After his previous team was reduced to nine men on a turbulent and contentious evening, Mauricio Pochettino made a triumphant return to Tottenham with Chelsea.
Before the game, Spurs supporters were excited about the possibility of winning the Premier League again, but their dreams were dashed in an amazing, incident-filled match.
Everything began off beautifully for Spurs when Kulusevski scored, but Romero’s recklessness cost them dearly. Although he was lucky not to get sent off for kicking out at Colwill, there was no turning back once he recklessly followed through on Fernandez. The Italian international left Oliver with little choice when he dove in on the same player early in the second half, and Udogie was also fortunate not to be sent out before his ultimate departure for a crazy challenge on Sterling.
As Chelsea began to show signs of frustration, Postecoglou took a chance by sticking with the high line and having goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario play as an emergency sweeper on many occasions. However, Spurs were shattered and Jackson scored a hat-trick to seal the victory.
In addition to the immediate hurt of this loss, the havoc caused by Romero and Udogie’s bans as well as Van de Ven and Maddison’s injuries, will have long-term effects for the Spurs.
After the final whistle, Spurs fans enthusiastically cheered on their players, but overall, it was a difficult evening that might end up costing them dearly.
So, how did the game progress?
An incredible match that featured five goals, five more that were disallowed, two red cards, and a plethora of VAR rulings reduced the Argentine’s comeback to a small side story. It was one of the Premier League’s most intense matches ever.
The host team attempted to build on their early control, and Son Heung-min’s effort was barely called out for offside. Spurs, however, got off to a superb start and took the lead when Dejan Kulusevski’s drive in the sixth minute deflected in off Chelsea defender Levi Colwill.
Amidst an intense environment, Chelsea had two goals disallowed as well; Moises Caicedo and Raheem Sterling both had one goal disallowed for offside and handball, respectively. The later scenario still resulted in a goal for Chelsea, as Romero’s rough challenge on fellow countryman Enzo Fernandez earned a penalty kick. Romero was sent off as a result.
After Spurs were down to ten men before halftime due to what appeared to be significant hamstring injuries to crucial defender Micky van de Ven and ankle problems to James Maddison, Chelsea’s summer addition Cole Palmer scored the spot-kick that levelled the game.
After facing stiff opposition from Spurs, who ultimately suffered their first Premier League loss under Postecoglou, Jackson scored twice more in stoppage time to complete a late hat-trick and make the result considerably more comfortable than it had been for the visitors.