John Terry has a bet that rolls over every year with William Gallas, concerning goal-scoring. The impetus to finally clinch that wager is now with the Frenchman thanks to his spectacular last-minute winner on Saturday that also lent momentum to Chelsea once more after they had stuttered and fallen against Barcelona. As for the west Londoners securing their second consecutive League title, all bets have long been off.
Gallas, who, with the match in injury-time, cut in from the left touchline and delivered as pure a strike as could be imagined with his right foot, has yet to pay up on the £50 he has lost for the past three years with his captain.
However, Terry who has four goals, one more than Gallas, was less bothered about his money and more concerned with seeing the only club he has served put on a display that showed the Premiership champions could respond to the massive setback they suffered in losing to the Catalans in the last 16 of the Champions' League.
Terry said: "I spoke to quite a few people and they were saying, 'How are you going to bounce back from Barcelona?' I think we did that perfectly. It showed the team spirit and I think the celebration said it all at the end."
Indeed it did, as Jose Mourinho and all the technical staff in the dugout, as well as the substitutes and a television cameraman were all on the pitch to engulf Gallas once his shot had flown in past Paul Robinson's outstretched left hand.
The win was not without its worries, especially when Jermaine Jenas missed an easy chance for Tottenham at 1-1, but was deserved on the balance of opportunities created. Chelsea's en masse celebrations spoke more than of just delight at winning a London derby but also of putting Barcelona behind them.
Terry added: "I don't think I have seen celebrations like that here. Not with passion like that. It's been a bit of a roller-coaster the last few days, with the disappointment we felt in the week and then coming back at home to pick up the three points. The confidence is right back and that's the way it needs to be.
"I think this result has answered some of the criticism since last Tuesday a little bit. I thought the football we played was very good and the [new] pitch had a big part to play in that. We got it down and I thought both sides played well. We had the performance and the result."
Mourinho had made a few changes in the wake of their Champions' League exit, dropping Ricardo Carvalho and Arjen Robben and re-introducing Shaun Wright-Phillips, who was instrumental in the opening goal. With Tottenham dithering at the back, he intercepted a cross-field pass and cut the ball back for Michael Essien's first goal for Chelsea.
Spurs have a dreadful League record against their west London neighbours, having not beaten them in 32 games going back to 1990 and it looked like they were in no danger of ending that barren run until Jenas was alert to Michael Dawson's header, nipped in behind Gallas and poked a shot past Petr Cech. With 12 minutes remaining the England midfielder was then one-on-one with the Czech goalkeeper but showed his limitations in front of goal with a weak shot that was easily saved.
With Martin Jol's team still to visit Highbury to play Arsenal, Spurs will have their nerve tested next month in an even bigger game. As Chris Hughton, Jol's assistant, reminded everyone, fourth place would be the highest Spurs have finished since the Premiership was founded in 1992.
Jenas claimed, though, that they were not getting edgy and instead sounded confident of finishing in fourth place, which will put them in the Champions' League providing the Gunners do not win the competition. "It's always going to be tight at the end of the season but if we can keep performing somewhere around this level I think we'll be fine," Jenas said. "Whatever happens in the Champions' League for Arsenal, happens. We've just got to concentrate on ourselves."
But where to put your money right now is a whole different matter.
Goals: Essien (14) 1-0; Jenas (45) 1-1; Gallas (90) 2-1.
Chelsea ( 4-1-4-1): Cech; Ferreira, Huth, Terry, Gallas; Makelele; Wright-Phillips (Drogba, 68), Essien (Maniche, 77), Lampard, J Cole (Duff, 68); Crespo. Substitutes not used: Cudicini (gk), Del Horno.
Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Robinson; Stalteri, Dawson, King, Lee; Jenas, Carrick, Davids, Tainio; Keane (Defoe, 83), Mido. Substitutes not used: Cerny (gk), Murphy, Lennon, Gardner.
Referee: G Poll (Hertfordshire).
Booked: Chelsea Duff, Drogba.
Man of the match: Wright-Phillips.
Attendance: 42,243.Reuse content