Tottenham 1 Chelsea 2: Wembley woe continues for Spurs as Alonso kickstarts champions' title defence

Jason Burt
The Telegraph
Tottenham have been beaten by Chelsea in their first league game at Wembley - Action Images via Reuters
Tottenham have been beaten by Chelsea in their first league game at Wembley - Action Images via Reuters

This was a nightmare of housewarming for Tottenham Hotspur as their first Premier League fixture at Wembley ended in a gut-wrenching defeat to Chelsea. The champions were the party-poopers.

Two goals from Marcos Alonso, both through Spurs’ mistakes, earned Chelsea a gutsy win and will leave Spurs ruing their luck and again facing questions over some kind of Wembley curse.

They believed after their wall of pressure appeared to be repelled by Chelsea that fortune had favoured then as they profited when striker

Michy Batshuayi – with his first touch after coming on as a substitute – gifted them an equaliser. But that was before Victor Wanyama blundered and Alonso claimed his second as Chelsea dispelled their own early-season problems.

Chelsea went ahead through a brilliant free-kick from Alonso mid-way through the first-half. It came after a foolish foul by Dele Alli, catching David Luiz 25 yards out. Alonso stepped up and curled the ball left-footed over the wall, just skimming above Toby Alderweireld’s head and into the top corner of the goal with Hugo Lloris flailing to try and get across.

<span>Alonso celebrates the first.</span>
Alonso celebrates the first.

Even before that Chelsea should have scored with Cesar Azipilcueta’s cross met by Alvaro Morata who, somehow, steered his unchallenged header wide of the post with Lloris beaten. Morata was making his first start, as was another new signing, Tiemoue Bakayoko, who did not appear fully fit, with Conte adjusting his line-up because of injuries and suspensions and, of course, lack of signings.

Conte flooded the midfield, pushing Luiz forward and stringing five across the middle to try and stifle Spurs who gradually, though, made their way into the game. Several chances – half ones, full ones – fell the way of Harry Kane and he came closest in the first-half as Alli beat Azpilicueta, drove goalwards and slipped the ball to the striker who shifted it onto his right foot and curled the ball around goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois only for it to cannon back off the foot of the post.

Kane also forced his way through, past Alonso, for Courtois to save with an outstretched leg and then found space once more only to fire his low shot across goal and just past the post. After that he lunged forward to try and meet a wonderful Christian Eriksen free-kick but just could not get his studs to the ball to turn it into the net. Courtois also did well to beat away a fierce shot from Ben Davies and tipped over a rising drive from Mousa Dembele.

It was frustrating for Spurs. Very frustrating. They really should have scored and they continued to press in the second-half with Chelsea forced back but they broke on the counter-attack with Willian charging forward to find Morata who cut back inside only for his shot to be deflected narrowly wide for a corner. They then went even closer with Willian, again, finding space and shooting low and right-footed from outside the area with Lloris beaten and the ball rebounding off his far post.

<span>Courtois salutes Chelsea's victory.</span>
Courtois salutes Chelsea's victory.

Just as it appeared Spurs would run out of steam, run out of ideas they were gifted an equaliser with Batshuayi intercepting Eriksen’s free-kick only to send his header past Courtois and into his own goal. It was his first touch and the striker held his head in horror.

Soon after and Batshuayi claimed a penalty, with his appeals turned down, but Chelsea won the ball back with Wanyama easily dispossessed by Luiz. Alonso was released down the left and he drove an angled shot that went underneath Lloris to give Chelsea the lead once more.

 

6:04PM

Reaction

David Luiz: "I think last week was the worst first half. It was terrible. The victory today carried on what we did in the second half of the first game. We did great and we deserved to win."

Marcos Alonso: "I haven't hit many free kicks like that, even in training. We showed we are together, we've worked hard this week and 100% deserved this win."

<span>Alonso opens the scoring.</span>
Alonso opens the scoring.

 

5:55PM

Full Time Tottenham 1 Chelsea 2

An early-season belter has gone the way of Chelsea. One brilliant goal from Marcos Alonso which Lloris couldn't get near, then a second from the Spanish left back the keeper certainly should have saved.

Spurs had all the ball, most of the chances, and hit a post through Harry Kane. They looked like they might push on and win when they equalised with a Batshuayi own goal off an Eriksen free kick only to be sucker-punched going the other way.

