London, Monday @Peoplesports
In the time it took Tottenham Hotspur to register their first league win at Stamford Bridge since 1990, Chelsea had won 22 trophies.
That was a fact the home fans weren’t slow in reminding their visitors before kick-off of Spurs’ 3-1 win on Sunday, as a huge banner declared Chelsea the “Pride of London”.
Less than two hours later, though, it was undeniable who are the current kings of the capital as Spurs, shorn of Harry Kane from the start and having fallen a goal behind, still roared back to take all three points thanks to Christan Eriksen’s wonder strike and a quickfire Dele Alli (pictured) double.
This was a hugely symbolic win for Spurs. Victory opened up an eight-point lead over fifth-placed Chelsea with just seven games of the Premier League campaign left to almost set the seal on a third straight season of Champions League football to come at their new 62,000 capacity stadium.
Moreover, it was a statement of intent, the type of win manager Mauricio Pochettino highlighted as necessary to foment a “winning mentality”. “This wasn’t just a game, it was a game-changer, for Tottenham, and Chelsea, too,” wrote Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail.
Tottenham have now beaten Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal this season. Real Madrid were also vanquished at Wembley in November and how Pochettino will rue three minutes of madness that cost them a place in this week’s Champions League quarter-finals having dominated Juventus, two-time finalists in the past three season, over two legs in the last 16.
The stick often used to beat Pochettino is that for all the progress under the Argentine, Spurs are still to win a trophy in four years under his leadership.
That elusive silverware could still come in the FA Cup this season, but even if it doesn’t, a landmark Easter Sunday win was further evidence of their status as the rising side in London.
“Mind the gap, as they say in London, where Spurs are undeniably the capital’s top team and Chelsea are left to reflect and rebuild yet again,” said The Telegraph.
Pochettino has had to battle past rivals with far greater resources to establish Spurs as top four regulars, but even that shackle could begin to loosen by the resources of the new stadium.
“After four years together, the club has moved on in everything: not just in football, but about facilities. Next season we’ll have a new stadium and it could be fantastic,” added Pochettino. -AFP