Chelsea put an end to Tottenham’s undefeated start to the Premier League season with a 4-1 victory in a tumultuous match filled with VAR controversy on Monday.
— Match Spoots (@matchspoots) November 6, 2023
Nicolas Jackson’s hat-trick was the catalyst for Chelsea’s win, while Mauricio Pochettino, the Blues’ manager, savored sweet revenge against his former club, Tottenham, where he was dismissed in 2019.
The game was marred by a series of contentious incidents, including red cards for Tottenham’s Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie. Tottenham initially took the lead through Dejan Kulusevski, but Romero’s red card for a foul that led to Cole Palmer’s penalty equalizer marked a turning point. Udogie also received a red card after his second booking, leaving Tottenham with just nine players on the field.
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VAR played a significant role, disallowing goals for both teams. Tottenham’s misfortune continued as they lost key players, James Maddison and Micky van de Ven, to injuries in the first half.
Chelsea capitalized on their numerical advantage in the closing stages, with Jackson scoring three times to hand Tottenham their first defeat in 11 league games. Ange Postecoglou’s team remained in second place, one point behind leaders Manchester City, while Chelsea moved up to 10th place with their first league win in three games.
Tottenham fans greeted Pochettino warmly in recognition of his five-year tenure that included taking the team to their first Champions League final. However, Pochettino took immense pleasure in delivering Tottenham’s first league defeat this season, given the extraordinary circumstances of the match.
Tottenham had a strong start when Kulusevski scored early, but Son Heung-min’s goal was disallowed for offside. Udogie received a booking despite a reckless tackle on Raheem Sterling, avoiding a potential red card. Sterling’s goal was ruled out due to handball. The match’s tension escalated when Romero escaped a red card for a kick on Colwill but was eventually dismissed in the 33rd minute.
A VAR check ruled Jackson offside, but Romero’s challenge on Enzo Fernandez was deemed a penalty, resulting in his dismissal. Palmer’s penalty almost eluded the goalkeeper but found the net.
The contentious first half ended after 12 minutes of stoppage time, and with ten men and injuries to key players, Tottenham struggled.
Udogie received his marching orders in the 55th minute for a reckless tackle on Sterling, setting the stage for Chelsea to launch an offensive. Chelsea’s breakthrough came in the 75th minute when Sterling provided an assist for Jackson to score from close range.
Tottenham continued to fight, with Eric Dier’s goal ruled out for offside and Rodrigo Bentancur narrowly missing a header. In stoppage time, Jackson secured the victory with a goal from Conor Gallagher’s cross, condemning Tottenham to a rare defeat.