After a disturbing run of four games without a victory, Chelsea returned to winning ways in the first Premier League match of the weekend as they beat London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.
It was a victory of the student over his master in some way as Frank Lampard ensured that his former coach while playing for Chelsea, Jose Mourinho, left the Bridge empty-handed though the derby tie ended in a nervy manner.
Marcos Alonso’s masterclass inspired Chelsea’s 2-1 as the Blues tightened their grip on Champions League qualification amid farcical VAR scenes at Stamford Bridge.
Alonso netted his first league goal since the 2-0 win at Spurs on December 22 in an astonishing manner while Olivier Giroud also blasted home after Ross Barkley struck the post at Stamford Bridge, to set Chelsea en route to a first league double over their local rivals in 14 years.
The main talking point, though, came when Spurs midfielder Giovani Lo Celso somehow escaped a red card after stamping on Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta despite the endless VAR check.
According to BT Sport, Stockley Park later admitted the decision was wrong and Antonio Rudiger’s own goal teed up a fraught finish, but Chelsea held out for a first win in five Premier League matches.
The fourth-placed Blues opened up a four-point buffer on Spurs with the victory, to add to their December win over Tottenham in north London.
Now, Lampard has gotten the better of Mourinho for the second time in three months.
It was Giroud that broke the deadlock after a cagey opening.
The France striker beat the offside trap from Jorginho’s through ball and hit the target.
Thereafter, Alonso thumped a fine 20-yard volley just over the bar as Chelsea continued to press before the hosts rode out some concerted Spurs pressure.
It was until the latter stages that Eric Lamela profited from a deflection off the luckless Antonio Rudiger to cut Spurs’ deficit at the death, but Chelsea held on for a fully merited victory.