Ange PostecoglouAnge Postecoglou
Ange Postecoglou | Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur player ratings vs Chelsea: Two 6s and 4s as Spurs fail to make possession count

Spurs lost 2-0 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Thursday (May 2), despite a well-fought game in which they dominated possession.

Ultimately, it was two set pieces that saw off Spurs at Stamford Bridge. Not corners this time, but one free kick that found a Chelsea centre-back unmarked, and another that found the woodwork and was poached on the rebound.

Spurs salvaged some pride with a fight-back against Arsenal in the north London derby, but it’s fair to say that the early-season momentum has been lost as the team’s shortcomings have been exposed.

Still, they need only look to Chelsea for reassurance that thing’s could be worse. Tottenham legend Mauricio Pochettino has had a torrid first season in west London.

But Chelsea vs Spurs is always a law unto itself, as the reverse fixture earlier this season showed. And Pochettino can now point to success in both games.

There were changes for Tottenham, with Pape Matar Sarr and Yves Bissouma returning in the centre of the park, and James Maddison dropped with Dejan Kulusevski playing deeper. Richarlison started up front with Brennan Johnson And Heung-Min Son.

An early let-off came in the first minute when van de Ven cleared off the line after Jackson put the ball through Vicario. The ball ricocheted off Palmer and over.

Despite that, Spurs looked lively, with Porro and Johnson on the right full of energy and the midfield dominating possession.

Defending corners have been a problem this season but twice in quick succession it was Richarlison using his muscle to head clear, and then once again from a free kick.

But when the goal came, Gallagher’s free kick bypassed Richarlison, and the entire defence, and Trevor Chalobah headed in.

Chelsea had more openings, Mykhailo Mudryk breaking through but unable to finish, but Spurs kept the pressure on. Cristian Romero should have done better with a header from a Porro free kick.

Good work by Johnson and Porro fed Sarr, whose shot was deflected wide.

The second half started with no changes and both sides continuing to show signs of threat.

Tottenham’s best move began with van de Ven charging from defence through the Chelsea midfield, Son and Kulusevski working the ball into the box, Richarlison just unable to get a clear shot away.

A smart shot from Johnson drew a save, albeit from a tight angle - and one the keeper should make.

On the hour mark, Ange Postecoglou had seen enough and prepared Maddison, Rodrigo Bentancur and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg - Richarlison, Sarr and Bissouma sacrificed. With Kulusevski pushing up, it was a total midfield transplant.

Maddison’s arrival gave impetus but it was Chelsea who found the net again, Cole Palmer’s free kick hitting the woodwork and Nicolas Jackson heading in.

Tottenham heads seemed to go down and, as the minutes ticked by, both Bryan Gil and Giovani Lo Celso came on.

Cole Palmer nearly found a goal or himself, but his free kick was well tipped over by Vicario.

There were flurries from Spurs in the closing minutes, but the game was already done.

It was not a bad performance from Tottenham, but an inability to find the breakthrough and two free kicks cost them.

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