CECH: KNOWING BETTER KNOWING HOW

Most of the focus was understandably on the attacking part of Chelsea’s play following the four-goal haul that overcame Tottenham at the weekend, but with Andre Villas-Boas’s side registering 16 shots on-target during the game, Petr Cech played an important part in the victory too.

No save was probably more crucial than the one from Kyle Walker close to the end that kept the Blues in the lead, moments before the same Spurs full-back was robbed by Juan Mata who found Daniel Sturridge to make sure of the win. It was a save that pleased the Chelsea goalkeeper.

‘I didn’t see the ball much because there was a wall of defenders and players standing there,’ explained Cech, ‘and I think David Luiz wanted to kick the ball away and suddenly he pulled his leg back. This was only when I saw the ball so it was a good reaction, I am glad I managed to turn it around the post.

‘There were a lot of shots and we knew at home Tottenham would always threaten, and that is what happened. But we defended very well as a unit overall and in the last 20 minutes we could have scored more goals.

‘They had some chances and we had some chances and in the end we put them in the back of the net which made the difference. It was a great reaction from our players because at 2-1 down and having not won at Spurs for a long time, you think here we go again but it was not the case and we knew how to get back into the game. We scored some great goals.

‘If you start slowly in this league, you get punished quickly,’ Cech added, turning his attention to the two-goal salvo that wiped out the Chelsea first-half lead. ‘Tottenham are a very good team and this is why they punished us for starting slowly at the start of the second half, but this is something to learn from and it shows a lot of things about our team, that we didn’t collapse and it gave us a lot of motivation to come back into the game.

‘We conceded two goals and we still won a game away from home against a team with a lot of quality players, and we are delighted with that.’

Cech is a player who understands the strain of being a near-ever present in a team challenging for multiple trophies plus mixing it with an international career, and he adds his name to those who believe the rest given to Juan Mata recently did the player, and consequently the Chelsea team, a power of good. There was plenty of evidence for this on Saturday.

‘People were surprised when he left us after the start of the season and went for a holiday but you can’t play two seasons in a row,’ insisted Cech.

‘By this time he would have been burnt out without any break but now you can see he still has the hunger to play and he is fit and has a lot of energy. It is great to see him playing like that.’

Cech flies with the rest of the squad to Ukraine today (Monday) for an important Champions League game, and the big matches keep coming on the return to league action next weekend as we look to extend a run that has seen just two points dropped from a possible 24.

‘We have made many good starts in the time I have been here but we started slowly the first two games this season. We seem to get better as the team gets to know each other,’ said Cech.

‘Now we have played two tough away games at Arsenal and Spurs and we got six points which is a huge advantage, but now we await the game against Manchester United at home because that will be a another big test.’

CECH: KNOWING HOW

Most of the focus was understandably on the attacking part of Chelsea’s play following the four-goal haul that overcame Tottenham at the weekend, but with Andre Villas-Boas’s side registering 16 shots on-target during the game, Petr Cech played an important part in the victory too.

No save was probably more crucial than the one from Kyle Walker close to the end that kept the Blues in the lead, moments before the same Spurs full-back was robbed by Juan Mata who found Daniel Sturridge to make sure of the win. It was a save that pleased the Chelsea goalkeeper.

‘I didn’t see the ball much because there was a wall of defenders and players standing there,’ explained Cech, ‘and I think David Luiz wanted to kick the ball away and suddenly he pulled his leg back. This was only when I saw the ball so it was a good reaction, I am glad I managed to turn it around the post.

‘There were a lot of shots and we knew at home Tottenham would always threaten, and that is what happened. But we defended very well as a unit overall and in the last 20 minutes we could have scored more goals.

‘They had some chances and we had some chances and in the end we put them in the back of the net which made the difference. It was a great reaction from our players because at 2-1 down and having not won at Spurs for a long time, you think here we go again but it was not the case and we knew how to get back into the game. We scored some great goals.

‘If you start slowly in this league, you get punished quickly,’ Cech added, turning his attention to the two-goal salvo that wiped out the Chelsea first-half lead. ‘Tottenham are a very good team and this is why they punished us for starting slowly at the start of the second half, but this is something to learn from and it shows a lot of things about our team, that we didn’t collapse and it gave us a lot of motivation to come back into the game.

‘We conceded two goals and we still won a game away from home against a team with a lot of quality players, and we are delighted with that.’

