Chelsea struggles continue as Spurs pile pressure on Potter

LONDON – Tottenham beat Chelsea 2-0 on Sunday to increase pressure on Blues boss Graham Potter and leave their Champions League hopes hanging in the balance.

Oliver Skipp and Harry Kane scored goals in the second half to give the Spurs their first Premier League win over Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur, 14 points clear of their bitter London rivals in the top four race.

Potter has failed to win in any of his last six games – Chelsea’s longest streak since December 2012 as the Blues remain in 10th place with a negative goal difference.

Tottenham, once again without head coach Antonio Conte, who is recovering from gallbladder surgery, now have four points to spare and are in fourth place over Newcastle, who have two games to spare.

Fast reaction

1. The pressure on Potter is increasing

Sunday’s defeat at Tottenham leaves Chelsea 14 points short of the top four. The club’s owners, led by Todd Pawley and Clearlake Capital, have always been supportive of Potter given the sheer scale of the transition since the club’s takeover was completed in May. But, having spent more than 600 million euros, there may soon be a point where the hierarchy will wonder if they are getting enough return on this investment.

Some of the club’s fans have already turned their backs on the manager and his failure to qualify for the Champions League next season will be considered a disaster given the huge level of investment. They still have a round of 16 second leg against Borussia Dortmund (losing 1-0), but Chelsea have already won two of their last 15 games in all competitions.

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The match was a historical inspiration, with Chelsea winning all three Premier League matches at this stadium with a 6–0 aggregate score and winning more games against Tottenham (33) than any other Premier League side. The Spurs were hardly consistent on their own, but they proved too strong.

Potter has faced an incredible amount of challenges and the club’s desire to plan for the long term is sincere. But he needs results in the short term to keep that faith alive, and the current downturn has already reached alarming levels.

2 Skipp Intervenes In Bentancourt’s Absence

The loss of Rodrigo Bentancur this season to knee surgery was a major blow to Tottenham given they don’t have another midfielder with the same impact. Since Yves Bissuma was also out for a while with an ankle injury, it was a huge bonus for Skipp to step up in his absence.

And how to do it by scoring your first goal for the club with a beautiful shot just 19 seconds into the second half. Midfielder Pierre-Emile Højbjerg seems to revel in these combative, physical encounters, and along with Skipp, they have formed a formidable partnership that should inspire Spurs for the challenges ahead.

Also absent on Sunday was head coach Conte, who is recovering from gallbladder surgery, but assistant Christian Stellini upped his outstanding record in the dugout to four wins out of four. Equally impressive are the defeated teams: Marseille, Man City, West Ham and now Chelsea.

3. Breakaway Chelsea suffer another injury

Seeing Chelsea’s best defender Thiago Silva forced to leave after 20 minutes due to injury was a reminder of how awfully bad luck Potter has had with injuries this season. N’Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta are among those not available, while in preparation for this game Potter mentioned the absence of Rhys James, Ben Chilwell, Mark Cucurella and Raheem Sterling at various points this season.

Still, the suspicion remains that Potter doesn’t know his best side. Given the sheer turnover of players, it’s somewhat fair to ask, how could he? But there are clear signs of confused thinking.

Hakim Ziyech was on loan at Paris Saint-Germain last month but after that move collapsed at 11 o’clock due to paperwork being filled out incorrectly, he has started three of Chelsea’s five games since the window was closed. Potter continues to insist that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is part of his plans, but despite the team not scoring and in poor form, the striker barely played and was given just seven minutes to make an impact, as did 100 million euros for the January signing of Mikhail Mudrik. .

The Blues continue to rely on the 38-year-old Silva to seal the costly backline that Wesley Fofana (€80m) and Benoît Badiashile (€37m) missed out on Sunday. Ironically, having spent over 600 million euros, the attacking player most likely to play a decisive role in the final third is Joao Felix, a player who is only on loan from Atlético Madrid.

Injuries are one thing, but obviously the team is still on the move and short-term damage is on the rise.

Best and Worst Performers


Oliver Skipp. Helped Tottenham win the midfield battle and took advantage of poor defense to score his first goal for the club.

Emerson Royal. Caused Chelsea all sorts of trouble by looting up Tottenham’s right flank and won more tackles (7) than any other player.

Christian Romero. Superbly organized the defense of Tottenham, making a number of important interventions.


Enzo Fernandez Needless to panic over Skipp’s goal, taking the ball away from goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga with a clearance, which allowed the Spurs to continue the attack.

Judge Ziyech. Appeared uninterested and needlessly got into a fight before the break, which caused him to be initially sent off before the decision was overturned at the VAR review.

Kai Havertz. Chelsea’s attacking problems lie with more than one player, but Havertz remains frustratingly ineffective, not scoring a single shot.

Highlights and Notable Moments

There was a lot of confusion about the red and then yellow card of Hakim Ziyech.

Skipp scored the first goal for Tottenham.

And Kane popped up to make the game safe at the end.

After the match: what the players/managers said

Tottenham’s Harry Kane in an interview with BBC Sport: Chelsea have been a tough opponent for us in the last few years. So this is a very important victory, which allowed us to stay in fourth place. In general, I believe that we deserved this victory. It was an incredible goal. [from Oliver Skipp] and what time to get your first one. He worked hard, so it was nice to see one of them work. Both teams created several chances in the first half. We struggled a bit with our pressure and figured it out in the second half. I think we just showed a bit more quality in the last third and whenever you get out of a dead end it helps to open up the game. Another clean sheet, two goals, so overall a good home game.”

Key statistics (provided by Sportzshala Stats & Information research)

– Chelsea are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League matches against Tottenham (W6, D2).

– Both Tottenham and Chelsea had only one shot on target together in the first half.

– Skipp scored his first goal for Tottenham. It was only his second goal in professional club football.

– By using OptaJo: Skipp’s goal came 19 seconds into the second half, the earliest such goal in a Premier League game since Gerard Deulofé for Watford against West Ham in May 2019.

– By using OptaJo: Kane, along with Robert Lewandowski, is one of only two players to have scored over 20 goals in each of the last nine seasons in all competitions for clubs in the European Big Five leagues.

– In 2023, Chelsea managed to score only four goals in 11 matches.


Tottenham: FA Cup match against Sheffield United on 1 March, followed by a trip to Wolverhampton in the Premier League on 4 March.

Chelsea: Home league game against Leeds United on 4 March, then the Blues take on Borussia Dortmund 1-0 in the Champions League Round of 16 second leg on 7 March.


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