TOTTENHAM 2-0 CHELSEA: Oliver Skipp’s first goal for Spurs came after a mix-up between two of the most expensive players of all time, Kepa Arrizabalaga and Enzo Fernandez
If there was ever a time to sum up Chelsea’s problems – embarrassing riches but nothing to come by – this is it.
Chelsea arrived at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with a good record against Spurs at this stadium. It was a record that Graham Potter said would give his team a small boost, but which in reality is only crying out to break.
The Blues have a perfect record at Tottenham’s new stadium. They are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League meetings with Spurs, who have won just seven of their previous 61 encounters in the league.
But historical statistics are sure to be eclipsed by contemporary statistics; Chelsea’s streak of two wins – and just six goals – in their previous 15 matches in all competitions is a much stronger sign of what could be expected in north London on Sunday.
And after a sour first half that contained little Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg hitting the post and Hakim Ziyech receiving a suspended red card, the moment came where it all fell apart for Chelsea. Just a minute into the second half when a triumphant moment for Tottenham – or a disastrous one for Chelsea, depending on your view – occurred.
Kepa Arrizabalaga failed to defend against a direct effort from Emerson Royal at the overlap, prompting Enzo Fernandez into action. The Premier League’s most expensive player of all time collected the ball from the hands of his goalkeeper before making a left-footed clearance.
The ball returns with great interest. Skipp took it and charged forward before unleashing a powerful effort that Kepa wasn’t quite ready for. The goalkeeper from Spain was only able to stick the ball into his own net, through the bottom of the crossbar. Skipp scored his first goal for Tottenham in his 66th appearance – and Chelsea were again in a deficit to try and turn around.
For Spurs this is a very happy moment, their academy graduate did well in the London derby. For Chelsea, however, this was a goal that epitomizes the state they are in.
Kepa is the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, a player who cost the club £72 million in the summer of 2018. Fernandez is the latest addition to an expensively assembled but still dilapidated collection of players. World Cup winners Argentina set Chelsea back a Premier League record fee of £105m in January.
But together both players contributed to Tottenham’s opener. That incident happened, not because of a lack of class, but simply because of a lack of understanding. A solid defense is built on relationships and time on the training pitch – two things Kepa and Fernandez lack.
This is a project that Todd Boehly – who was there to see it all unfold in north London – committed himself to at Chelsea. When he sacked Thomas Tuchel in September he knew what he was getting into, with plans already under way to splurge in the January transfer window.
Potter tried his best to get the tune of a very expensive Chelsea squad, but he did it in real time, without taking advantage of pre-season – and without the benefit of the transfer policy that had been set up. side.
Harry Kane’s simple tap-in at the back post following a corner sealed the deal for Spurs and left Boehly and co having to make a serious decision over Potter’s future.