresheet aside from a chance after the break where he controlled an overhit Mount pass well in the area but was denied by a strong last-ditch Aurier tackle, and an injury-time shot blocked by Dier. Willing runner and energetic in the press throughout though.
Andreas Christensen (on for Silva 35’) (7) – May not have matched the influence of the man he replaced but was defensively sound throughout. Often appears to be bullied in physical battles and tends to not be dominant in the air, but was probably Chelsea’s best defender during Tottenham’s attempts to get back into the game. Cut out a Steven Bergwijn cut back to thwart one dangerous attack midway through the second period, and won some important headers later on to ensure the decorated Brazilian was not missed too much this time.Embed from Getty Images
Christian Pulisic (on for Hudson-Odoi 65’) (6) – Looked dangerous immediately after coming on and almost scored but for Lloris meeting a cross simultaneously to keep it out. His introduction gave Chelsea some momentum, but his overall influence waned thereafter. Had one threatening run from his own half that should have resulted in an opportunity, but he did not see James arriving in space on the right and was tackled. Was booked during a Spurs counter late on.
N’Golo Kante (on for Kovacic 73’) (6) – Unfortunate to miss out from the start, Kante was brought on to help close out the game, and immediately was in the right place to intercept a ball in from the left inside the area, but was not at his best in the short time he was involved. Was caught in possession inside the final 10 minutes and subsequently fouled Lucas Moura to pick up a booking. Will hope the return to the formation he was so influential in under Antonio Conte can see him reach his imperious best again.