Cech is a player who understands the strain of being a near-ever present in a team challenging for multiple trophies plus mixing it with an international career, and he adds his name to those who believe the rest given to Juan Mata recently did the player, and consequently the Chelsea team, a power of good. There was plenty of evidence for this on Saturday.

‘People were surprised when he left us after the start of the season and went for a holiday but you can’t play two seasons in a row,’ insisted Cech.

‘By this time he would have been burnt out without any break but now you can see he still has the hunger to play and he is fit and has a lot of energy. It is great to see him playing like that.’

Cech flies with the rest of the squad to Ukraine today (Monday) for an important Champions League game, and the big matches keep coming on the return to league action next weekend as we look to extend a run that has seen just two points dropped from a possible 24.

‘We have made many good starts in the time I have been here but we started slowly the first two games this season. We seem to get better as the team gets to know each other,’ said Cech.

‘Now we have played two tough away games at Arsenal and Spurs and we got six points which is a huge advantage, but now we await the game against Manchester United at home because that will be a another big test.’

REACTION: THAT'S THE WAY TO DO IT

Gary Cahill and Juan Mata, the scorers of three out of Chelsea’s four goals at White Hart Lane, both spoke afterwards about the character evident when recovering from Tottenham’s 10-minute assault at the start of the second half.

Cahill struck a blistering volley, an impressive fourth goal in eight appearances this season, to put the Blues on the right path in Saturday lunchtime’s match, but two goals from the home side as they caught us cold at the start of the second half asked plenty of questions. But the answers were good as Roberto Di Matteo’s men steadied themselves and then struck back through Juan Mata’s fifth and sixth goals of the season, capped at the very end when the Spaniard set up Daniel Sturridge to make it a 4-2 win.

‘It was a tough game and we knew it was going to be like that, playing away from home, but it was a fantastic result,’ said Cahill who had returned to the side for suspended John Terry.

‘We worked hard and we created chances. Even after we had started slowly after the break, we kept going and creating, and Juan scored two fantastic goals.’

‘It was tougher than the scoreline suggests,’ agreed Mata.

‘We didn’t start the second half very well, they scored two goals, but we are a team that always believes in our qualities and has confidence so we did really well in the last 25 minutes.’

Prior to his goals, Mata shot over the bar in the first half and could have had a rapid hat-trick in the second half but his chip shortly after his second goal was caught by Brad Friedel.

‘Maybe Fernando [Torres] was in the best position to put the ball into the net,’ he admitted, ‘but two goals were enough and the most important thing is we came back [from being behind].’

Cahill was naturally happy with his cracking opening goal after the ball had dropped just inside the area from William Gallas’s attempted clearing header.

‘I just wanted to get a good connection and when I hit it I knew I had done that, and thankfully it hit the roof of the net,’ said the central defender.

‘Now we just want to keep the momentum going. We have started the season well, and it is only the start, but if we continue with the form we are showing at the minute then we won’t go far wrong.’

‘If you win and you can play as we played at Tottenham, that is the best way to play,’ added Mata.

‘We always try to play with the ball and try to move and look for the gaps between the lines, and in the second half we did it really well. We are playing well and we are all enjoying this moment.

‘What we need to do is keep training hard and now we play Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine and we want to stay at the top of our group in the Champions League.

‘It is too early to think about winning the Premier League, it is our aim of course, but what we have to do is keep going and keep on enjoying ourselves.’


There is more from
Gary Cahill and Juan Mata, speaking to Chelsea TV and available now via the channel’s online access.

FINAL WHISTLE VERDICT: TAKING THE INITIATIVE

Roberto Di Matteo was understandably delighted having seen his side record our first league victory at White Hart Lane since 2005, as a Juan Mata brace, plus strikes from Gary Cahill and Daniel Sturridge, saw us run out 4-2 winners.

It was a result made all the more impressive given the fact that after going in at the break 1-0 up, a poor start to the second half saw us quickly fall 2-1 behind, and the Blues manager felt it was a well-deserved three points.

On the performance
‘At Arsenal we were very good, also Reading I thought we played well and Juventus in the first half we were very strong, but the continuity we showed for the whole duration of the game today was pleasing,’ said the Italian.

‘There were 10-12 minutes when Spurs came out from the dressing room very sharp. The early goal gave them confidence and momentum which we knew we had to ride out. Apart from that, the majority of the game we were in control. We took the initiative and managed to impose ourselves.

