London - Chelsea stormed back from behind to end Tottenham Hotspur's unbeaten
Premier League record with a 2-1 victory on Saturday that propelled
Antonio Conte's soaring side back into top spot.
Chelsea had seen Liverpool and Manchester City steal past them earlier
in the day and fell behind in the 11th minute when Christian Eriksen
became the first player to score past them in seven games.
But Pedro Rodriguez's glorious curler and a Victor Moses tap-in either
side of half-time gave Chelsea a seventh successive win - their longest
such run within one season since January to April 2007.
Chelsea, who visit City next weekend, restored a one-point advantage
over second-place Liverpool and left London rivals Tottenham seven
points below them in fifth place.
It marked a rotten end to a disappointing week for Spurs, who were
knocked out of the Champions League by Monaco in mid-week and have won
only one of their last 10 fixtures in all competitions.
Their run of games without victory at Stamford Bridge, where their title
challenge last season ended in May, now stands at 30, their last
victory there having come in February 1990.
Missing Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose, Spurs were patched up at the
back, where centre-back Kevin Wimmer filled in at left-back and Eric
Dier partnered Jan Vertonghen in the centre.
But the return to a 4-2-3-1 formation, after dalliances with a back
three and a 4-3-2-1 system, helped them get their press in order and
they had Chelsea on the back foot in the first half.
After a couple of early threats, including a Harry Kane effort that was
chalked off for offside, Mauricio Pochettino's men took the lead with a
Breaking from midfield, Dele Alli toed the ball to Eriksen and from
outside the box the Dane let fly with a vicious left-foot shot that
soared past Thibaut Courtois' outstretched right hand.
It was the first goal Chelsea - unchanged for the sixth game running -
had conceded in 601 minutes of football, since a 3-0 defeat at Arsenal
on September 24.
The visitors were playing with an intensity last seen in their
impressive 2-0 win over Manchester City in early October and their
rediscovered confidence was expressed by their willingness to shoot.
Victor Wanyama, Kane, Eriksen and Mousa Dembele all chanced their arm from range, although only Kane worked Courtois.
The Chelsea goalkeeper also had to save from Kyle Walker after the
England right-back had lifted the ball over Marcos Alonso and tried his
luck from an angle.
Chelsea's initial efforts to respond, via a David Luiz free-kick and an Eden Hazard shot, were comfortably held by Hugo Lloris.
But on the stroke of half-time Pedro levelled with a magnificent goal,
deftly turning and then wrapping his right foot around the ball to send
it curling inside the right-hand upright.
N'Golo Kante signalled Chelsea's second-half intent by ramming a shot at
Lloris and within six minutes of the restart, they were in front.
Diego Costa was the architect, working his way to the byline on the left
and crossing low for Moses, whose shot flicked off Lloris's right boot,
struck Vertonghen's knee and ricocheted into the net.
Marcos Alonso should have made it 3-1 shortly after, following more
byline burrowing by Costa, but from 10 yards out the Spaniard ballooned a
shot over the bar with his weaker right foot.
Kane created a chance for Eriksen to equalise, but the Spurs number 10
could only volley straight at Courtois as the last unbeaten team in the
division finally succumbed to defeat on their 13th outing.