Chelsea kept alive their remote Premier League title chances with a 2-0 win over London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday and set on their way by an exquisite strike from Hakim Ziyech, which was quickly followed up by a Thiago Silva header.
Ziyech scored one of the best goals of the season in the 47th minute when he received the ball on edge of the box after a surging run by Callum Hudson-Odoi, and the Moroccan’s curling, dipping shot dropped into the top corner with Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris rooted to the spot.
It was the second goal in two games for Ziyech and earned him the praise of coach Thomas Tuchel who has demanded more from the former Ajax winger.
“I had the feeling it was a bit too high, but it dropped at the right second,” the German told Sky Sports about the goal. “It was a brilliant goal. His technique was brilliant.”
Liverpool holds off Palace fightback to close gap on Man City
The Blues sealed their first league win of 2022 eight minutes later when Silva, despite being sandwiched between two Spurs defenders, headed home a free-kick floated into the box by Mason Mount.
Spurs, previously unbeaten in nine league games under former Chelsea coach Antonio Conte, thought they had taken the lead in the first half when Harry Kane put the ball in the net, but referee Paul Tierney ruled the England striker pushed Silva off the ball before turning and firing it past Kepa Arrizabalaga.
“You know very well I don’t like to comment on the referees’ decisions but in England, it was very strange to disallow this goal,” Conte told BBC radio. “But if the referee has seen it in this way, we have to accept.”
Tuchel admitted that he had been surprised when the goal was disallowed.
The win – Chelsea’ fourth this season over Spurs, including a two-legged league cup semi-final this month – left the Blues in third place on 47 points, 10 points behind leaders Manchester City who have played a game fewer, and one point behind second-placed Liverpool who have two games in hand over the Blues.
Spurs – who have now won only once at Stamford Bridge in 32 league games – are seventh on 36 points although they have played four fewer games than Chelsea.