On Gary Cahill’s goal and his partnership with David Luiz
‘It’s not the first time they played together, I had no concerns. I thought Ramires and [John Obi] Mikel did excellent as well in midfield, they had a lot of quantity but also quality, and obviously we were a good attacking threat.

‘Cahill shows that in training, he’s always involved when we do finishing exercises and you can see he has got good technique. It’s important when you want to play out from the back that we have defenders who are comfortable in possession.

‘We have a good squad which I’m happy with and every time a player comes in they have performed well. We have a good base and are able to make two or three changes without noticing too much.

On a potential title assault
‘It’s too early to say, there are still 30 games to play. This result makes us a team who are strong and makes our start even better, but you have to wait until the Christmas period.

On winning with style
‘We want to win games in a way that we think we can with the players we have. Our philosophy is to play in a certain way because we believe that, with the players we have, that’s the way to win games.

On a reunion with Andre Villas-Boas
‘You don’t need extra pressure for a game like this, it’s a big London derby, we haven’t won here since 2005 in the league and we know how strong Spurs are at White Hart Lane. It’s the first London derby they’ve lost here in five years; it was a difficult game and a test of our character and ability.

On the club’s decision to keep John Terry as captain
‘The board have made a decision and I respect that. Ultimately, they are the board and they make the decisions which are best for the football club.’

His opposite number, meanwhile, felt it was the three players in behind Fernando Torres who made all the difference, particularly the two-goal hero Mata, whom he brought to Stamford Bridge at the beginning of last season.

‘The game was solved on individual brilliance from Oscar, Mata and [Eden] Hazard, who were brilliant,’ said Villas-Boas. ‘They can unlock doors and beat people as they are extremely creative.

‘The player is a good player regardless of the manager, we signed him for his talent and he’s not going to stop producing moments of brilliance.’

MATCH REPORT: TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 CHELSEA 4

Summary
The Blues won at White Hart Lane in the league for the first time since 2005 and remained top of the Premier League pile in the process.

A brilliant Gary Cahill goal gave Roberto Di Matteo’s men a well-deserved lead to take into the dressing room at half-time, but that was soon surrendered as William Gallas and Jermain Defoe put Spurs ahead inside 10 minutes from the restart.

However Chelsea steeled ourselves and responded with true belief, Juan Mata netting twice in just over two minutes to restore the advantage. Tottenham had chances, as did Chelsea, but it was the returning Daniel Sturridge who made sure all three points were heading to south-west London just before the end.

There was plenty of evidence for those entertained by a cracking derby match that this reshaped side will prove to be genuine challengers in the months ahead.

Team news
With Ramires preferred to Lampard as Mikel’s partner behind the more forward-thinking midfield three, Cahill replacing suspended John Terry was the only change from the lunchtime kick-off win at Arsenal in the league game before last.

Spurs were without Gareth Bale who was reported to be attending the birth of his child and Moussa Dembele who was injured on international duty, so played Gylfi Sigurdsson in the No. 10 role with Dempsey and Lennon pushed wide. Defoe was their lone striker.

First half
There were warm handshakes and smiles before kick-off as Andre Villas-Boas came over to the Blues bench and greeted all the staff and substitutes but then the pleasantries had to come to an end. This was a derby that mattered in so many ways, although labelling it the first real test of the season as some sections of the media had, did disservice to our performance at the Emirates.

The opening 45 minutes of this latest encounter in north London were not dissimilar to those of that match.

William Gallas, so exposed in our 5-1 FA Cup semi win over Tottenham back in April, could have helped redeem himself after just two minutes but couldn’t connect with a Tom Huddlestone free-kick lofted into the Chelsea area. That moment apart, the Blues look solid and up for this one in the early stages.

Mikel was impressive in dealing with Defoe and subsequent through ball down the right was almost reached by Torres.

Spurs v Chelsea

On nine minutes Oscar picked up a loose ball and turned to face goal before bouncing a shot not too far wide from outside the area.

The Brazilian robbed the dithering Gallas just inside the Spurs half soon after but his quickly released pass found Torres just offside.

Oscar continued to see plenty of possession and it was his delivery that was headed behind at the expense of a corner by Gallas. From that set-piece, the opening goal came. Hazard hit it high and deep but Gallas couldn’t clear the area with his header. Instead it fell to Cahill in a central position to hit the sweetest of volleys over the top of Friedel and in to the net. The clock was turning to 17 minutes as the Blues went 1-0 up.

