Following everything that occurred prior, it was to be expected that there would be a level of hesitation, uncertainty, and inquiries. Was there an issue with Nicolas Jackson’s objective that ultimately propelled Chelsea ahead against a nine-man Tottenham?
The referees had already disallowed four goals, with the video assistant playing a major role – one for Spurs, three for Chelsea. However, one of those was cancelled out by a penalty being awarded, resulting in Cole Palmer scoring and tying the game 1-1.
We had to consider if Raheem Sterling had moved beyond the offside line before passing to Jackson. Or perhaps there was another issue. The match seemed to be just as much about the replays at Stockley Park as it was about the intense atmosphere in the stadium, from beginning to end.
Mauricio Pochettino’s comeback to Tottenham as the manager of Chelsea was a key factor in the event, and it seemed inevitable that he would be the center of attention. However, the focus quickly shifted to other events that unfolded rapidly.
Pochettino was able to rejoice when VAR overturned Jackson’s goal, bringing the score to 2-1, but there were still many unexpected turns before he could fully appreciate his first significant victory as Chelsea’s manager. Meanwhile, Ange Postecoglou had to review his first loss in the Premier League against Tottenham.
Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie received red cards for Spurs, and Micky van de Ven and James Maddison were also sidelined due to muscle pulls. Despite these setbacks, the team continued to fight until the end, demonstrating the strong character of Postecoglou’s leadership. This effort was met with appreciation from their fans, who showed their support and even more.
On the 78th minute, Eric Dier entered the game as a replacement and believed he had tied the score with a powerful shot from the far post after receiving a free kick. However, after another review by VAR, it was determined that Dier was in an offside position.
There was additional action on the field. In the third minute of stoppage time, substitute Rodrigo Bentancur had a golden opportunity to score from a free-kick by Pedro Porro, but his header missed the mark. Manager Pochettino was furious with the team’s lack of defensive discipline. Later, Son Heung-min had a chance to score, but his shot lacked force and was saved by Robert Sánchez.
If Chelsea had not won, they would have regretted it. In the end, they added two more goals from Jackson to their scoreline. The Spurs defense was weak and the striker easily scored with passes from Conor Gallagher and Palmer.
After the game ended, Pochettino confidently walked onto the field and the desired photo was captured when he hugged Son at the center of the circle. The expected booing for the Argentine did not occur. Some fans had even applauded him when he first appeared on the sidelines and now there were more gestures of support, such as hugs and kisses from familiar Spurs staff members.
At first, Pochettino had a positive reaction as Spurs dominated the midfield and played with speed and precision. However, Postecoglou’s team also had opportunities early on, including Kulusevski’s shot that deflected off Colwill. But as the first half continued, the team’s momentum shifted and they were suddenly brought back down to reality.
At the end of the first half, after 12 minutes of added time, Tottenham had given up their lead and lost Romero, Van de Ven, and Maddison. They had a chance to be up by two goals in the 13th minute, but Jackson’s shot was saved by Vicario. Brennan Johnson passed to Son for a goal, but the play was ruled offside by VAR.
Chelsea became more stable. Udogie was able to avoid being given a red card in the 18th minute after he leaped onto Sterling with both feet off the ground. He received only a yellow card because he did not make contact. Spurs were fortunate again when Sterling scored but it was disallowed for handball. However, the game changed after a triple VAR review.
Chelsea believed they had tied the score when Moisés Caicedo scored a low shot from far away. However, the ball had bounced in off Jackson, who was in an illegal position. This started the initial stage of the play and Van de Ven checked for a penalty on Sterling. There was not sufficient evidence for a penalty. However, there was definitely evidence on the following stage and challenge before Caicedo’s shot – Romero aggressively and dangerously following through on his Argentinian teammate, Enzo Fernández.
Romero swiftly made his move and the equalizer was made, despite Vicario potentially being able to block Palmer’s penalty. Although he was able to touch it, he ended up pushing it into the corner. Palmer and his teammates in blue hushed the crowd in the South Stand.
What happened prior to Gareth Bale’s appearance as the guest during half-time? Jackson scored a goal in the 38th minute, but it was disallowed for offside during the buildup; Postecoglou received a yellow card for losing his temper with the officials and Reece James was cleared after a VAR review for a possible elbow on Udogie.
Postecoglou had to make some adjustments in the 55th minute due to Udogie’s foul on Sterling. The manager changed the formation to 4-3-1, with Dier and Højbjerg as the new central defenders. Despite this, he maintained a risky high defensive line, putting pressure on Chelsea to make a successful through pass.
Jackson missed a close-range header and Vicario stopped another substitute, Marc Cucurella, in a one-on-one situation. Chelsea definitely faced a tough challenge. Luckily for Pochettino, they succeeded.