Chelsea were on the back foot, but with the players they had out and Spurs keen to make a strong start at their temporary home they deserve credit for a well-executed classic Italian set up.

<span>Sucker punched.</span>
Sucker punched.

 

5:50PM

89 mins

Kane was booked for trying to grab the ball back in the aftermath of that goal. Janssen has come on for Spurs. Four minutes of added time. That's the housework completed.

5:47PM

GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!! Tottenham 1 CHELSEA 2

Couldn't write it. Spurs look like they're away, Luiz makes a fantastic interception, now Spurs are short handed, Alonso tries one from a narrow angle and Lloris makes a right hash of it allowing the ball to squirm under him and into the net.

<span>Alonso bags an unlikely winner.</span>
Alonso bags an unlikely winner.

 

5:46PM

87 mins Chelsea penalty appeal

Batshuayi  at the right end goes down in the area looking for a penalty. Anthony Taylor kept pace with play really well on the counter and turns it away.

5:45PM

86 mins Alonso booked

That's for dissent I think, as we await the corner. Straight down Courtois' throat.

5:45PM

85 mins

Eriksen plays for a free kick on the opposite side, and gets one from Bakayoko who hasn't learnt from the cheap free kick he gave away  a moment ago. What's he got for us this time? Another peach, Chelsea scramble it behind.

5:43PM

83 mins

Wembley deafening now, just as it had started to feel like it was slipping away from Spurs. Long seven minutes to come for the visitors now who've been on the back foot for the vast majority of this game.

5:41PM

GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!!!!!!! TOTTENHAM 1 Chelsea 0

Yes. He. Can. Eriksen's delivery is undefendable, and would be scored by a queue of Tottenham players in the six yard box if Batshuayi doesn't get there first and score at the wrong end with his first touch.

<span>Wrong way mate.</span>
Wrong way mate.

 

5:40PM

80 mins

Very generous free kick awarded to Alli on the corner of the area. Didn't look to be much in that. Can Eriksen breakdown this stubborn resistance?

5:39PM

79 mins

Spurs respond by bringing on Sissoko for Ben Davies.

5:37PM

77 mins Two Chelsea changes

The excellent Willian is being replaced by masked-man Pedro. Morata, who should have scored after four minutes, is replaced in a straight swap by Batshuayi.

5:33PM

72 mins

Willian, who Conte seems to have been preparing to take off for a good ten minutes, now strikes the base of the Tottenham post from long range. The Dier change has actually boosted Chelsea rather than Spurs at this point.

5:30PM

70 mins

Nearly famous last words on my part there as Willian, for the second time in quick succession, runs right at the heart of Spurs and feeds Morata whose shot is twice deflected and bounces agonisingly wide. From the corner Moses has a whack from a difficult angle and it flies just too high.

5:27PM

67 mins Go on Son

Spurs bring on Son for Dier, removing a redundant defensive midfielder and adding another attacking as Chelsea have basically given up on the idea of attacking altogether.

5:23PM

63 mins

The incessant Tottenham pressure continues with corner number 5,643 of the game so far. Once again it's cleared and then whacked away by Moses.

5:20PM

61 mins

Dele Alli invites a foul from Kante by the corner flag and gets one. Free kick is powered away by Morata back defending under his own crossbar. 

<span>Not your day?</span>
Not your day?

 

5:15PM

55 mins

Trippier in behind Chelsea, lays it across looking for Kane but Azpilicueta was on hand to clear.

5:11PM

51 mins

Finally some respite for Chelsea. Perhaps they've weathered the storm and Spurs will regret not scoring while on top. Conte's team have their first corner of the second half.

5:09PM

50 mins Vertonghen yellow

Knee-high and reckless from the Belgian on Moses, lucky it's only a yellow from Anthony Taylor.

5:09PM

49 mins

Davies' cross from the Spurs left is whacked straight into Luiz by Alonso and the ball falls kindly for Courtois.

<span>Somebody please think of the children.</span>
Somebody please think of the children.

 

5:07PM

47 mins

Not sure how much longer Chelsea can keep repelling these waves of attack. Kane running at, and past, Rudiger but he's crowded out in the area and it's yet another Spurs corner. Chelsea clear, again.

5:05PM

46 mins

Spurs immediately back onto the attack with Kane reversing the ball to Eriksen running at full tilt. Chelsea concede a corner which Kane heads towards goal from the edge of the six yard box. It hits Luiz and stays out.

 

5:04PM

46 mins

And we're back. Well, not those in Club Wembley, obviously, but the players and the rest of us are ready for the second half so we're underway.

4:52PM

Half Time Tottenham 0 Chelsea 1

Half time at Wembley, Chelsea lead, Spurs with a familiar sinking feeling.

Morata had already missed an absolute sitter for the visitors early on when Marcos Alonso made their domination count with an exquisite free kick into the top corner midway through the first half.

Chelsea's deep-lying defence, protected by a three-man midfield containing troll-in-chief David Luiz, has frustrated Spurs for the most part but they finished the half in the ascendency and Harry Kane struck the inside of the post.

<span>Alonso gives Chelsea the lead.</span>
Alonso gives Chelsea the lead.

 

4:48PM

45 + 2  mins

Luiz's curate's egg of a first half continues with a great tackle to deny Dier a goal at the near post as Spurs continue to press.

4:46PM

45 mins

Spurs piling the pressure on as the half comes to a close. A succession of corners and shots raining down on goal. Three minutes to be added.

4:44PM

43 mins

Ben Davies hits a shot from the edge of the area which deflects and gives Courtois a chance to make a camera save off to his left.

<span>One for the cameras.</span>
One for the cameras.

 

4:43PM

41 mins The curse is real

Hoodoos, curses, they're all real. Kane fed by Alli, beats Courtois with a powerful low shot that strikes the inside of the post and pings back into play. Nine times out of ten a ball hitting the post in that spot goes in off. 

<span>Goals used to be slightly bigger at White Hart Lane.</span>
Goals used to be slightly bigger at White Hart Lane.

 

4:40PM

37 mins Luiz booked

Luiz sees yellow for a cynical pull on Eriksen having, not for the first time, let the Dane run off the back of him too easily. Erisken's resulting free kick couldn't have been delivered any better - a brilliant ball right through the goal mouth onto which any sort of touch would have brought an equaliser. Goal kick.

<span>Familiar feeling.</span>
Familiar feeling.

 

4:35PM

33 mins

The ball has hardly been in play for a few minutes now. Bakayoko the latest on the deck leading to another stoppage.

4:32PM

31 mins Second booking

Now Dier showing his frustration with an ugly challenge through Moses and Luiz - obvious yellow, might have been more in only very slightly difference circumstances.

4:31PM

29 mins First booking

Rudiger, the only Chelsea player who's looked uncomfortable so far, commits a foul then leathers the ball away after the whistle and that's the first yellow card.

4:30PM

28 mins Kane near miss and penalty appeal

Great play by Kane to begin with as he bundles into the area through two Chelsea players then draws a save from Courtois. As the ball is returned to the danger area Kane flops down theatrically next to Alonso and wants a penalty but it never was. 

4:29PM

27 mins

Willian with a chance to thread Moses through on goal doesn't release the ball. Spurs are Spursing this right up at the moment.

4:26PM

25 mins

Spurs have a chance to bite straight back as Moses trips Ben Davies wide left. The free kick flicks off Bakayoko and out for a corner. Kane heads that wide.

4:25PM

GOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!! Tottenham 0 CHELSEA 1

Marcos Alonso steps up and whips what must be close to the perfect free kick too high for a tall wall, low enough to go under the cross bar, and wide enough to beat Lloris in the top corner. A superb dead ball strike, a deserved lead for Chelsea.

<span>Alonso gives Chelsea the lead.</span>
Alonso gives Chelsea the lead.

 

4:24PM

22 mins

Alli fouls Luiz on the edge of the Spurs box. To look at Luiz you'd think he'd been shot in the foot with the world's biggest gun, but it was a foul and this represents a good chance for Chelsea from the set piece.

4:21PM

20 mins

Luiz, who is playing midfield whatever Conte had us believing at the end of last week, has just found the upper tier with a left foot volley from the edge of the box.

4:20PM

18 mins

As close as Spurs have come so far. Dembele hits a powerful shot from nearly 25 yards out - it's always rising but Courtois helps it over the bar to make sure and a free kick is awarded as soon as the resulting corner is taken.

4:15PM

14 mins

Christensen gets caught under a high ball in his own area, makes a mess of it and allows Alli a sight of goal but his wild volley from an impossible angle flies over.

4:14PM

13 mins

Lloris' turn for a nervous moment as Chelsea's high intensity game reaches his penalty area and blocks and attempted clearance down the field. He catches as it comes back to earth.

4:11PM

9 mins Kane close

Uncharacteristic from Kante who is static as Kane receives the ball on the turn, then Courtois who allows the resulting 20-yard shot from the Tottenham striker to squirm beneath him. He gathers at the second attempt and we're still deadlocked.

4:07PM

6 mins

Spurs respond with a free kick, and now a corner off Dier's cross. They play it short (devil's work) and Courtois catches easily.

4:06PM

4 mins Morata sitter

Chelsea have started well and they should lead. Cross from the right, Morata sneaks in between the Spurs centre backs unmarked but somehow plants a free header wide from six yards out.

<span>Can we try that one again?</span>
Can we try that one again?

 

4:02PM

1 min

Good cross from Moses flashes right through the six-yard-box. Lloris comes out and claims the next centre. Alli almost gets Eriksen through on the counter but Luiz intercepts. Strong.

4:01PM

Kick off

Chelsea nudge this title decider into life. With just 36 games left to play, neither can afford defeat this afternoon.

<span>Flag day.</span>
Flag day.

 

3:56PM

Teams in the tunnel

Right, once Chris 'Kammy' Kamara has finished trying to sell you pizzas, betting companies, mental accas and goodness knows what else we'll be ready. Everybody's got a free flag, which is nice.

 

3:54PM

Watch us rise

Tottenham have rather tempted fate this year by allowing Nike to promote their new home kit/plain white t-shirt (which you can buy for the very reasonable debt of a third world country) with the catchline "watch us rise". That definitely can't come back to haunt them in any way.

Thankfully, amidst the relentless onset of this sort of nonsense, there are people like @BeardedGenius to help us through.

 

3:45PM

Pre-match interviews

Interviews about something that hasn't happened yet. Always cutting and incisive these things, let's see what outlandish input the key protagonists have for us.

Mauricio Pochettino: "I think the team is ok. The preparation was good. Now it's time to compete, it will be a tough game against a good team with a good manager. Our mentality is to be ambitious and try to win today. It's important to win and build confidence and trust."

Antonio Conte: "Tottenham have the crowd behind them. For sure there will be 65,000 people supporting them, it's a great advantage they have today."

Harry Kane: "It's important we get the win and look forward to the games ahead."

<span>Harry Kane, who got dressed from the lost property basket.</span>
Harry Kane, who got dressed from the lost property basket.

 

3:42PM

Transfer blues

Chelsea and Spurs were the best two teams in the Premier League last season, by some distance. And yet just three months after it ended, all anybody can talk about is how desperate they both are to strengthen. Is even minor surgery really required?

Of course we're coming to accept that the actual matches seem to be getting in the way of the real quiz - transfers and pre-season tours of the Far East and US. 

One signing Chelsea have got over the line is Alvaro Morata. Here he is channeling Robbie Keane, and also a line I think got lost in translation.

"When I was little I wanted to play in the Premier League. It's a dream to be part of this fantastic club. I had a Fernando Torres shirt for my wall, I liked the players, I liked Drogba.

"I need to change the mentality and show the supporters I am here and I'm not afraid to miss a penalty or play badly."

3:32PM

Good afternoon

Hello everybody, I've hot-footed it across from the Huddersfield v Newcastle coverage to take over this live blog of this afternoon's match between Tottenham and Chelsea from Wembley Hart Lane/White Hart Wembley.

Much talk of curses, hoodoos, and pitch dimensions to come, as well as the occasional query about how a club can bemoan having a thin first team squad while it's got 40 players out on loan. Fun times await.

3:23PM

How the Premier League table looks

3:13PM

What is Chelsea's formation?

Everyone baffled by how Antonio Conte's men might line up. Here's what Matt Law thinks...

3:11PM

A good luck message from the mighty Ballack

3:02PM

Tottenham v Chelsea TEAM NEWS

Tottenham Hotspur:Lloris, Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Trippier, Wanyama, Dembele, Davies, Alli, Eriksen, Kane.
Subs:  Son, Janssen, Vorm, Sissoko, Wimmer, Winks, Walker-Peters. 