Spurs v Chelsea

A response from the home team was only to be expected and Cech was soon saving from Defoe with Cole also back to clear the loose ball. But Chelsea then took control again and the first signs of discontent from the home fans were heard inside 20 minutes as their team’s passes went astray.

On 30 minutes a chance did come Spurs way. Cahill had already blocked strongly from Defoe when he was asked to head away a Lennon cross after the winger had worked a yard beyond Cole. The ball was played back in but fortunately Sigurdsson shot wide.

Terrier-like Chelsea continued to win possession back in midfield and should have gone 2-0 up on 38 minutes. Mata took Ramires’s pass and drew a sprawling save out of Friedel but when the ball came back to the Spaniard just 10 yards out, he blasted over wastefully. He would more than make up for that miss.

Gallas was booked for a foul on Torres inside the Chelsea half (Ivanovic and Huddlestone shown yellow earlier in the game) before Cech was genuinely tested for a second time as a cross dipped dangerously in front of him. Cole was later back at the far post to head a threatening ball away before the half’s action concluded with two bookings, one for Walker for tripping a counter-attacking Ramires and then one for Ramires in similar circumstances on Lennon.

Second half
The Blues had avoided conceding a soft equaliser before the interval, as had been the case at Arsenal, but instead we were caught not switched on enough just a minute into the second period. David Luiz conceded a free-kick for climbing and when it was played to the back post, Sigurdsson had space to touch the ball across the face of goal and Gallas was on hand to make sure it crossed the line.

The Chelsea bench must have been fuming and with the Spurs team and crowd now boosted, there was relief when Sigurdsson, who had switched to the wing this half with Dempsey now in the middle, planted a shot straight at Cech soon after.

Vertonghen also smashed a drive into the hands of Cech from further out before the home team turned near-constant pressure into something tangible on 53 minutes. Lennon ran towards Cole and slipped a pass inside him to where Defoe finished in trademark style – turning a first-time shot beyond Cech from close range.

Mata and Oscar were no longer winning those contests in the centre of the park as they had in the first half but the Blues slowly steadied the ship and began to take the game into Tottenham territory once again.

Spurs v Chelsea

The reward came when Oscar from out on the right picked out Mata with a square pass and our Player of the Year’s finish into the bottom corner was crisp and clinical.

It was 2-2 with two-thirds of the game played and Cech had only just saved a dipping, speculative effort from Defoe when Mata put Chelsea back ahead. Mikel was involved and his pass forward was turned on by Hazard in a moment of inspiration. It was the perfect pass for Mata to find the net between Friedel and his near post for his sixth goal of the season.

Mata could have had a rapid hat-trick as he turned to face goal but his attempted chip was caught by Friedel.

AVB brought on Adebayor for the quiet Dempsey with just over quarter of an hour to go but the next chance was Sigurdsson’s. He blasted over to groans from the white shirts inside White Hart Lane.

Sturridge made his return from injury, coming on for the hard-working Oscar with 82 minutes played.

Lennon worked space to shoot but Cech was equal to it before Mata hit a peach of a pass to Torres but from an angle, his compatriot missed the target by just centimetres.

Cech saved at the second attempt at the feet of Adebayor as the 90 minutes approached, and then at the foot of his post from Walker’s long-range attempt.

Spurs, inevitably, were pushing hard for a late equaliser but they fell for a sucker punch very much of their own making. Full-back Walker was caught on the ball by Mata way out on the touchline and the Chelsea number 10 continued to twist the knife into Tottenham by squaring to give Sturridge a tap-in.

Spurs v Chelsea

It was 4-2 and there was no coming back for AVB’s men as the Chelseafans sang a little cruelly ‘Andre, Andre what’s the score,’ before turning their attention to the present regime and a hearty ‘One Di Matteo’.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, David Luiz, Cole; Mikel, Ramires; Mata, Oscar (Sturridge 82), Hazard (Lampard 89); Torres.
Unused subs Turnbull, Azpilicueta, Bertrand, Romeu, Moses.
Scorers Cahill 16, Mata 66, 68, Sturridge 90.
Booked Ivanovic 24, Ramires 44.

Spus (4-2-3-1): Friedel; Walker, Gallas (c), Caulker, Vertonghen; Sandro, Huddlestone; Lennon, Sigurdsson, Dempsey (Adebayor 73); Defoe.
Unused subs Lloris, Dawson, Livermore, Naughton, Falque, Townsend.
Scorers Gallas 46, Defoe 53.
Booked Huddlestone 37, Gallas 39, Walker 53.

Referee Mike Dean.
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