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Chelsea beat Tottenham on Jose Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge

Chelsea beat Tottenham - Sport blog in Nigeria

Jose Mourinho’s moles might have been right, but the Portuguese and his Tottenham Hotspur players got it badly wrong at Stamford Bridge.

Spurs’ head coach Mourinho had on Friday claimed he had been told that his former club Chelsea would return to a back three for their visit and matched his team up accordingly.

But it was Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard who got his big calls right, as goals from Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso kept the home side ahead of their London rivals in the race for the top four.

Giroud’s goal was his first in the Premier League this season and came against the club that had wanted to sign him to solve their own striker crisis during the January transfer window.

Alonso’s most notable contribution ahead of this game had been his performance in the victory over Mourinho’s Tottenham back in December.

Mourinho could not claim he had not been warned and yet he matched 20-year-old defender Japhet Tanganga up against him and the youngster understandably struggled.

There will also be questions asked over Mourinho’s decision not to start Dele Alli, despite being without injured duo Harry Kane and Heung-min Son.

Alli had thrown down his water bottle and boots after being substituted in the Champions League against Red Bull Leipzig.

Alli had not been at his best, but he is Tottenham’s third highest scorer behind Kane and Son, and has previously been a thorn in Chelsea’s side.

Lampard’s decision to drop Willian, who has made a habit of scoring against Spurs, looked equally risky but Ross Barkley and Mason Mount, who started on either side of Giroud, played a part in both goals.

Mount had seen an effort saved by Hugo Lloris and Barkley had shot narrowly wide before Chelsea took the lead in the 15th minute.

Jorginho played a wonderful pass through for Giroud, whose shot was stopped by Lloris. Barkley hit the post with the follow up, but the Frenchman brilliantly converted the rebound.

Chelsea survived a VAR check on a possible offside against Giroud, but were later aggrieved when the technology did not award a second-half red card for Giovani Lo Celso for what looked like a clear stamp on Cesar Azpilicueta.

Alonso brilliantly volleyed narrowly over the bar as the home side looked to extend their advantage before the break, although Chelsea did survive one let off.

Willy Caballero, who was again preferred to Kepa Ariizabalaga, was caught in no man’s land by a long ball out of defence from Toby Alderweireld, but Tanganga could not take it into his stride.

Mourinho decided against making a half-time change and paid the price when Chelsea doubled their lead just three minutes after the break.

Mount controlled the ball superbly on the right and shifted it to Barkley in the centre, who perfectly teed up Alonso to find the corner of the net with a sweet left-foot shot.

After Lo Celso had somehow stayed on the pitch following his stamp on Azpilicueta, Tottenham’s visiting fans called for the introduction of Alli by singing his name as he warmed up down the touchline.

But it took Mourinho until 78th minute to send Alli on in place of Steven Bergwijn, by which time his Chelsea moles would presumably long since given up on their information inspiring a result.

Chelsea should further have extended their advantage as substitutes Tammy Abraham and Willian both went close with the Brazilian hitting the crossbar from a free-kick, before Spurs sub Erik Lamela set up a nervy couple of minutes by squeezing the ball into the net via the heel of Antonio Rudiger.

An equaliser would have been hugely unjust on Chelsea, who held on and will be hoping this result can be the start of a big finish to the season.

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