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Moses, Kante, Luiz, Alonso, Willian, Bakayoko, Morata.
Subs: Caballero, Pedro, Kenedy, Musonda, Batshuayi, Tomori, Scott. 

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire) 

3:01PM

Tottenham v Chelsea - all you need to know

What is it?

It's the first ever Premier League game to be played at Wembley Stadium, as Tottenham take on Chelsea at their temporary home.

When is it?

Sunday, 20 August.

What time is kick-off?

4pm. 

What TV channel is it on?

Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League. Those are the new names for Sky channels 401 and 402.

What is the team news?

The main question for Tottenham is over what to do at right-back. Mauricio Pochettino has yet to buy a replacement for Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier missed the win at Newcastle last week with an ankle injury.

Spurs youth product and England Under-20 World Cup hero Kyle Walker-Peters deputised impressively at St James' Park but questions remain over whether he is ready to play in the biggest games.

<span>Kyle Walker-Peters played well against Newcastle last week</span> <span>Credit: getty images </span>
Kyle Walker-Peters played well against Newcastle last week Credit: getty images

The problem for Spurs is they don't have many other options, with Trippier doubtful and an out-of-position Eric Dier the only other realistic possibility. Pochettino won't make the mistake of playing Heung-min Son at wing-back again; last time he did that was in the FA Cup semi-final defeat to, you guessed it, Chelsea, at the end of last season.

Spurs are still without Danny Rose, Erik Lamela and George-Kevin Nkoudou.

Pick your Tottenham team to play Chelsea

After red cards for Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas last weekend, Chelsea fans may even have been worried about this upcoming match, but news in midweek that Eden Hazard and new signing Tiemoue Bakayoko came through a friendly unscathed and might even be available on Sunday, will give them great cause for optimism.

<span>Hazard caused Tottenham plenty of problems last time they played at Wembley</span> <span>Credit: Getty images </span>
Hazard caused Tottenham plenty of problems last time they played at Wembley Credit: Getty images

There is a good chance that at least one of them will be involved on Sunday, and Spurs may be concerned about the added threat Hazard would pose against young Walker-Peters.

Cahill and Fabregas are suspended, while Pedro won't make it back in time to play here.

Pick your Chelsea team to play Spurs

What about the Wembley factor?

Spurs are playing one season at the national stadium as they wait for their new White Hart Lane home to be completed over in north east London.

Their struggles at Wembley have been well-documented, while Chelsea have had plenty of success there, beating Spurs a number of times, too.

<span>Spurs beat Juventus at Wembley in pre-season, and will hope they have overcome their problems there</span> <span>Credit: EPA </span>
Spurs beat Juventus at Wembley in pre-season, and will hope they have overcome their problems there Credit: EPA

Tottenham have been training all summer on a pitch with the same dimensions as Wembley, and will hope their impressive showing in a friendly win over Juventus is a sign that they have overcome any issues there.

They will have the advantage of a home crowd but Chelsea will feel just as comfortable at Wembley here. Spurs quickly need to make this a home.

What are they saying?

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino on playing at Wembley:

“Wembley is not a problem, we are the problem if we don’t win, like last season.

“Wembley is the most important place in the world and if we are not able to win there it is not because of Wembley it is because of us.

“It is the most exciting place to play football. It is where football is born. For me, in Argentina and Spain, Wembley was a big dream and now a possibility to play there every two weeks, or maybe every week, or maybe three times in one week.

“A problem? Oh, come on, I love Wembley. Wembley is not the problem. We need to make Wembley our home."

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte:

"I think Tottenham is doing a great job in these years, Mauricio Pochettino is doing a great job. He created a good basis, good foundation for this club. We must do the same. We don't have this basis like Tottenham, this foundation.

"I want to help my club build the same solid basis. Now we don't have this and we need time to create this."

What are the odds?

Spurs win - 11/10 Draw - 13/5 Chelsea - 11/4

What's our prediction?

Jason Burt writes: 

Chelsea are a wounded animal right now with injuries, suspensions, angst over the transfer market and Antonio Conte’s discontent but did not play that badly in losing to Burnley last weekend. But, surely, it is hard to see beyond Spurs at their first league game at Wembley. A win would set them up for the season. A loss would be hard to take.

Prediction: 2-1 

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