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Chelsea defeats Tottenham over weekend clash

Chelsea won, but that was only part of the story on a thoroughly unpleasant afternoon at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

After Son Heung-min was sent off 17 minutes into the second half, a bottle was thrown from the crowd at the Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, and a racist insult was aimed at Antonio Rudiger, leading to a warning about racism being relayed over the public address system. Two further announcements followed before the end of the match.

Exactly what the racism consisted of or how many fans were involved remains uncertain, but there will be an investigation. In terms of the football, this was a very good evening for Frank Lampard. Just as the doubts were beginning to mount, his Chelsea produced probably its best performance under him, defeating its London rivals Tottenham, 2-0, to consolidate fourth place in the table, four points above Sheffield United in fifth and now six clear of Tottenham, in seventh.

The narratives of Spurs ascent and Chelsea decline suddenly don’t look quite so assured as they did at the beginning of the weekend.

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When Mourinho was appointed as Mauricio Pochettino’s successor at Tottenham a month ago, Spurs trailed Chelsea by 12 points.

Had Tottenham won here, it would have gone above Chelsea in the table, but instead it produced what was probably its worst performance under Mourinho, devoid of attacking ideas and defensively fragile.

Chelsea was more aggressive, better organized and won with an unexpected sense of ease. After a spell of four defeats in five games.

Chelsea’s big problem this season has been its vulnerability on the counter, leaking a 24% higher proportion of goals on the counter under Lampard than the league average.

Chelsea went ahead after 12 minutes as Tottenham’s defensive issues were exposed.

Like Chelsea, Tottenham went into the game having kept only three league clean sheets all season and, after Toby Alderweireld signed a new contract last week, Mourinho is believed to be keen to replace the other three members of the back four.

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