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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
86 mins Alonso booked
That's for dissent I think, as we await the corner. Straight down Courtois' throat.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Spurs respond by bringing on Sissoko for Ben Davies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Trippier in behind Chelsea, lays it across looking for Kane but Azpilicueta was on hand to clear.
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.
50 mins Vertonghen yellow
Knee-high and reckless from the Belgian on Moses, lucky it's only a yellow from Anthony Taylor.
Davies' cross from the Spurs left is whacked straight into Luiz by Alonso and the ball falls kindly for Courtois.
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.
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.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 20, 2017
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The ball has hardly been in play for a few minutes now. Bakayoko the latest on the deck leading to another stoppage.
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.
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.
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.
Willian with a chance to thread Moses through on goal doesn't release the ball. Spurs are Spursing this right up at the moment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Chelsea nudge this title decider into life. With just 36 games left to play, neither can afford defeat this afternoon.
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.
Thoughts, prayers to Harry Kane who I'm informed is suffering with an "August hoodoo".
— Thom Gibbs (@thomgibbs) August 20, 2017
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.
— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) July 1, 2017
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."
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."
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.
How the Premier League table looks
What is Chelsea's formation?
Everyone baffled by how Antonio Conte's men might line up. Here's what Matt Law thinks...
Hear Chelsea are 3-5-1-1 with David Luiz likely to play in midfield and Willian just behind Morata.
— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) August 20, 2017
A good luck message from the mighty Ballack
— Michael Ballack (@Ballack) August 20, 2017
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)
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.