Chelsea 4 Tottenham 0 match report: Samuel Eto’o stoops to conquer sorry Spurs

Striker has cheeky dig at Mourinho after his goal sparks a rout aided by Kaboul’s harsh dismissal

Stamford Bridge

Old habits lived strong at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea claimed yet another win over Tottenham at home, Tim Sherwood’s side conspired to characteristically gift them those points, and Samuel Eto’o set it all up with an opportunistic opening strike that recalled his best form and produced a joke about his age.

The end product of all that, meanwhile, is something else we have become well accustomed to over the past decade: a Jose Mourinho team increasing their lead at the top of a League table. 

The Portuguese stated that “objective number one, top four, is in our hands” but still would not move on from down-playing the title challenge. “Now let’s go for objective number two, top three with direct Champions’ League qualification.”

Mourinho even insisted that he would still rather be in Manchester City’s situation due to their goal difference, despite the fact Chelsea are nine points clear of them, albeit with three games more played.

“If they win the matches, they’re top of the League. If you win the next nine matches, we may not be champions. If we win nine matches, maybe we are not champions. If City win the 12 matches they have, they’re champions. They have the destiny in their own hands. I would prefer to have destiny in my own hands.”

Sherwood was much more critical of the manner in which his team surrendered to their supposedly eternal fate at this stadium. “Too often, and again today, against the big sides [we cave in]. We were 2-0 down with 10 men at Chelsea, you’re not going to win the game. But you want to see a bit more pride, a bit more clever.

“I don’t want to be the only one who shouts at them. They need to sort it out themselves sometimes among themselves. Massively disappointed. Not too much about the result and the performance in the first half, but on the capitulation that the team showed, and showed too often this season.”

The capitulation is not the only aspect of the game that should have irritated Sherwood. There was also the fact that, for almost all of the first 55 minutes, it seemed like Spurs had finally set up the best possible chance to claim a first victory at Stamford Bridge in 24 years. Although Sherwood’s initial formation raised eyebrows, it resulted in Spurs greatly raising their game and enjoying the better of the match. That is why the eventual defeat will have been so galling. Even 10 minutes into the second half, this was not a vintage Mourinho transformation as in last week’s 3-1 win at Fulham.

By that point, however, we had at least seen some vintage Eto’o again – with the mischievous celebration to match. Although the forward had remained on the fringes of the contest, he was suddenly played right into front and centre by an atrocious Jan Vertonghen backpass.

Never one to waste an opportunity like that, regardless of where he was in his career, Eto’o bore down on Hugo Lloris and slotted the ball between the Tottenham goakeeper’s legs. Afterwards, the forward, using the corner flag as a walking stick, mimicked a hip problem, to mock all the recent controversy about his age, that had been prompted by remarks made by his manager.

Mourinho smiled about it. “I didn’t suggest it but we knew it,” the Chelsea manager said. “We knew it. We thought it was more than fine. The best way to diffuse the situation is to make fun of a funny situation, so it was good. Some newspapers did great with photoshop. Now they don’t need photoshop.”

Given the way the game was going, Chelsea probably did not strictly need a referee error in their favour at that point either, but they got two. Eto’o went over easily in the box after minimal contact from Younes Kaboul, a harsh penalty was awarded, and the Spurs defender received an even harsher red card.

Sherwood put it all in his own inimitable way. “It all went Pete Tong after the goal. Anyone can slip up. I appreciate the referees have a very tough job, but that one went against us. I think it’s a soft decision. I think it’s not a penalty. It’s a shame the referee didn’t get the chance to look at it again.”

Mourinho had no sympathy. “I didn’t watch, so I cannot really comment for good or bad,” he said of the decision. “But I complain with referees during all my career, now less, but I’ve always done it, but never when I’ve lost 4-0. When you lose 4-0, you go home and do not complain about the ref.”

That was the ultimate consequence of that penalty, which Sherwood found so frustrating: complete collapse. Hazard stroked the ball into the centre of the net from the spot, and it was always going to take much more than a tactical  masterstroke from Sherwood to overturn that. Instead, substitute Demba Ba turned in the third and fourth goals in the dying stages. Old trends lived on.

Line-ups:

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Matic, Ramires, Lampard (Oscar 45;); Hazard, Schurrle (Willian 66); Eto’o (Ba 86 7).

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Naughton, Dawson (Fryers 72), Kaboul, Vertonghen; Sandro, Bentaleb; Walker, Lennon, Sigurdsson (Paulinho 61); Adebayor.

Referee: Michael Oliver

Match rating: 6/10

Man of the match: Cesar Azpilicueta

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee