Its always nice to
put four past Tottenham, even if the novelty is wearing
a little thin, and while top gear is hopefully still to
be found plus the defence may need a little tightening,
there was a lot to smile about today at Stamford Bridge
- both in the old and the new.
The new continues to be the scintillating
form of Adrian Mutu who was this afternoon was simply
unstoppable, adding two more to his seasons total,
while the old comes in the shape of a team line-up that
augurs well for Chelseas strength of squad as the
Had you spent the summer locked in a dark
cupboard, you could have been forgiven for thinking transfer
activity had only been moderate at the Bridge. Nine of
the eleven starters today graced many a team last season
with just Mutu and Damien Duff as new faces.
The returning players repaid Ranieris
faith in them with a refreshed Celestine Babayaro and
an enthusiastic Emmanuel Petit particularly catching the
eye Which was more than can be said for the opening stages
of the game.
Redknapp almost recreated the bad start
against Blackburn when he tested Cudicini in the opening
minute. That was with a long range effort but the 23 minutes
that followed were nothing to write home (or even here)
about as the game ebbed and flowed either side of the
halfway line, punctuated by too many free-kicks.
Then came the kick-start that was desperately
needed, even if the manner was not to Chelseas liking.
Anderton, after an interchange with Carr,
hit a low trajectory cross towards the far post where
Kanouté beat Melchiot to the ball. As it fell,
the Spurs man was first to it again, allowing him to roll
it past the advancing Cudicini.
A sunny Stamford Bridge went rather quiet.
Could it really be happening? Could this finally be the
day Spurs produced the goods here? Could it hell!
It took Chelsea nine minutes to compose
ourselves and then the goal flow began.
The formation switched to mirror Spurs
3-5-2 with Duff moving into the middle and Baba and Gronkjaer
occupying the wing-back roles and the Dane was instrumental
in the equaliser
Picking up the ball on the right, he teased
Taricco before drilling an excellent left-footed cross
to the far post where Frank Lampard, just a couple of
yards out, nodded the ball down and inside the post for
his first Chelsea headed goal.
The second, two minutes later, was a master
class in measured attacking play. Hasselbaink chested
a long ball into the path of Duff who ran at the heart
of the Spurs back-three.
As Mutu timed his run on the outside of
Ledley King to perfection, Duff hit his pass inside the
twisting defender with equal precision and after a slight
stumble, our new star striker prodded past Keller to maintain
his record of a goal in every game for club or country
A third before the break almost came.
Duff struck five yards over and then when Desailly challenged
Keller in the air, Terry knocked the falling ball back
to Lampard whose shot was scrambled away desperately by
the Spurs keeper.
Just after the re-start came the inevitable
booking for Taricco it was just a surprise it had
taken so long! This time it was nasty lunge on Gronkjaer
that drew punishment.
Damien Duff was first to make a second-half
impact with the upper part of his boot rather than the
studs. First he hit a piledriver that swerved off target
and then he embarked on a sensational 50 yard run through
the middle of the Tottenham team before releasing Mutu
again. The near-post shot that followed was beaten away
by the increasingly worked Keller.
A spate of substitutions saw a French
international switch as Claude Makelele made his debut
in place of Petit, followed by Konchesky for Taricco,
William Gallas for Gronkjaer and Joe Cole for Duff.
When Chelseas third came with quarter-of-an-hour
to go, two of the new arrivals were prominent. Ranieris
new watch battery powered his first Chelsea move as Cole
was released by Makelele and after a run through the middle,
Cole spotted Mutu who had completely evaded the attention
of the Spurs rearguard.
The razor-sharp Romanian picked the ball
up in acres of space and cool as you like, slotted it
inside the far post. Its safe to say we have a new
crowd favourite here!
A hat-trick would have been a fitting
reward and the chance came when Coles shot rebounded
off Keller into Mutus path but for once the shooting
And wayward would be an appropriate word
to describe the rare aberration that befell the Chelsea
defence with five minutes of normal time remaining.
A long throw caused undue chaos around
the six yard box and when Zamora was allowed to swivel
and shoot, the ball cannoned back off the post into the
vicinity of Kanouté who slammed it in for his second.
Once again the Spurs strike had come as
a shock. The odd thrust from substitute Dalmat apart,
a second-half threat from the visitors had been simply
non-existent and even if Chelsea had have survived a nervous
last few minutes unscathed, 3-2 would not have reflected
the difference in quality.
A score of 4-2 did however. With one minute
of injury time played, Cole continued his influential
cameo by poking the ball down the line to the lively Babayaro
who picked out Hasselbaink perfectly to complete the afternoons
task. Twenty-seven League games unbeaten against Tottenham.
M-O-T-M=Adrian Mutu Again !!!!